What To Do While Waiting for a Disability Benefits Decision

A point we often emphasize to disability applicants is that there is no way to determine how long it will be before they can start receiving benefits. There are simply too many factors that come into play when the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) considers your SSI or SSDI application, including: the type of your disability, the severity of your disability, the SSA examiner or administrative law judge who reviews your case, and the number of other applicants in the system at the time.

How Do I Manage While Waiting on My Disability Benefits Application?

Because of the uncertainty of the SSI and SSDI application process, applicants need to have a plan in place in order to make ends meet while the SSA considers their applications.

First, consider other financial support that may be available from your state. Several states (though, not Oklahoma) provide temporary disability benefits that are typically easier and quicker to qualify for than federal disability benefits. Other programs such as food stamps or state public assistance benefits may help you while you wait on your SSI or SSDI application.  Some people are also able to obtain assistance from private sources such as churches, friends or family members.

Second, take advantage of any fast-track SSI or SSDI programs for which you may qualify. SSI benefits can be available immediately through a presumptive disability (“PD”) program if you lost a limb, are completely blind, are completely deaf, or suffer from another severe disability. The SSA also runs a Compassionate Allowances (“CAL”) program by which you can qualify for a fast-tracked process if you suffer from one of the 113 conditions currently on the CAL list. Lastly, applicants who are terminally ill may qualify for quicker benefits under the SSA’s terminal illness program (“TERI”).

Are you a recent recipient of SSI or SSDI benefits? What advice do you have for others who are applying for benefits and who are worried about finances while they wait?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

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