Planning financially for the wait for benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance provides benefits to people who suffer from disabling conditions that prevent gainful employment. As most disability Social Security Aurora lawyers know, many beneficiaries depend on this financial support. As a result, the slow SSD application process often proves financially challenging for people seeking benefits.

The Social Security Administration establishes a five-month waiting period between disability onset and benefit eligibility. Even after this period ends, claim processing can be slow, since the SSA must collect medical records and verify the information in the application. To stay financially solvent during claim processing, applicants should consider taking the following steps.

Budget and downsize

Applicants should start by considering their full financial resources. In addition to personal income, applicants should count income from family members, savings accounts and outside assistance, such as workers’ compensation benefits. Applicants can use these financial resources and their essential expenses to create a basic budget.

Next, applicants can look for costs that could be lowered or eliminated, such as discretionary spending. Applicants can also consider whether more necessary expenses could be reduced through measures such as switching providers, downgrading service plans, conserving energy or downsizing residences and vehicles.

Find other aid

Applicants should consider applying for other forms of government assistance, such as food stamps. Applicants can also inquire about assistance available through local social services departments. Some programs may provide financial support for medical care, utility bills, housing expenses and other essential costs of living.

Request a faster decision

In some cases, an SSD claim may qualify for expedited claim processing. For example, certain serious medical conditions qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program, which requires minimal supporting evidence and offers faster decisions. Applicants who provide proof of extreme financial distress, or “dire need,” may also qualify for a faster decision. Applicants with severe medical conditions or extenuating circumstances may want to speak with disability Social Security Aurora lawyers about eligibility for expedited processing.

Seek qualified help

Preparing a well-documented claim is critical for people who cannot afford to wait for benefits. Claim denial can further increase the gap between the date of disablement and the date an applicant receives benefits. To minimize the risk of denial, applicants may want to partner with an SSD attorney during the claim process.

People facing financial strain may believe they cannot afford representation. However, Disability Social Security Aurora lawyers generally only collect payment if the SSD claim is successful. An applicant and attorney can agree before filing the claim on the fee the attorney will collect if benefits are awarded. This allows applicants to work with an attorney in spite of any current financial hardships.