Nearly 9 million Americans who can’t work because of a medical condition receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to help replace lost income. However, making a claim isn’t easy, and its granting isn’t automatic. But Indiana residents shouldn’t be pessimistic. You have paid for this insurance through your payroll taxes, and you are entitled to it. You will have to make a case to receive it, however.
Here are the five things you should do as you prepare to file for SSDI.
Determine if you are eligible
Only people who meet certain conditions can qualify. You must have a medical diagnosis that is expected to last at least a year or result in your death. You must be younger than retirement age and you must have paid into the FICA system for a minimum of five of the past 10 years. Put together a list of your work history that shows when and how long you worked at each job.
File your application immediately
You have nothing to gain by waiting. In fact, you’ll only lose money. Your application, once filed, will take months to review, and only about one-third of the applications are approved the first time around. You likely will have to wait for your appeal to be heard – a long time, in fact. The average national wait is more than 18 months. If your condition is extremely severe, the agency has a Compassionate Allowances list of illnesses that qualify for putting the benefits on a fast track.
Change your spending habits
Since the wait for SSDI income can be so daunting, you’ll need to spend your money wisely so that you don’t go through your retirement funds or all your savings, or perhaps lose your home.
Keep your health insurance intact
You need to continue to seek care to be able to treat your condition as well as to document it, either in your initial application or the appeal. If you can’t afford insurance or medical care, inquire about low-cost or free health clinics in your area.
Get help filing for benefits
An attorney who works with disability applications is a good place to start. It’s a complex process, and you don’t want to do anything that will lead to a long determination time or a denial. Time truly is money. The longer it takes to get your case approved, the more money you are out.