A “disability freeze,” also called a “period of disability,” refers to a period of time you were found to be disabled or blind by Social Security. During the period of disability you may not have any earnings, or your earnings may be very low due to your disability or blindness. You can have more than one period of disability on your record.
In general, we do not count your period(s) of disability when we determine whether you have enough work credits to get Social Security disability benefits.
If you are blind or disabled, you can apply to have a period of disability established on your earnings record. Most workers who have a period of disability may also qualify for monthly disability insurance benefits. Even if you do not get disability insurance benefits for your period of disability, a “disability freeze” on your record may help you and your family get future Social Security benefits based on your disability or retirement, or as survivors on your account.
A “period of disability” (i.e., a “disability freeze”) may also affect how we compute the monthly benefits amounts payable to you and your family. Usually, if we take your period of disability into account when determining monthly benefit amounts, the benefit amount will be higher.
We will ignore your “period(s) of disability” if it is to your advantage to do so. This can happen when you or your family may be entitled or get a higher monthly benefit amount by ignoring your period of disability.