When a worker is too sick or hurt to work at their job, the economic impact can be incredibly stressful. Unfortunately, almost all forms of help for the disabled can take a lot of time to process, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). For an idea of what is taking so long and when to expect your payments to begin, read on.
Application Processing Takes Time
With more and more workers being affected by the results of COVID-19, those needing help are expected to rise. SSDI is one of the main sources of monetary help for workers unable to do their jobs. Once your application is submitted, it can take several months before you hear from the Social Security Administration (SSA). As such, the only way to improve the time it takes is to file your application for benefits as soon as you possibly can.
Generally, the more medical condition information you include, the less will have to be requested by the SSA later. That said, be sure you don't leave any lines blank, answer all questions completely, and don't forget to sign the form. Remember that bad addresses, incorrect dates, and sloppy writing can only delay your benefits.
In addition, at least once every three or four weeks, phone the SSA and find out about the status of your application. If more information is needed, you can save time by providing that quickly without having to wait for them to send you a letter.
Understanding Back Pay
With the recognition that benefits approval is so slow, the SSA will pay approved applicants back pay. Back pay covers the time period between the day you first became disabled and the date your benefits begin. In most cases, back pay can cover six or more months. This money is awarded upon approval in a single lump-sum payment. Applicants are free to spend the back pay money as they wish.
Unfortunately, you will need to deduct at least five months of your back pay from what you expect to receive. The SSA has a mandatory five-month waiting period in which no benefits are accrued or paid. Here's an example: If you became disabled on January 1, 2021, but were not approved for benefits until November 1, 2021, you might be owed 10 months of disability payments. However, you would have to subtract five months (the waiting period) from that 10 to arrive at a back pay amount of five months.
You can get help with both your application and a denial of benefits. Speak to a Social Security attorney about your case and get help with your claim.