What Is A Social Security "Disability Freeze"?


Posted by: Chris

A disability can make it difficult or impossible for you to work. As a result, you may have gaps of unemployment in your work history or periods where you were earning less than usual due to your disability. If you are in this situation, it’s important to understand how a disability freeze can help.

What Is A Disability Freeze?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your work history and monthly income if you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or retirement benefits. Both of these factors are taken into consideration when determining whether or not you qualify for benefits and the benefit amount. Therefore, periods of unemployment or lower earnings could make you ineligible for benefits or lower the amount of benefits you are awarded. To prevent this from happening, the SSA established the “disability freeze.”

A disability freeze puts your work and earning history on pause during periods where your disability impacted your ability to work. Basically, a disability freeze ensures that your work and earning history from your period of disability does not impact your future benefits. The SSA will not look at your work or earning history from this period of time when calculating benefits for you in the future. 

Who Qualifies For A Disability Freeze?

You must meet certain conditions in order to qualify for a disability freeze. To qualify, you must:

  • Be insured by SSDI
  • File for disability with the SSA within one year from the end of your disability
  • Meet the SSA’s legal definition of disabled

If you meet these conditions, the SSA may allow you to place a disability freeze on your earnings and work history. 

Some people who do not receive SSDI benefits may qualify for a disability freeze as well. If you do not receive SSDI benefits, you may qualify for a disability freeze if you meet these conditions:

  • You are a statutorily blind person who is still capable of working, or
  • Your eligibility for a period of disability is based upon work in the railroad industry or military service that does not count for SSA benefit purposes.

If you are unsure of whether or not you qualify, it’s best to speak to an attorney to determine if you are entitled to a disability freeze.

Are you unable to work as a result of your disability? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our experienced attorneys assist you with the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits. We will work tirelessly to ensure you can secure the benefits you deserve.  Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.