It is time. You and your employer have concluded that your medical ailment will prevent you from working at least for the next year and maybe even for the rest of your life. Applying for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits seems like a logical choice in order to help you secure the money to support your family.
But how long do you have to file an SSD benefits claim? Essentially, there is no set deadline to apply. However, there is no time to dilly-dally. Time is of the essence. It is crucial to apply for SSD benefits as soon as you determine that you are disabled. Why? Because you are guaranteed a lengthy waiting period before you even get a whiff of those much-needed benefits.
File immediately, expect a long wait
The government is not known for being swift, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) takes time to review cases before making a ruling months later. That wait can be up to five months. And, on top of that, you, like most applicants, likely will have your application denied.
According to SSA statistics, during the 10-year period from 2009 through 2018, the agency denied 66% of U.S. worker applications for disability benefits.
Here’s the typical timeline that takes place during the SSD benefits application:
- Upon filing for SSD benefits, the government may take three to five months to review your case and form its decision.
- If your application is denied – and roughly two-thirds of applicants have their applications denied – you have 60 days to file an appeal. So immediately file an appeal.
- Once an administrative law judge hears your case, he or she may take four weeks to three months before deciding.
- If the judge rules in your favor and that you qualify for benefits, you still must wait another five months. You must understand that the SSA is particular and cautious. The agency does not provide benefits to a qualifying applicant until he or she is determined to be disabled for five straight months.
Whew. When you put all those numbers together, you realize that there always will be a lengthy waiting period. That is why it is in your best interest to apply for SSD benefits the moment you realize that your disability prevents you from working.