How Long Do I Have To Wait Before I File My Social Security Disability Claim?

Oct 09, 2011 Comments Off on How Long Do I Have To Wait Before I File My Social Security Disability Claim? by

Question: How long do I have to wait before I file my Social Security disability claim?

Answer: Not one day. You can file the same day you stop work. It can take two years or more to be approved for Social Security. Yes, that’s discouraging but every day you delay filing your claim is one more day that your case will take.

Delaying doesn’t help your case in any way. Delaying doesn’t make the wait shorter — it makes it longer. Delaying doesn’t help your chances of winning — it may take away some of your appeal options. Delaying doesn’t mean you’ll get more money if you’re approved. Once you wait over 17 months for disability insurance benefits you’re losing a month of benefits for each month you wait. For SSI, you’re losing a month for every month you wait and, basically,  the losses start almost immediately after you stop work.

People often wait five years and more to file a Social Security disability claim. When I ask them why, they always look a bit sheepish and say, “I thought I would get better.” Don’t let that be you! Get going now. If you do get better, you can always drop your case. It’s not a one way street. Social Security is happy for you to go back to work. In any case, be realistic. After you’ve been out of work more than a year, your chances of every going back to regular, full time work for the long haul are slim.

By the way, don’t get me wrong. We’re quite happy to work with you if you’ve waited for years to file your claim. It may still be possible to do something.

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About the author

Charles Hall is the lead attorney for the Charles Hall Law Firm in Raleigh, NC. He has been practicing in the Social Security Disability law field since 1979, is published, and is ready to help new clients win their benefits in North Carolina.