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Time, as they say, waits for no one. And that holds true for the Social Security Administration, too. Letting too much time pass by can derail your claim for Social Security disability benefits. As disability attorneys, one of the most difficult obstacles for us to overcome in the process of winning Social Security disability benefits for our clients is when our clients wait too long to pursue their claim.
“Many of our potential clients talk to us and want to proceed with their case, but for one reason or another, get discouraged or complacent and drift away,” says Nash Attorney Demetra Geller. “As time goes by, months of benefits can be lost and even the ability to collect the benefits on a wage record can expire, meaning you could lose your ability to ever file for benefits. This is something that many clients are unaware of”
If you become disabled, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to wait too long to apply for Social Security disability benefits. There are many good reasons why you want to file in a timely manner. The unfortunate truth is that the process for winning disability benefits often takes far longer than it should, so waiting to apply just means that it will be that much longer before your benefits are approved. Medical information, which is vitally important to proving your claim, can become outdated. Delaying can cost you money, too. You can lose money too because back pay for disability claims is limited to the 12 months prior to your filing date for a benefit on your wage record (SSDI), and one month after the application for the need-based SSI benefit. When you are approved for disability benefits, you also become eligible for Medicare, if you are eligible for SSDI, but not until two years after your disability benefits eligibility date. Therefore, putting off filing for disability means a longer wait for Medicare health insurance. (For more about why waiting can be harmful to you, see our blog article The Perils of Waiting to File Your Disability Claim.)
“We understand that people have their reasons for being hesitant to start down the Social Security disability path,” says Ms. Geller. “Some of our clients shy away because they hear from neighbors, friends or family about how difficult the Social Security process can be. But it’s our job to deal with the Social Security Administration. As your attorneys, we are prepared and ready to take on the system, so you don’t have to.”
Maybe you are overwhelmed by the paperwork that seems like just one more burden while you are dealing with a disabling condition. “You shouldn’t have to worry about that. Just call us and we’ll walk you through the forms step by step. You can even come to our office and we’ll be happy to meet with you and help you complete this task,” Ms. Geller offers.
“Some of the people who contact us about representing them drift away because they are fortunate enough to have parents or others who can support them,” says Ms. Geller. “However, this lifeline often ends at some point, leaving the person applying for benefits out of options or in a much more difficult position to have the right evidence and explanation of their disabling conditions.”
Understandably, many potential claimants are proud of how they have worked hard and have been able to provide for their family. A disability that prevents them from being able to do this is a gut punch to their pride, so they may put off filing while they hope to get better and return to work. “We have a better strategy,” Attorney Tom Nash points out. “Apply as soon as you can. Most workers are eligible to file a disability application the day after they stop working or the day after their earnings drop below $1,220 per month. If your health improves, you can always return to work and drop your claim. The wait is bad even if you file quickly, but life can be much more difficult if you wait and your financial situation takes a turn for the worse. If you don’t get better, there’s no way to make up for the time you’ve missed.”
“If you called us or met with us at Nash Disability Law, but decided to wait, that’s okay. We won’t hold it against you. Call us now.” Ms. Geller suggests. “Or if you are wrestling with the idea of dropping your disability claim, you don’t have to make this decision alone. Let us be a sounding board. Let us offer our professional expertise. It won’t cost you a dime unless we win your case.”