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Why You Shouldn’t Wait to File for Disability

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to File for Disability

I didn’t file for disability after receiving my diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. I had left the workforce 4 years prior to be a stay at home mom and we were living well on my husband’s income. Plus my doctors led me to believe that my condition would improve and that I would be able to return to the workforce if needed. A few years later my doctors changed their tune and stated that I was as good as I will ever be, and I decided it was time to apply for disability. I had paid into the system for 12 years and while the amount I would receive wasn’t going to be a lot, it was better than nothing. Unfortunately, I waited too long.

Qualifications for receiving disability

According to the Social Security Administration, to qualify for disability one must have worked for five of the past ten years if they are over the age of 31. There are different qualifications for those 31 and younger, and they should contact Social Security or a lawyer as soon as they become disabled. At the time of my diagnosis, I had been out of the workforce for 4 years. Had I looked into applying for disability at that time, I would have known that I only had one year left to apply. By the time my doctors declared me disabled I had been out of the workforce for 7 years. Talk about being a day late and a dollar short!!

You should apply as soon as possible if your condition has forced you to stop working, and you foresee that it will keep you out of work for at least a year. The process is long and you will most likely need to hire a lawyer. Remember that the longer you wait, the more you risk losing out on income that could offset the expense of living with a chronic illness.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

http://www.social-security-disability-claims.org/social-security-disability-explained.html

Comments

  • Texas-T
    1 year ago

    I also waited until 4 years after I quit work to file for disability, not knowing there would be a reduction but as someone else said, something is better than nothing. Plus I have Medicare now as my secondary insurance so I pay very little out of pocket for medical expenses. As I’ve told many people, who have not followed my advice, I got approved in 6 weeks on my own without a lawyer. I keep my medical receipts for income tax purposes so I made a copy of the original diagnosis and copies of the times I had flare ups before and after my diagnosis. I made copies of my RX’s I had taken over the years and I wrote in detail the effects psa has had on my life. I didn’t just answer the questions on the form with a short sentence, I expounded on the answer. I DO NOT recommend filing over the phone. It took me about a week to fill out the form and make copies of everything but it was worth the time. Then I hand-delivered all my info, forms and copies to the Social Security office. I got a year’s back benefits and then started receiving monthly checks 6 weeks later. I hope this helps someone.

  • BEE
    2 years ago

    I am single and divorced. I am 51, but only worked part time for about 5 years consecutively. I have to work as I have no other support. Would I qualify for disability? How do I get started? My illness has progressed to where I am in constant pain and completely exhausted from my job. I always fall asleep when I get home and don’t have the energy to get anything accomplished.

  • Eileen B moderator
    2 years ago

    I’m sorry to hear you’re in constant pain and coping with awful fatigue too, @BEE. I’m not certain, but I’ve never heard consecutive years is a factor — qualifying is based on a “work credits” system. Don’t panic, it’s easier than it sounds. The Benefits Planner at the Social Security Administration explains it very clearly. They also have a Disability Starter Kit, and The National Psoriasis Foundation has a helpful collection of links to help people get organized and if needed, find a qualified lawyer at SSDI resources. Good luck, and please don’t forget we’re here for support, information, and community whenever you need us! Hugs. -Eileen, Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Team

  • imschmarte
    2 years ago

    So true Cynthia! While I did get my disability, I got way less than I would have had I filed right away. I worked part time for 3-4 years before filing. Cut my check way back. But at least I am getting some! The sad part of the whole system is, if you are working, they figure you are able to work, so you don’t need it. But if you aren’t working, how do you pay the bills. It is a tough decision to make!

  • Eileen B moderator
    2 years ago

    You’re so right, @imschmarte it’s a Catch 22! I think most people try very hard to keep working (for many reasons) without even considering SSDI. I’m glad you qualified for some benefits to help pay the bills. Did you need a lawyer to get through the application process? (That’s another Catch 22; how can you afford a lawyer if you can’t work?) -Eileen, Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Team

  • imschmarte
    2 years ago

    Hi Eileen! Yes, I did hire a lawyer who’s specialty was disability. I did not have to pay a dime,unless he got my disability. Then when I was approved, he got 15% of my retroactive pay. A lot of money, but if you read the SSD’s page, they do take you more serious if you have a lawyer. It took 2 years to get also. The only reason I went for it was I got injured and tore my rotator cuff. It was going to take at least 6 months to get through the surgery and the recouperation period. So my husband and I talked, and decided,lets go for it. It just worked out for me. I was petrified to quit my job, I worked for a bank, and made decent money,but I couldn’t work anyway, so just did it. We had to cut back expenses, but we made it, and the reward was well worth it. I could never work now!

  • bobjohnsoninyuma
    2 years ago

    I felt my Drs had no incentive to say I should file. My insurance paid well and a lot more than Medicare. Would..

  • Casey moderator
    2 years ago

    Interesting bobjohnsoninyuma! Were you able to receive a lot of support from your insurance provider? Thank you for sharing! -Casey, Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Team

  • betty
    3 years ago

    That is so wrong! How does one know that they are going to get an autoimmune disease. Just because you haven’t worked for a few years should not matter. I also quit work before I was diagnosed and recently was told by my doctor to file for disability so now I won’t be able to get it because I haven’t worked for a while…ridiculous

  • VickiN moderator
    3 years ago

    Betty, your frustration is completely justified! It does also feel like stay-at-home parents and other groups are unfairly targeted by this policy. I wonder how it affects entrepreneurs and part-time/seasonal workers too. Thanks for sharing with us, we’re here if you need to chat or share frustrations.
    -Victoria (Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team)

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