Not everyone with a disability is unable to work. Employers make accommodations every day to allow those with disabling conditions the chance to earn a living in areas where they have training, education and experience. In fact, most people prefer to have gainful employment as long as they have the strength and capacity to get up every morning and go to work.
Unfortunately, some disabling conditions simply do not allow one to hold a job. It may be painful to sit, stand or walk for too long. Certain medications may create drowsiness or other complications. In fact, there are countless reasons why a medical condition may leave someone no choice but to quit working and seek disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. However, when it comes to applying for benefits, timing is everything.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of seeking disability insurance benefits is the wait. You may have held on to your job as long as possible before your medical condition made it too difficult to work. However, to qualify for SSA disability, your doctor must expect your condition to last at least one year. In some cases, that year must already pass before you can begin the process of seeking benefits.
If you expect to rely on disability benefits, you would be wise to start gathering the appropriate documentation as soon as you realize your condition will become disabling. Once you apply, you can expect the decision process to be excruciatingly long. Unless your condition is on the list for Compassionate Allowances, you may be waiting as long as five months for the SSA to make its decision about your eligibility.
An unexpected delay
The letter you receive with the administration’s decision may be a disappointment. More than half of first-time applicants receive denials. This means going through another process to appeal the decision. Often, the SSA needs more information, documentation or other evidence of your disabling condition. Within a few weeks of receiving your petition for appeal, the SSA will send you a hearing date. Unfortunately, the backlogged system means you may not get a hearing for more than a year.
When the SSA approves your application for disability benefits, you should begin to receive your benefit within five or six months. As you can see, you want to avoid any mistakes that may bring unnecessary delays to an already prolonged process. Working with a skilled North Carolina attorney is a good way to improve your chances of meeting your goals.