Many people are unsure when the right time to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI.) There are many misconceptions as to when the right time is to file. The answer is not as complicated as many may think. Many believe that you must be out of work for a certain amount of time before filing. The truth is, you can file for Social Security disability benefits the day you stop working. There is no waiting period. If you or your treating physicians expect that you have impairments that will prevent you from working for a year or more, you should file for benefits immediately after you stop working. You can also continue working and file for benefits if your gross earnings are less than $1220 per month. So, you can possibly reduce to part time at your job and keep your earnings below $1220 a month and file.
You should file as soon as you stop working for two reasons. The number one reason is because your Date Last Insured (DLI) with Social Security can expire and prevent you from being eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Every person who has paid enough quarters into SS has a date last insured. DLI refers to the last date you are eligible to receive SSDI. In order to receive SSDI you must pass the “recent work test.” This means that you need to have worked the past 5 out of 10 years. More specifically, you must have worked 20 of the last 40 quarters. You must be found disabled prior to this date in order to be eligible for benefits. If your date last insured is 6/30/19, you need to be found disabled before this date.
Many Personal injury attorneys and Workers Comp attorneys advise their injured clients to wait and file for Social Security Disability Benefits after they have received a settlement. While I will not get into the reason they do this- I will tell you that it is misguiding their clients. Waiting can seriously affect the outcome of you being awarded disability benefits. If you have a pending workers comp claim or personal injury claim and you are not working, you should immediate file for Social Security Benefits to avoid your date last insured expiring. Personal injury claims and Workers comp claims sometimes take years to settle.
The other reason you should file as soon as you stop working is because the process of getting Disability Benefits is a long one. If you are approved at the initial level, you will wait four to five months to receive benefits. If you are denied at the initial level, you will have to file an appeal for reconsideration which can take another 4-5 months. If your request for reconsideration is denied, you then file a request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Getting a hearing date can take 6-12 months. So, the sooner you get the process started after you have stopped working, the sooner you will receive benefits.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to Social Security Disability Laws. This is because it is a very complex area of Law. If you have questions or need advice, please do not hesitate to call our office. We would be happy to assist and guide you through this process!