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What should I know about the disability freeze?

There are multiple ways that Americans suffer from disabilities. Some persons become disabled due to a single catastrophic event or illness, and other Americans struggle with disabilities for years. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has designed the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) system to account for this reality.

If you are one of the thousands of Americans who has spent years fighting against your disabilities, you may be eligible for a disability freeze. According to the Social Security Administration, a disability freeze can help you decrease the impact of years when you could not work due to your disability.

Why would I want a disability freeze?

Unlike Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), SSD payments focus heavily on how long you spent in the workforce and how much money you made during that time. The longer you work and the more money you make, the more the government will give you in disability payments. Thus, if there are periods in your employment history where your earning potential was lower due to you fighting with your disability, the government may “freeze” those years so that they do not count against you when the government calculates SSD payments.

What do I need for a disability freeze?

In order for the government to consider you for a disability freeze, you first must have insured status for SSD. You then must file for SSD with the SSA and the SSA must define you as either disabled or blind.

In certain circumstances, it is also possible for the government to grant persons who do not receive monthly benefit payments a disability freeze. Often, these situations require mitigating circumstances such as statutory blindness or incarceration.