When you interact with the federal government, a waiting period is likely, such as the waiting period for Social Security Disability benefits approval.
If you have filed a claim and need financial assistance while you await a response from the Social Security Administration, what are your next steps?
Understanding the issues
The processing of your initial application for Social Security Disability benefits will take about three months. However, if the SSA denies your claim, which is not unusual, the appeals process will take many more months. In all, it is not uncommon for final approval to take up to a year and a half.
Looking for financial help
While the approval process is under way, you may need help to make ends meet. A good first step is to contact your local Department of Social Services. The personnel there can give you a list of government programs for which you may qualify as well as nonprofit and even private programs that are worth looking into. You could also consider obtaining assistance from local, state or federal programs, such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
Rejecting unemployment benefits
You may think because you are out of work, you may qualify for unemployment benefits. However, unemployment is for people who will return to work after a certain period while SSD benefits are for those who do not expect to work for at least a year, if not longer. In fact, receiving Unemployment could make you ineligible to receive disability benefits.
Considering other kinds of support
If you are a homeowner, you may think about refinancing or acquiring a home equity loan. You may be able to borrow against your 401(k) or life insurance policy. Finally, many people approach family members or close friends for financial assistance, knowing that once approved for SSD benefits, they can repay the kindness of those who helped during the long wait. You may feel somewhat timid about asking, but the willingness of friends and family to come to your aid may surprise you.