If you're starting an application for Social Security Disability, it can be an intimidating process. In addition to the paperwork and the unpredictable review times, you might find yourself struggling with how to make ends meet during the mandatory five-month waiting period before your benefits can begin. Since there's no guaranteed review time or benefit deadline, it's up to you to find other sources of income while you're waiting. In addition to talking with your Social Security Disability attorney about your options, here are a few things you can consider.
Understanding the Review Process
It can take as little as a month or as long as a year to have your disability application reviewed. The Social Security Administration reviews each case in detail, assessing your medical records, lab tests, witness statements and any other evidence that's been supplied. Review times are unpredictable since there is no way to know how many applications are pending review or how detailed each review is going to be.
Options to Avoid Financial Difficulties
There are many options that can help you ease your budget constraints while you're waiting for your application review. Here's a look at some of the most common options to consider.
Whether you live in one of the few states that offers state-funded short-term disability benefits or you have a short-term disability policy through your employer, these benefits can help you bridge the gap between your initial injury and your Social Security disability review. In most cases, you'll have to show evidence of the disability and documentation of your employment before the injury, but the review process and final decision are typically much faster than the Social Security benefit process.
Public Assistance Benefits
Every state has an interim assistance program designed to help those who are awaiting disability benefits. To qualify, you'll need to file for Supplemental Security Income and then sign the interim assistance agreement that asserts your current income bracket and financial need.
Independent Income Options
When you're applying for Social Security Disability, you are limited as to how much money you can earn while you're waiting. Luckily, that doesn't mean you can't earn anything. One of the easiest ways to earn some extra money is by selling belongings at a yard sale or through an online classified site. Spend some time reorganizing and cleaning out your house, and you may be surprised at the things you find which you can sell.
Jewelry, clothing that doesn't fit anymore and even old appliances like bread makers and toaster ovens are great for this type of option. If you have a large book collection, many used book stores will buy books, too.
Borrowing Against Your Credit
If you own your home, you may be able to take out an equity loan or borrow against a home equity line of credit while you're waiting for your review. You might be able to save some cost if you refinance your existing mortgage, too.
For properties that are mortgage-free, a reverse mortgage may help you to make ends meet while you're waiting. If you have credit cards, you can rely on these to some extent, but remember that you're going to have to pay back the balance quickly, so don't overextend yourself.
Local Support Resources
Look to the local charity providers, including the food pantries and the local churches. They often have supplemental support programs to help those on disability or awaiting a disability decision.
Before you start earning money through any means, you should talk with a disability attorney. He or she has the legal expertise to let you know what your limits are to help protect the integrity of your application.
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