When to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits: Timing is Crucial

When you are no longer able to work because of a disabling medical condition, it is important to apply for Social Security disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits as soon as possible. Timing is crucial when applying for SSDI or SSI. If you file too early or too late, you could miss out on critical benefits. Let’s review the different factors that go into deciding when to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

When to File Your Application

The best time to file your Social Security disability application is as soon as your disabling injury or illness occurs and is believed that it will be disabling for at least 12 months or longer.  There are a few reasons for this. First, it can take several months to be approved for Social Security disability benefits, so the sooner you apply, the sooner you will start receiving benefits if approved.  However, if it is believed that you will recover or be cured from your condition in less than 12 months, then you will want to wait to apply until after it becomes clear that it will last longer than 12 months.  This does not mean you have to wait 12 months to apply.  It just needs to be clear that a return to work or recovery will not happen before 12 months. The reason for this is because the Social Security Administration does not grant disability for periods less than 12 months.

Deciding Whether You Are Disabled

The Social Security Administration defines disability as being unable to “engage in any substantial gainful activity.” This is a technical way of saying that you are unable to work.

To be considered disabled by the Social Security Administration, your disabling condition must:

– Be expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

– Prevent you from doing the work you did before.

– Prevent you from adjusting to other types of work because of your medical condition.

Other Factors Beyond Medical Condition

Your age, education, past work experience, and transferable skills will also be considered when the Social Security Administration makes a decision about your disability claim.

Filing Now to Protect Back Pay

If you are approved for Supplemental Security Income benefits, you will receive retroactive pay dating back to the month following the date you applied for benefits.

For example, if you apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits and are approved six months later, you will receive a lump-sum payment that covers the five-month period between when you applied and when your claim was approved. That’s why it’s important to apply as soon as possible to avoid missing out on any back pay.

If you are approved for Social Security Disability benefits, you will receive retroactive pay dating back five full months after the Social Security Administration found that you met disability guidelines or 12 months prior to date of application, whichever is later.

The Right Time to Apply is Now

As you can see, timing is crucial when applying for Social Security disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits. If you are unable to work because of a disabling medical condition, don’t wait to apply. The sooner you do, the better.

Get Help with a Social Security Disability Application from Merryl Jones, Second Chance Lawyer

If you need help applying for Social Security disability benefits or have questions about your claim, Merryl Jones, Second Chance Lawyer, can help. We can help you apply for disability in Waco and the surrounding areas to get the Social Security disability benefits you need and deserve.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation


    The Social Security Administration’s own statistics show that claimants who use a lawyer are far more successful in winning their claim than those who don’t.


    “Thank you so much for having the faith to accept this case and getting it approved. We are very thankful.”

    The Smith Family