Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits, waiting for approval, and navigating appeals can take years. If you have been injured or disabled due to a medical condition and are unable to work, filling out an SSDI application and waiting for approval can deplete your savings and leave you with few options.
You want to have the best possible chance that your claim will be approved and start collecting benefits as soon as possible. Here, we will discuss the risks associated with long approval times and some ways you may be able to endure the wait.
How Long Does the SSA Take to Process Claims?
Unfortunately, there is no set amount of time within which you are guaranteed to have your application reviewed and either approved or denied. Generally, thoroughly reviewing, approving, or denying your claim can take an average of between one to three months in the review process.
The amount of time your claim will take depends on several factors. They include:
· The workload of the SSA office reviewing your application
· The available staffing at your local SSA office
· The types and complexity of claims in line ahead of yours
· The complexity of your claim
The SSI Waiting Period
It’s also important to understand that if you are approved for SSI, a waiting period of five months must pass before you can begin receiving your payments. This means you will have to be financially prepared to endure the interim period.
The good news is that you will receive payments in arrears to cover the interim, but not until the five months is complete. You may have to live on your savings during that time or make other plans.
Naturally, the best insurance policy against disability is savings. Of course, not everyone has enough savings to carry them should the approval and appeals process take years to complete.
What Should I Do While I Wait for Approval?
Some SSDI applicants have had to wait years before finally receiving the benefits that they have paid into for their entire working lives. If you find yourself in this challenging situation, watching your savings being whittled away while you wait for approval, know that you still have options.
SET UP A SECOND CHECKING ACCOUNT
If you’re running out of money, you’re almost certain to incur late payment fees on your current bills. By setting up a secondary checking account, you can move funds into it, knowing that any automatic payments you have set up will not be able to touch the funds in your second account. You will have to pay your bills and any late fees eventually, but you can hold them off until your SSI payments start coming in.
ESTABLISH ANOTHER CREDIT CARD ACCOUNT
This may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re confident that your disability claim will be approved in time, then you know you will be able to pay off the debt you accrue while you wait.
DO NOT DELAY THE APPLICATION PROCESS LONGER THAN NECESSARY.
Many people fail to begin the SSDI application process in a timely fashion. They do this for many reasons. They may feel embarrassed about being unable to support themselves. They may have unrealistic hopes for recovery and bet on their ability to generate an income sooner than later.
These are common and understandable attitudes, but they can place you in danger of subsisting on little or no income. Don’t take the risk, and don’t delay the process longer than necessary. Apply for your SSI benefits as soon as you believe you may need them.
Remember; taking advantage of SSDI funds is not a sign of weakness or laziness. You have worked for your benefits all of your adult life, and the SSDI fund is there for the express purpose of protecting people like you.
When Is It Time to Consult an SSDI Legal Professional?
The short answer to this question is as soon as possible. Accessing legal representation can save you months or years of financial deprivation and worry in addition to the accumulation of debt.
An attorney who specializes in the SSDI application and approval process can help ensure that your application is filled out correctly and that all of the necessary evidence is included in your claim. With legal representation, you will obtain the best chance of being approved in a timely fashion.
To learn more about the SSDI application process, consult the professionals at Joel Thrift Law today.