Slepian Smith, PLLC

Disabled and unable to work? Don’t wait to apply for benefits

If you are dealing with a serious medical condition, you likely have a lot to worry about on a daily basis. Can you pay for your medication? How will you get to the grocery store? When is the next doctor’s appointment?

With so much to worry about, you may be tempted to put off difficult tasks, like applying for disability benefits. However, while it can feel like you have plenty of time to secure benefits, you need to understand that the clock is ticking.

Waiting can cause problems with your application

If you wait to file for disability benefits, then it can become more difficult to compile the medical evidence for your application. You will have to go back further to gather documentation. Additionally, relevant information could become outdated, which could lead to a denied claim.

There is no application waiting period

Too many people assume they must wait to file for disability benefits. Some think they need to wait until six months after they become disabled. This is often the result of misinterpreting the waiting period, which delays the first payment of benefits until the sixth full month after the date of your disability.

Others believe they have to wait until they have been disabled for one year. However, you can apply for benefits as soon as you learn your condition will last at least one year. In fact, the Social Security Administration recommends applying for benefits “as soon you become disabled.”

No deadline doesnt mean you have forever

There isn’t a firm deadline on when you must file for benefits when you become disabled. However, you should not assume that you can put it off indefinitely.

Waiting to file can lead to delays in receiving your benefits, leaving you without financial resources. Further, you could miss out on back pay if you wait longer than a year to submit an application.

Taking action with legal support

With all this in mind, we urge disabled workers and their families to act fast so they can secure the benefits available. To make the process easier, you can work with an attorney who can help you avoid costly delays and missteps that could jeopardize your benefits.

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