Important: We updated the article below in July 2023 to make sure everything is correct and current. Many people may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) two federal programs. Regardless, some wait months or years to apply for Social Security disability benefits. However, waiting until the last minute to apply for Social Security disability benefits can be a major mistake. There are many moving parts when it comes to qualifying for SSD benefits. As a result, the sooner you start the claim paperwork, the better. Here’s why:
6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
1. You Need to Gather All Necessary Information Before You Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits.
The benefits application process is complex and requires many different documents. From personal info to medical evidence and work history, there are dozens of items you’ll need to include with your application. This gathering process takes time, especially if you must wait for physical copies from your doctor or past employers. If you apply for Social Security disability benefits without the right evidence to support your claim, the SSA may simply reject it.
2. You May Need Expert Help to Secure Your Benefits.
An experienced Social Security attorney can nearly triple your chances for getting monthly payments. Without experienced help, you might make a basic paperwork error and have to file an appeal. Having an attorney on your side from day one statistically gives you the highest chance of approval. Attorneys require time, however. Click the button below to schedule your free consultation before you apply for Social Security disability benefits.
3. You Must Fill Out Your Paperwork Correctly.
If your application has any mistakes, then the SSA may reject your claim on a technicality. Beginning the application process now ensures you aren’t rushing to complete your paperwork if medical or financial issues arise. If you’re unsure whether you may qualify, click the button below to start your free online benefits quiz now.
4. The Application Review Process Can Take Months (or Years).
Once you apply for Social Security disability benefits, it can be a long time before you hear an answer. In certain places, you might wait several months to a year or longer. For this reason, it’s essential to submit the correct paperwork as soon as possible. In most cases, expect to wait 3-5 months to receive your decision letter from the SSA. The agency will mail it to you explaining their decision to award or deny you benefits.
5. You May Need to Appeal.
The SSA denies most first-time applicants (65%) who file without a disability lawyer. While the SSA is working to improve this process, they may still deny you SSD benefits. In this case, you must appeal, which may further delay the process and create additional challenges. We can provide more info on how to appeal a denied SSD claim. However, 80% of people who get benefits on appeal have attorneys.
6. Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits Before Your Health Gets Worse.
You may be disabled now, but your condition could worsen and require even more medical care. If and when this happens, it could dramatically increase your expenses. Having SSD benefits can help you get the care you need without going broke. Having a disability is often expensive and can drain your finances without SSD payments. is why you need to apply for benefits as soon as you know you must stop working.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.