The process of obtaining Social Security disability benefits can be a long and difficult road, even when everything goes well. One of the biggest impediments people find when applying for these benefits, however, is that there is a five month waiting period before benefits arrive, even if you apply early. But how long do you need to wait before you can apply for Social Security disability benefits?
When Should You Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Technically speaking, you can apply for Social Security disability benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from the moment that you are first disabled. In fact, it is generally advised that you apply for benefits as soon as you realize you are disabled. However, no matter how early you apply, there is still a minimum five month waiting period, meaning you will not receive any benefits until you have been disabled for at least six months. The only exception to this applies to those with a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), who can begin to receive benefits right away.
Why is There a Waiting Period?
The reason for this waiting period has to do with the reason for SSDI and SSI’s existence. These benefits are not intended for people suffering from short-term conditions that they will recover from relatively quickly. Instead, they are meant to help cover the living expenses of people who have long-term disabilities that will keep them from working for a prolonged period. If you are not disabled for that long, you will not be able to receive SSDI or SSI benefits.
How Do You Know When You Qualify as Being Disabled?
Generally speaking, you are considered disabled under the law when you have a physical or mental condition that prevents substantial gainful activity and has lasted at least twelve months, or which can be reasonably expected to last at least twelve months. The way they measure this is based on a number of factors, including how much money you made, the point at which you first demonstrated signs of your disability, and whether there is any reasonable hope of quick recovery. The more likely it is that your disability will be long-lasting, the less difficulty you will have getting SSDI or SSI benefits.
What Should You Do?
If you are suffering from a physical or psychological condition that has kept you from working, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling SSDI and SSI claims. They can help you apply for Social Security disability benefits and give you the best chance possible of having your claim approved. The sooner you call, the sooner they can get to work on your case.
If you or a loved one need assistance applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.