When should I apply for disability benefits?
You should apply as soon as you believe you qualify for disability benefits. To be eligible for benefits, you must be unable to be gainfully employed because of a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. You do not have to wait until you have been disabled 12 months to apply for benefits. If your disability is expected to last at least 12 months, you may apply.