If your health condition has deteriorated to the point that it’s impossible for you to work, you’re facing a halt in income—but no break from bills.
You know you need to act, but it can be difficult to know what to do first.
Of course, you should get all the medical treatment you need to take care of yourself.
Another thing you should consider right away: applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
These benefits could help you regain some much-needed financial stability. They exist because you paid Social Security taxes when you worked—so you would have a safety net if you have to stop working due to health problems before retirement age.
The problem is, applying for SSD is no simple task. There are forms to fill out, and you’ll need to gather the right evidence to support your application. It’s easy to make a mistake or miss small details. Government statistics showed that over several years, 79 percent of initial applications were denied.
Getting help from an experienced disability lawyer can be a game-changer. At Baynetta M. Jordan, P.C., Attorney at Law, we’ve helped thousands of Texans win disability benefits. You can start with a free consultation on your situation.
We’re proud to help people in Lubbock, Plainview, Levelland and across West Texas when you’re facing health problems and hard times.
At our disability law firm, Nobody Pushes West Texans Around™.
When a lot of people first realize they have to leave work because of medical conditions, they don’t consider themselves to be “disabled” in a permanent way.
They believe if they wait a little bit, they’ll recover enough to return to the job soon. And hopefully they will!
But you should still apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you know your health makes working impossible.
A major reason is that it takes a while, so it’s best to get the process started right away. If you feel better and can work again, you can always drop your application.
But if the months drag on, and you still can’t work, you’ll have the process underway to get MONTHLY DISABILITY CHECKS THAT COULD BE CRUCIAL FOR YOU.
When your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is approved, you have to wait five months from your first, official date of disability before you start receiving payments under Social Security rules.
Another reason to apply promptly is the matter of back pay, which comes in two forms:
Once you begin receiving benefits, it takes another 60 days for Social Security to send your lump sum payment for SSDI back pay.
So why should you apply now?
The earlier you apply for benefits, the longer your period of back pay and the larger the amount you can receive. Plus you could receive assistance sooner if you started sooner. When you face a prolonged period of missed work, this support could be life-changing.
Even if you’re waiting to see if your health improves enough for you to work, it’s a good idea at least to start an application for disability benefits.
Once you realize you can’t work, and you start down the path of filing for Social Security Disability, you’ll probably have a lot of questions, such as:
Am I actually eligible for benefits?
If you’ve worked and paid into the Social Security program long enough (for SSDI), and you can prove to Social Security that you have a disability as they define it, you’re eligible to receive monthly benefits checks. The rules are that you must be unable to do any substantial work because of your medical conditions, and your status must be expected to stay the same for at least one year.
Should I file for unemployment?
Being eligible for unemployment benefits is different from being eligible for SSD benefits. For unemployment, you must be capable of working, and you must be looking for a job. For SSDI, you must be unable to work. Receiving unemployment benefits will complicate your ability to get disability benefits.
Should I quit my job before my condition forces me to stop?
If you’re still employed but your doctor and your body are telling you it won’t be long before you’ll be unable to continue, check to see if you have long-term disability benefits through your employer, which you could go out on first. Quitting your job will mean you no longer have access to that benefit.
What’s the first thing I should do?
Although you don’t have to have a lawyer to apply for SSD benefits, it can help make the process easier for you. So once you realize you need disability benefits, reach out to an experienced disability lawyer. You pay no fee to the lawyer until you win benefits.
See: Do I Need a Lawyer?
A local, Lubbock disability attorney like Baynetta Jordan knows how to navigate the complex Social Security system.
It may be your first time dealing with this, but we’ve done it many times and can guide you.
If you can’t work because of bad health, let us help you take your next steps forward