A year or more can pass between the first day of your disability and the day you receive your first check from Social Security. It can be very difficult for people to pay bills and make ends meet during this waiting period, but there may be options available to you speed up the process, and you may qualify for various forms of financial assistance. Our Indiana SSDI attorneys can help you understand your options and navigate the SSDI process so you don’t go broke waiting for assistance.
Take Steps to Make the Wait as Short as Possible
Unfortunately, financial need in and of itself will not speed up the application process. Everyone applying for disability needs financial help—that’s why they are applying for benefits. However, there are some things you can do to make sure the process is as short as possible. The key to getting your benefits faster is avoiding rejection of your initial application. As many as 70 percent of first-time Social Security disability applications are denied, often because they are incomplete or inaccurate. You can strengthen your initial application by doing the following:
- Make sure your application is complete. Successful applications provide adequate evidence that you are unable to work and that you have received medical treatment for your disabling condition. Listing all sources of medical treatment, including every doctor, practitioner, hospital, and clinic you have visited, with dates and addresses, is the best way to convince the examiner that your application is legitimate.
- Provide medical records with your application. Hospitals and doctors’ offices can be notoriously slow in responding to medical records requests from the SSA. Although the SSA will need these official records at some point, you may be able to speed up the process by supplying your own copies of records along with your application. Individuals can often get copies of medical reports faster than the SSA can.
- Stay on top of your case. You are entitled to know what’s going on with your case after you apply, but it will be up to you to find out. Calling the disability examiner who is reviewing your case periodically will not only allow you to verify that he has all the information he needs to process your application, but it may also push him to work a little faster to get you off his back.
Even when you take these steps, you will be going for several months without a paycheck. If this is a financial struggle for you, you may be able to get help.
If You Are in Dire Need, a Letter to the SSA May Help
If you are in danger of losing your house or being evicted from your apartment, cannot pay for necessary medical treatment or medications, or are unable to buy groceries and keep the heat and electricity on in your home, a letter explaining your situation may help. Known as a dire need letter, this correspondence can make a difference if you are truly struggling to get by. Unfortunately, the SSA is flooded with these letters, many from people who are not in dire need and do not always give them adequate consideration. However, if you have evidence of your financial need, a well-written dire need letter may expedite your claim.
Resources Available While You Wait for Benefits
As with anyone who is struggling to survive, there may be public benefits available to help you get by. Starting with the Indiana Division of Family Resources, you can gather information about the resources that may be available to help you and your family. You may be able to qualify for federal programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Medicaid through Indiana Health Coverage Programs.
A Social Security Disability Attorney Can Help With Each of These Steps
You don’t have to go through any of this alone. The Social Security Disability attorneys in our Indianapolis office can help you from day one, and you won’t pay a fee until your benefits come through. Our team will help with your initial application to decrease the odds of being denied, help with an appeal if you have already been denied, write a dire need letter for you if appropriate, and help you identify and qualify for state and federal assistance programs. As soon as you are considering applying for disability benefits in Indiana, contact Keller & Keller.