Given that approval for your Social Security Disability claim can take many months, how will you and your family survive financially during the long wait? What if you have to appeal?
While you wait for the Social Security Administration’s decision on your claim for SSD benefits, there are several steps you can take to help make ends meet.
Understanding SSA timing
A claim for Social Security Disability benefits may take up to a year and a half before approval. While the initial application may only take a few months, an appeal can take many more months—and appeals are common.
Looking for financial assistance
Many applicants do not have the financial resources available to weather the long approval process, but help is available. First, you might consider approaching family or friends for financial assistance. If you are approved for SSD benefits, you will receive back pay and can reimburse the people who helped you. Churches and religious organizations like the Salvation Army may be able to help you with food, utility bills and other basic needs. State and federal programs are also available, such as TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Your county Department of Social Services can help you find out more about government assistance.
Considering unemployment benefits
A word of caution about unemployment benefits may be in order. Perhaps you are thinking of applying for unemployment as a way to stay financially afloat while awaiting a benefits decision from the SSA. Keep in mind that the unemployment program is for people who anticipate going back to work in the near term. The benefits you seek are for those who cannot work for a year or more. If you apply for unemployment benefits, you could put your application for SSD benefits in jeopardy.