Here is a good Q+A from a St. Augustine FL newspaper – always good to understand why people are confused by the rule that a disability must last or be expected to last for 12 months before eligibility.
Q: I heard that my disability must be expected to last a year to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Does this mean I have to wait until I’ve been disabled an entire year before applying for disability through Social Security?
A: No. If you believe your disability will last a year or longer, apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. It can take an average of three to four months to process an application. If your application is approved, we will pay your first Social Security disability benefits for the sixth full month after the date your disability began. For example, if your state agency decides your disability began on January 15, we will pay your first disability benefit for the month of July. We pay in the month following the month for which they are due, so you will receive your July benefit in August.
For more information about Social Security disability benefits, refer to Social Security’s publication, Disability Benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10029.html.