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What is a Social Security disability freeze on earnings records?

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2022 | Social Security Disability |

For North Carolina residents and the rest of the country, not being able to work due to long-term disability presents a financial burden, leaving workers wondering how it will affect their future Social Security benefits. Suppose you receive Social Security Disability payments due to extended time off. In that case, the Social Security Administration will place a disability freeze on your income during your long-term disability period. This effort will prevent you from being penalized when you can’t work.

How to qualify for a Social Security disability freeze

Once you’ve qualified to receive SSDI benefits, the SSA will automatically freeze your earnings until two months after your disability ends or the month before your retirement age, whichever is first. SSI recipients are not eligible for a disability freeze; their benefits are supplemented by state and federal payments and are not based on work or earnings history.

How long does a Social Security disability freeze approval take?

Social Security disability is a lengthy, complex process. It’s expected to take from three to six months, but it can take much longer in many cases. Numerous factors can cause delays, such as medical records requests, court calendars and legal negotiations.

No matter how long the process takes, your disability freeze will automatically apply retroactively once your benefits are approved. The SSA will send you an earnings statement outlining your benefits and earnings freeze. You will be able to see calculations for expected future Social Security payments.

If your SSDI application is delayed and later approved, you can expect to receive benefit payments retroactively based on the SSA’s onset date. The onset date is when the SSA says your disability began, and when you return to work, the SSA will also assign an end date to your disability.