Right now, you have a lot on your plate. You have to adjust to your diagnosis, and you have to learn to live with significant limitations. As you adjust to your new schedule of doctor appointments and restricted activities, you might not think about filing for Social Security disability benefits right away. You may decide that you want to wait until you have some other things under control before you take on the Social Security Administration (SSA).
But there are risks associated with waiting. If you delay filing for Social Security disability, there are two risks you need to understand.
You Might Not Qualify for Social Security Disability
And this is something that you want to know this sooner rather than later. If you wait to file and then don’t qualify, you may be in significant financial trouble.
It is important to remember that your disability is only one part of how you qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Additionally, your work history must satisfy the requirements of the program. Part of the work history requirements includes a recent work test. For example, if you are age 31 or older, you must have worked for five of the last ten years before becoming disabled in order to qualify for benefits. If you are between the ages of 24 and 30, you must have worked for half of the time since your 21st birthday, and if you are younger than 24, you must have worked for at least one and a half years out of the previous three years. Certain exceptions apply for blind applicants.
You Could Put Your Finances in Jeopardy
Even if you qualify for Social Security disability benefits once you apply, you have already lived for a certain amount of time without benefits, and you may have spent your assets or put yourself in debt to make ends meet when you didn’t have to do so.
We understand why you would hesitate to file a Social Security disability application right now. The paperwork and the details of such an application may seem overwhelming. However, you do not have to do this on your own. Instead, you have the right to consult with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer. Your attorney can handle the application process while you concentrate on other things. That way, you don’t have to endure the stress of the application process or the potential harm in delaying your application.
To learn more about your rights, please read our FREE report, Social Security Disability What You Need to Know.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.