Posted on: 20 April 2015
The application process for Social Security Disability benefits can be overwhelming. You'll have to fill out a lot of paperwork, and the processing times can be difficult to predict. In addition, there's a five-month waiting period before you'll start to receive payments. You may be wondering about what you should do in the meantime. Along with working with a Social Security Disability attorney, there are a few other things that you can do to help manage your wait time and your budget along the way.
What to Expect
There is no standard timeframe for application reviews. You could receive your determination in a few weeks, or it could take several months. It's important to understand the Social Security Administration will review every case individually, and the detailed review can take time. During that review process, the group will evaluate your medical records, witness statements and other evidence provided with the application.
Making Ends Meet
Since you'll be without a steady income during the application process, you may be looking for ways to keep up with your bills. There are several different options to explore while you're waiting for a decision.
Public Assistance and Local Support
Check with your city or county to find out about the availability of financial assistance for the interim application period. In most cases, you can qualify for benefits until your application is reviewed by requesting Supplemental Security Income. This provides you with a steady supplemental check each month until your case has been decided.
You may even be able to get some support from the local food pantries, church organizations and other charity facilities. Many of these organizations have budgets in place to help support the disabled and those waiting for a disability determination.
Taking Out a Loan
As a homeowner, you might qualify to take out an equity loan against your house or apply for a line of credit that will help you cover your bills while you're waiting. If you have a mortgage, consider refinancing to reduce your payments, too. Just remember that you're going to have to pay back any money that you're borrowing, so don't commit to a payment you won't be able to afford if your disability is denied or delayed.
Personal Income Opportunities
One of the things that many people overlook when going through the disability process is the opportunity to generate income from home. Talk with a Social Security Disability attorney about how much money you can make during the application process without affecting your claim, and then start looking at some independent opportunities.
For example, if you've been meaning to clean out your closets or the attic, this is a perfect opportunity for a garage sale. If you are suffering from mobility issues as part of your disability, consider getting some volunteer help to sort everything out. You can even sell things on the online classifieds if you prefer not to host a physical sale.
Short-Term Disability Insurance
Some states provide a state-funded disability program that provides short-term disability insurance for people who are waiting for a Social Security Disability determination. Some employers offer these insurance plans, too. In either case, a short-term disability plan will help you bridge the payment gap between the time you stop working and the time your application is reviewed.
You'll have to submit your records to prove the disability, but the review process for short-term disability won't take very long. Since the short-term disability plan is intended for brief periods, the reviews and decision-making usually happens faster than the Social Security Disability plan through the Social Security Administration.
Before you start generating money through any sources, you should discuss it with a disability attorney. He or she can help you determine the best methods to make ends meet without jeopardizing your application.