Applying for social security disability benefits is a procedure that stretches over time. Indeed, not only do you have to submit your application, but you must also wait for a verdict to be made on your case. On average, the waiting period for an SSD application ranges from one month to two years. Wait times vary widely because each application has its own features, and the review process must be thoroughly conducted before any feedback is given. Financing living expenses while your case is pending can be hard, unless you're working with a social security attorney.
Why does the review process take so long?
As mentioned earlier, the Social Security Administration takes between 30 days and 24 months to analyze the documents submitted with the SSD benefits application. Depending on the types of documents requested and/or presented, the review process may be performed quickly or slowly. Examples of documents submitted with those claims include:
- Medical reports
- Testimonies from witnesses
- Mental health records
Medical reports usually take the form of blood tests and lab results that document your eligibility for the sought SSD benefits. The same thing is also true for the testimonies that relevant experts can make to substantiate your claim. While it's understandable that the Social Security Administration needs to take its time to reach a decision on your case, it's also important to find how/where you're going to get the money that you need to survive in the meantime.
How do you finance your living expenses?
There are three types of financing that you can expect to discuss with your social security attorney such as:
- Temporary disability insurance
- Public assistance
- Other options
Sometimes referred to as short-term disability insurance (SDI), this form of insurance is only available in a small number of states including California, Hawaii, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York. SDI benefits are meant for workers who were forced to temporarily to take a break from work following an injury or a sickness. To qualify for SDI benefits, you must document one of the following:
- Be able to prove that you've been working for at least the past 30 days
- Meet the minimum earning requirements set by your state
- Prove that your disability wasn't caused by a work-related injury
- Prove that you're about to deliver a child
- Submit medical documents evidencing your disability
Unlike SSD benefits, SDI benefits are much easier to get mainly because they can be obtained faster.
There are two conditions to meet to be eligible for public assistance. First, you must file a claim to get SSD benefits. Then, your annual income must meet the bracket criteria set by the state to qualify for public assistance. To receive such assistance, you must file for Supplemental Security Income benefits and sign an interim assistance agreement. To maximize your chances of getting these benefits, you need to show that your SSD application will be successful.
If for some reasons you're denied both SDI and public assistance, then you may explore other alternatives such as home refinancing or personal loans. Most social security attorneys will only mention the latter if you don't have any other option left and have financing needs that need to be addressed before you receive your SSD benefits.
Before applying for SSD benefits, you should definitely hire a social security lawyer. This is because of the numerous documents that will need to be prepared and submitted as part of your application. In addition, the legal professional will use their specialized knowledge to guide you through the process and advise you on the best financing alternatives that are available to you and that will prevent you from feeling squeezed out financially.