Social Security disability is a federally based program that provides financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work. Social Security defines disability as the inability to earn a certain income due to physical and/or mental conditions which can be expected to result in death or a minimum 12 month time period. Because of the minimum 12-month time frame, claims for social security tend to take a long time to resolve. Most people apply for disability benefits as soon as they stop working full-time. Depending upon the severity of your condition it can be difficult to predict whether your conditions will be disabling for at least a 12-month time frame. That is why most people are denied their initial application and even reconsideration applications.
The typical life of a disability claim is approximately 18 months. Depending upon where you live it could be longer. In Florida, the trend is upward of three years if you have to go to a hearing before a judge. So what are you supposed to do in the meantime? How are you going to survive financially without an income for three years? This is a very real question for most of my clients. While there is no one perfect solution, there are some options.
Ask Family Members for Help
Princess Diana once said, “Family is the most important thing in the world.” Family is typically defined as individuals who are related to each other. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. Family can be anyone you love and who helps you in both good and bad times. They will be there to help support you because they love you. Try reaching out to family members for help and support. Maybe it makes sense for you to move in with your family member. Or maybe they simply provide you with financial support. Most people are uncomfortable asking family members for help. But that’s what they are there for.
Go Back to Work
Sometimes this is the simplest answer. Maybe you didn’t realize Social Security Disability benefits was not an immediate assistance program. That’s ok. It is easy enough to withdraw your application for disability benefits and go back to work. If you need short-term assistance, meaning for a few months, you should seek assistance from the Department of Human Services. The type of assistance varies by state. But if you think you will be back on your feet in a few months then the Social Security disability program is not right for you. It doesn’t make financial sense for you to wait three years for a resolution on your claim when you could have gone back to work full-time 2 ½ years ago. So if you can physically and/or mentally go back to work in any capacity then you should. Most people will earn more money working than by receiving disability benefits.
Apply for State Assistance
The federal government established the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1965 as a way to create suitable living conditions for all Americans. This program is more commonly known as HUD. The HUD public housing program was established to provide suitable and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, elderly persons, and persons with disabilities. There are approximately 1.2 million households living in public housing units. How this works is HUD administers financial aid to local housing agencies that manage low-income residents. You can apply for HUD housing through a local housing agency.
Eligibility is based on your household income, whether you are elderly or disabled, and whether you are a US citizen or an eligible immigrant. If you are approved for HUD housing then your rent will be calculated based on your family’s anticipated gross income. Essentially, your rent will be based on what you can financially afford.
Submit a Request to Expedite Your Claim
You can request that Social Security flag your case to be expedited. It tends to be very difficult to get SSA to fast-track your case. This is because almost everyone else applying for this program is in the same financial situation you are in. But there are a few ways to have your claim expedited:
- If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. These are called TERI cases. If your condition is expected to end in death then SSA will fast track your claim. Remember, just because you suffer from a terminal illness does not automatically mean you meet the requirements for disability. Having a letter from your doctor explaining your current medical condition will help expedite your claim and also support your disability claim.
- Veterans tend to have their claims fast-tracked. If the Veteran has a 100% disability rating through the VA then the claim will certainly be fast-tracked with social security.
- If you have a dire need situation your claim may be expedited. Dire need is classified as going without food, lacking medicine or medical care, or being homeless. Dire Needs requests are difficult to have approved. Again, because most people are in similar situations. Everyone’s claim cannot be expedited.
Get a status letter from Social Security to send to your landlord or your bank. If your landlord is threatening to evict you because of overdue rent explain that you are in the process of applying for social security. Sometimes simply having a letter saying your application is pending will be sufficient for your landlord or your bank to hold off on eviction proceedings.
If the status letter doesn’t work, contact an attorney to find out your housing rights. Your local legal aid organization will be a good source of information regarding your options to stay in your home.
These are just some of the housing options for you to consider when applying. The bottom line is if you are applying for Social Security disability benefits you need to have a financial plan for how to survive until a decision can be made. The best financial planning decision you can make when applying for SSD benefits is to contact an experienced SSD attorney. At the LaBovick Law Group, we make sure to provide more than just legal assistance for our clients. We work zealously to keep you in your home, food on your table, and ensure you have appropriate medical care, all while fighting to have your disability claim resolved as soon as possible. Call us at (561) 623-3681 for your free consultation today.