In general, you should apply for Social Security Benefits as soon as possible. First, you want to get the process started as soon as possible. The initial decision can take anywhere from 3-6 months. If you are denied and must appeal, it can take another 3-6 months for the reconsideration. If you are again denied, it can take 12-24 months to get a hearing, depending on where you live. This means that the entire process can take up to 3 years! The sooner you apply, the sooner you can get the process started and the faster you can get your benefits.
By applying sooner rather than later, you can also maximize the amount of your benefit. Under the Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") program, your benefits are only payable from the first full month after the date you apply. For example, if you apply on September 30, 2008, your benefits would start as of October 2008, but if you wait until October 2, 2008, your benefits would not start for another month (November 2008). Just a few days of waiting can mean losing a month's worth of benefits.
Under the Social Security Disability program, your benefits are only payable for up to a year before you apply, depending on the date of the onset of your disability. Again, the longer you wait, the less money you are eligible to receive.
REMEMBER: Waiting to apply can cost you money! After getting your paperwork together and making sure your doctor is on board, you should submit your application to Social Security and get the process started.
Copyright (c) 2008 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. Any content borrowed or referenced from another source is referenced by citation to the original source as noted in the text above.