Social Security disability applications often take a very long time to reach a decision. Indeed, an initial application will often take 6-8 months to be completely processed. This is despite the estimated 90-120 days “estimated” by the Social Security Administration. This time can be extended if the initial claim is denied and must be appealed, as nearly 70% of all initial claims are. As such many claimants are in financial distress by the time they receive a disability hearing. Therefore, deciding when to apply for SSDI is important.
Are you disabled and unable to work?
It is all too common for people to procrastinate when it comes to applying for social security disability. However, given the fact that obtaining a decision on a disability claim can take months, if not years, this may not be the best way to go.
Generally speaking, if you disabled, or believe you may be, and you are unable to work, you may qualify for disability benefits. If that is the case, it would be wise to minimize the time you will ultimately wait to receive benefits, by filing a Social Security disability application as soon as you become eligible.
When do I become eligible to apply for SSDI?
Most people are eligible to file a disability application the day after they either stop working entirely, or their earnings drop below $1,090 per month (or $1,820 per month for individuals receiving benefits based on blindness). Your condition must be expected to last at least one year. If you are initially denied, but your medical condition becomes worse by the time you receive a reconsideration or hearing, you can submit new evidence regarding your condition. Therefore, there is no reason to wait until your condition worsens, before you file your initial application. Get the process started as early as possible.
Individuals working full time
When an individual is working full time, it is very likely that his or her gross monthly earned income will exceed the standard for substantial and gainful income. This amount is subject to change every year. The ability to work full time, even if earned income does not exceed the limit, does not substantiate a claim for disability. Instead, someone who is still able to work full time should wait to apply for social security disability benefits once his or her physical or mental condition prevents continued employment, or makes it impossible to work enough to make sufficient income.
Individuals working part time
If working full time seems unlikely, because of a mental or physical condition, it would probably be a good decision to file your application for social security disability benefits. The inability to work at a substantial and gainful income level will, in fact, substantiate a claim for disability benefits. This is assuming that the person’s medical records will corroborate the claimed functional limitations caused by the medical condition.
If you have questions regarding applying for benefits, or any other social security disability issues, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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