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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

If You Qualify, Don’t Wait to Apply for Disability Benefits

Have you looked into Social Security Disability Insurance? The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers these benefits to any American suffering a severe, long-term medical condition that prevents them from working. Although the disability program has a few requirements you must meet, if you think you qualify, you shouldn’t wait to apply.

Many people mistakenly believe that you have to be disabled for at least one year before you’re eligible to apply. This is simply not true. You’re eligible for benefits starting the day your condition prevents you from going to work, and there are several reasons why you’ll want to apply today.

Long Wait Periods

Because a Social Security Disability claim can take up to two years to receive an approval, it’s important to apply for benefits as soon as you qualify. Even if your case progresses fairly quickly, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits do not begin until five months after the date you are approved.

You’ll need all the financial resources you have just to get through this waiting period. After all, since you’re not working or receiving benefits, your income will more than likely be limited.

Also don’t feel as if you’re “burdening the government,” either. Social Security Disability is not welfare; it’s an insurance program that you pay into through your Social Security taxes. You contributed to the fund in case you needed to use it, and now you do.

Work Credit Requirements

Social Security Disability Insurance does have a work credit requirement, meaning you need to have worked a certain number of years to be eligible for benefits. The general rule is at least five out of the past 10 years. If you wait too long to apply for benefits, you may wait yourself out of eligibility.

Back Pay

Finally, the SSA awards back pay for up to 12 months before your application date (until the day you became disabled). They do this to compensate for the long application process. If you wait too long to file, you could miss out on thousands of dollars of back pay.

Overall, waiting to file for benefits doesn’t make sense. Given the long wait times and work credit requirements, you don’t want to jeopardize your financial future over pride or procrastination. If you qualify, don’t put it off any longer—apply for disability benefits now.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

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