Many claimants who apply for either Supplemental Security Income benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance have been out of work for weeks or months and are facing a serious financial crisis. One common question we get on our forum is, “What do I do for money while I wait for disability benefits to be approved by the Social Security Administration?”
The answer to this question obviously depends on many factors, but this blog will discuss some of the basic steps that you can take to weather the weeks, months or years that you may end up fighting for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
Will I have to wait months to get approved for Social Security Administration disability benefits?
One of the first questions claimants have when evaluating how to survive until they get their benefits is how long the disability determination process will actually be. Do some claimants actually wait years to get approved? Is there a way to expedite claims? Does everyone who applies get Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits?
Many claimants who apply for SSA disability benefits will not be approved. Either they do not have enough work credits (for Social Security Disability Insurance), their income and resources are too high (for Supplemental Security Income), their condition is considered not severe enough, or their condition will not last for 12 continuous months.
There are many claims that can be expedited and approved immediately (compassionate allowance, TERS, wounded warriors), but most claims will not be approved immediately, and the claimant will have to appeal at least one denial (sometimes mores). Filing multiple appeals is what can add substantial time to processing a disability claim.
Financial options while waiting for Social Security Administration disability benefits to start
Making the assumption that the disability process may take months or years, you are probably wondering what you can do if you are not able to work. You may have a spouse who is working who can relieve some of the financial stress but what if you are single? There are options, but unfortunately, they are limited.
- Save money BEFORE you quit working
This sounds idealistic and many families are struggling to barely make ends meet while they are working, but with the understanding that it may take months to get Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, it is imperative that you begin to save a little bit each month into a special account to prepare for the time when you are no longer able to work.
- Borrow money from friends or family members
Often borrowing money is not a good idea, and even in this case it should be a last resort, but if you have a family member or friend who is willing to help you out, it may be your only option.
- Take out a home equity loan or personal loan
If you own a home and you have equity in your home you may be able to refinance the home and take some of your equity out of your home to help sustain you for a few months.
- Work VERY part-time
It may be possible to work a few hours a week and still get approved for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. Keep in mind, performing substantial gainful activity will automatically result in a denial of SSA disability benefits.
- Social Security Administration and Calculating my Disability Benefits (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- Can I switch from Supplemental Security Income to Social Security Disability Insurance? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- Child Support and SSA Disability (disabilitybenefitshome.com)