How am I supposed to make ends meet while waiting on my disability benefits?

  • By:Samantha Lowery
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Excellent question!  The Social Security Disability appeals process can be long and grueling taking anywhere from 12–24 months in most cases.   Unfortunately, this prolonged wait can lead to financial burdens on Claimants and their families. When possible, try to plan ahead. We offer free consultations to those who are thinking about applying for disability benefits to help them map out a course of action for the appellate process.

Here are some suggestions to help guide you through the process:

  • Short/Long Term Disability: If you have short or long- term disability through your employer, I encourage you to utilize these resources before you file for Social Security disability benefits.  Monies from your short or long-term disability policies may be an excellent source of income while you wait on your Social Security disability benefits.
  • Vacation Pay, Earned Time Off: If you have accumulated vacation time, sick time or earned time off that may be converted into cash, you may consider using these resources to help assist you during the appeals process.
  • 401K or Retirement: If you have retirement or 401K benefits through your employer, you may consider using these resources to help you until you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
  • Home Equity: If you own a house, you may be eligible for a home equity loan.
  • Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP): Most states offer income-based assistance to help with the cost of food.
  • Part-Time Employment: While it is not recommended in most cases, you may work a minimal number of hours so long as your gross monthly income does not exceed $1180 in 2018.  Always consult with your attorney prior to considering this alternative.
  • Extenuating Circumstances: If you are in a situation where you no longer have access to essentials including shelter, power, food and water, you may be eligible for a ‘Dire Need Expedition’ of your case.  You will be required to provide adequate documentation e.g. an eviction notice, a turn-off notice for power or water, etc.

While the above are recommended suggestions to be considered to help you through the disability appeals process, please note that if you are seeking disability benefits you should not seek to draw Unemployment Benefits.  Unemployment benefits are designed for individuals who are ready, willing and able to work.  Disability benefits are for those unable to work.  Thus, receiving unemployment benefits while seeking disability could potentially cause serious problems and damage your credibility.

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Deb Grossman