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Must I wait until my sick leave is exhausted before applying for Social Security disability benefits?

You don't have to wait for your sick leave to be exhausted to apply for Social Security disability benefits. The two have nothing to do with each other really. If you're out of work and you don't think you're going to be able to make it, come back within the next 12 months or the severity is such that you think you can't work at all. Then I would recommend that you file for our SSDI benefits.