What to Do While Waiting for Your Social Security Disability Benefits

November 16, 2015

After you have submitted your application for Social Security Disability benefits you will be subjected to a waiting game until you receive a decision on whether or not you have been approved. If you are sick enough that you are unable to work at all, you may find yourself in a difficult situation financially while you wait to find out if you will be receiving benefits. The purpose of this article is to outline the facts surrounding applying for SSD, and what you can do to fend of total financial ruin before you receive a decision.

How long might it take before I receive a decision?

In Pennsylvania, after you have submitted your application to your local SSA office and it has been reviewed to make sure that it satisfies the basic eligibility requirements, it will be forwarded on to the Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD), which is under the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. They will review your application and determine your medical eligibility, they may contact your doctors and they may request additional medical examinations. In Pennsylvania the average approval rating is on par with the national average of 32 percent, and you could wait anywhere from three or four months to two years.

Given the fact that only 32 percent of applications are approved in the first round, you will most likely have to file an appeal which will further drag out the time line for your decision. You will have to come up with a plan for how you will survive financially until your disability benefits are approved.

Working part-time while you wait for benefits

When you are in the process of getting approved for disability benefits, you must tread carefully when it comes to part time employment. You are permitted to work while your application is being processed, however, your earnings may not exceed the “substantial gainful activity” limit of $1,090 per month in 2015. Whether you are working full time or part time, your monthly income may not exceed $1,090. The treading carefully part comes in when a claims examiner or administrative law judge notes that you are able to put in enough effort to earn $1,090 per month, then maybe you really are not completely disabled. If you can survive without working part time, then it is better if you don’t work.

Public assistance programs

Another option is to consider applying for temporary public assistance while you wait for your SSD benefits. There is the option of applying for Food Stamps to help until your receive a decision about your disability benefits.

Tips for speeding up your Social Security Disability claim

If you have applied for Social Security Disability benefits, your application has been denied and you have requested a hearing you may have several months to wait until your hearing date. If you have a Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyer, you can request an “On the Record,” review in lieu of waiting for an appeal hearing. If your attorney thinks that your case is compelling and that it contains enough evidence to prove your disability, then your case might be a good candidate for an OTR decision, which will allow you to bypass the hearing altogether.

After you have appealed a denial of your case and requested a hearing the ODAR (Office of Disability Adjudication and Review), they will review your request. They will either grant your request, deny your request or ask your attorney for additional information. If your request is approved, the Administrative law judge will issue a written decision approving your application. If your request is denied, then you will continue to wait for your hearing.

Having a plan at the outset when you apply for SSD benefits will be helpful in getting you through the often challenging and drawn-out process of waiting for a decision on your SSD benefits.

To find out more about your eligibility for Social Security Disability, please contact Larry Pitt & Associates. A Philadelphia disability lawyer will be happy to meet with you in one of our offices proudly serving Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.