When should you apply for disability benefits? Tomorrow? Next month? Next year?
Soon after you become disabled, disability benefits might cross your mind. Should you wait until you’re unable to work before you apply for benefits? What about when you’re struggling to pay your bills—is that the right time? How soon is too soon to apply? As you’ve likely learned by now, the application process for disability benefits can be lengthy and exhausting, so it’s understandable that you want to apply for benefits as quickly as possible. If you’ve been debating when to apply for Social Security disability benefits, we’re here to help. Scroll down to learn more.
When Should You Apply for Disability?
So when should you apply for disability benefits? When you become eligible for them.
If you don’t know what it takes to qualify for disability, check out this previous blog post. Qualification boils down to two things: (1) your disability must meet the SSA’s definition of disability and (2) your work history must meet the SSA’s requirements. If you are disabled, unable to work, and you meet those two qualifications, you are eligible for disability benefits and should apply as soon as possible to reduce your overall waiting time.
Most eligible applicants should apply for disability immediately after they stop working, but for others, the timeline revolves around their salary. If your earnings have dipped below $1,070 per month (or $1,800 per month if you’re blind), you are also eligible for benefits (assuming your disability is expected to last for a year or more). When you make this amount or less, you are no longer engaged in what the SSA considers to be substantial gainful work. Apply for benefits when you begin making less than $1,070/month.
If your disability is difficult to understand and offers a hazy, indistinct future, you might need to wait a little longer to apply. If it isn’t clear that the disability will be around for the long-term, you should probably wait until you’ve been unemployed for six months before you apply.
THE WAITING GAME
Because disability cases have a tendency to drag on and on, there is a chance that you’ll have to wait a long time to receive your first benefits. The Social Security Administration estimates 90-120 days for the initial application, but sometimes that time period can stretch to 6-8 months. Plus, many applicants are initially denied and must then go through an appeals process. That equates to even more waiting time, but you must be patient. And if you want to reduce your overall waiting time, apply for benefits as soon as you are eligible.
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If you have any doubts as to when you should apply for disability benefits, contact a disability representative. They can take the specifics of your case into consideration (your disability, your employment status, your income, your work history, etc.) and help you decide when to apply.
Do you think you’re ready to apply for disability benefits? If so, contact BTS Group, Inc to confirm your decision and to learn more about what a disability representative can do for you. Our disability representatives would be happy to help you apply for disability, build your case, monitor your case status, and ultimately win the disability benefits you deserve. Please click here for a free case evaluation or give us a call at 1-866-441-4BTS to learn more.