TN 4 (12-13)

DI 25510.010 Establishing a Closed Period of Disability and Protecting a Closed Period Freeze Under Title II


Social Security Act § Section 216 [42 U.S.C. 416] (i)(1)(2)(3)

Regulations 20 CFR § 404.320, 404.322 and 404.621

A. Establishing a closed period of disability under Title II

1. Policy for payment of benefits for a closed period of disability

When the claimant has a closed period of disability, a delay between the date disability ceased and the date the claimant filed an application may affect how many months of retroactive cash benefits he or she can receive. Our regulations direct that the claimant can only receive cash benefits for up to 12 months immediately before the month that the claimant files an application.

2. When to establish a closed period of disability

Indicate a closed period of disability for cash benefits when the claimant’s:

  • impairment(s) prevented substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least 12 continuous months; and

  • disability ceased before the date of adjudication, and not earlier than the 14 months prior to the month of filing.

NOTE: If disability ceased more than 14 months earlier than the month the claimant filed an application, no benefits are payable. The 14-month period represents the 12-month application retroactivity and the 2-month grace period for payment after cessation.

B. Protecting a closed period freeze under Title II

1. Policy for a closed period freeze

A title II claimant may be entitled to a closed period freeze. This disability freeze protects the claimant from the loss of future retirement or disability benefits that would otherwise disregard the period of disability. For more on developing a title II disability freeze, see DI 26001.010.

Consider a closed period freeze only if the claimant filed the application more than 14 months after, but within 36 months of, the month disability ceased; and

  • the claimant’s physical condition limited his or her activities to such an extent the claimant could not complete and sign an application; or

  • the claimant was mentally incompetent.

2. When to establish a closed period freeze

Establish a closed period freeze if case evidence shows:

  • the claimant was disabled within the 36 months before he or she applied for disability benefits (and the disability met the duration requirement);

  • disability ceased more than 14 months prior to the application date; and

  • the claimant was mentally incompetent or unable to complete and sign an application due to his or her physical condition within the 14 months after disability ceased.

C. References for closed period of disability and closed period freeze

  • DI 10105.005 Eligibility for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) or the Disability “Freeze”

  • DI 10105.015 Retroactivity of Disability Application

  • DI 25501.240 Disability Freeze and Established Onset

  • DI 26510.010 Completing Item 15 (Claimant Disabled) on the SSA-831 (Procedure: Title II – General Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB))

  • DI 11005.045 Completing the EDCS 3367

  • DI 11010.255 Sending Initial Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), Freeze Claims to the Disability Determination Services (DDS)

  • DI 20101.001 Disability Determination Services (DDS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) Jurisdictions for Initial and Subsequent Cases