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Published: Monday, 21 September 2015 13:13
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deadlinesWhat Happens if I Miss an SSA Disability Deadline?

The application and appeals processes for obtaining Social Security disability benefits are tied to deadlines. If those deadlines are missed you may not be approved. I’ve laid out some of the most important deadlines in this article that you need to be aware of.

 

How much work

The first deadline is not really a deadline at all, but more of a mile marker. Before you are eligible to receive disability benefits you must first have earned a prerequisite amount of money over a set time period to qualify. The money amount changes every year and the set period of time changes with age.

For instance, if you become disabled at age 24 you will have had to earn (and paid Social Security taxes on) $1,220 at least 6 times in the preceding three years. At age 31 you will have had to earn $1,220 at least 20 times in the preceding 10 years. At age 62 you will have had to earn $1,220 at least 40 times in your lifetime and at least 20 times in the preceding 10 years.

What Happens if I Miss This Milestone?

If you do not earn enough credits then you automatically do not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. But all is not lost! You may still qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is in place for people who do not qualify for SSDI, however the monthly payout is generally a few hundred dollars less at $733 per month (2015 amount) for an individual.

Applying for Benefits

The first real deadline is the amount of time after you have become disabled to the time you first apply for benefits. There are three considerations here. First, if you delay application the credits mentioned above may run out. As a real life example, a client became progressively sick over a period of several years and slowly worked less hours. In the last three years of working they did not earn their maximum credits and then waited another year before applying for benefits when no credits were earned. Because the client had earned additional credits five years prior they qualified, but just barely. One more year and this client would have ended up relying on SSI benefits, costing her about $4,000 a year in additional income.

The second consideration here is the need for benefits. If you have gone a long period of time without applying for benefits then the adjudicators may feel that you do not actually need SSDI. Therefore, timeliness is of the essence.

Thirdly, the SSA will (generally) only pay benefits for 17 months preceding the application date. So, let’s say you wait 24 months after you become disabled to put in your application. Because the SSA will only go back 17 months, you, in effect, just lost 7 months of pay. Even if you are receiving worker’s compensation or living off of savings, you should apply immediately.

What Happens if I Miss the Application Deadline?

In a worst case scenario, not applying for benefits in a timely manner after your disability might mean you lose rights to all benefits. The upside is that you might qualify for SSI or would simply lose some of your back pay.

Appeals Deadlines

Most likely your first application will be denied. About 65% of them are denied. However, the SSA provides a deadline of 60 days for you to appeal the denial. If the application is denied a second time (and almost all of them are) then you have another 60 days to file an appeal. You can now go online to the SSA website and file either appeal online. Procrastination is not a good thing as you will also want to submit further documentation of your disability with your appeal.

What Happens if I Miss the Appeals Deadlines?

Missing an appeals deadline may mean that you have to start all over again and submit an initial application just like you did months and months ago. If this was your first appeal this mistake could cost you as much as 8 months. If it is your second appeal it will probably extend your benefits wait time an additional year.

Just Don’t Do It!

Missing a deadline can mean the difference between obtaining benefits or losing them completely. If you missed a deadline and have a really good reason (think in the hospital on your death bed) the SSA MAY decide not to cancel your application, but most likely it will be put at the bottom of the pile to be reviewed when it finally reaches the top. It is better to not put your benefits in jeopardy. Simply don’t procrastinate in the first place.

 

 

 

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About the Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers

Recognized as one of the nation’s premier law firms, The Cochran Firm handles cases on behalf of clients seeking a Personal Injury Lawyer, Criminal Defense, Medical Malpractice, Bankruptcy Attorney in Atlanta or Social Security Disability Lawyer.The Firm can be reached at 1-800-THE-FIRM (1-800-843-3476) or fill out the form on this page. “Working for You.”