Applying for disability benefits is the right step toward getting the money for household bills and day-to-day expenses, but it takes time. First, the application goes through a lengthy review process the Social Security Administration estimates takes from three to five months. If your application is not approved, your disability advocate at Liner Legal Disability Lawyers needs to file an appeal to have the denial reviewed and overturned.
The immediate challenge is finding a source of income until disability benefits are approved and the monthly payments begin. You need to be careful not to do anything that could jeopardize your claim, so here are a few suggestions for sources of income while waiting for disability.
Expediting The Payment Process
The Social Security Administration has the ability to expedite the process to get payments to you more quickly in the following situations:
- Presumptive disability and presumptive blindness payments.
- Emergency advance payment.
- Immediate payment.
- Expedited case reinstatement.
The SSA considers certain medical conditions to be so severe that it will pay presumptive disability or presumptive blindness benefits for up to six months while your application for Supplemental Security Income is pending. Included are the following medical conditions:
- Leg amputation at the hip.
- Total deafness.
- Total blindness.
- Bed confinement or an inability to move about without a wheelchair, walker, or another mobility device.
- Cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or muscular atrophy.
- Down syndrome.
If you are approved for presumptive disability or presumptive blindness payments, you do not have to repay it in the event your application for disability benefits is ultimately denied.
An emergency advance payment is available to new SSI beneficiaries whose benefit payments are delayed. An emergency advance can be made to pay for food, shelter, clothing, or medical care, but the advance will be recovered by SSI from the first six months of future benefit payments.
An immediate payment is available to applicants for SSI who need money for food, shelter, clothing or medical care. Immediate payments cannot exceed $999 and must be repaid from the first monthly benefit payment.
Expedited reinstatement is available to individuals whose SSI benefits were terminated because of the amount of income they had available to them. Instead of filing a new application for benefits, you can use an expedited reinstatement process provided you meet the following requirements:
- You have a medical condition that prevents you from working at the substantial gainful activity level.
- You are unable to do substantial gainful activity in the month that you request expedited reinstatement.
- Your current physical or mental impairments are the same as when originally approved for SSI benefits.
You must request expedited reinstatement within five years from the termination of your benefits. While waiting for a decision on expedited reinstatement, you may be eligible for up to six months of benefit payments.
Applying For Other Benefit Programs
If you live in one of the few states that have their own disability programs, you should consider applying for benefits even though they are only for short-term disabilities typically lasting for a year or less. Also consider applying for benefits through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which is the successor to the food stamp program. An excellent source for information about assistance available in your state is a disability advocate or the local department of social services or its equivalent.
Compassionate Allowances Program
Certain medical conditions can quickly be identified as severe enough to meet the standards that Social Security uses to conclude that a person applying for Social Security Disability Insurance or SSI benefits is disabled. Certain types of cancers and other severe medical conditions may be identified and given expedited processing during the disability determination process.
An automatic screening process selects applications with medical conditions qualifying for the Compassionate Allowances program. Once identified, the application goes through an expedited review process that dramatically shortens the time it takes for a decision to be made about whether or not to approve the claim. The list of medical conditions qualifying for the program can change, so speak to your disability advocate about it before you apply for SSDI or SSI.
Working While Waiting For Disability Benefits
If you have the ability to work on a limited basis to earn some income, be aware that you may not qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits if you earn $1,470 or more a month in 2023. According to federal regulations, work earnings of $1,470 a month or more show that you have the ability to engage in substantial gainful activity, so you fail to meet the disability standard that Social Security must use when evaluating benefit claims.
Getting Help With Disability Applications And Appeals
A disability lawyer from Liner Legal has an unsurpassed knowledge of the law, rules, and regulations that must be followed to prevent mistakes and omissions from delaying the application or appeals process. Learn more about your disability benefits by scheduling a free consultation.