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Timing: When to apply for your disability benefits.

Seal of the United States Social Security Admi...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I cannot stress how important it is to file your application for Social Security benefits in a timely fashion.  I am on my 2nd client in the past 10 days who are losing years worth of benefits because they waited too long to file.  Medical records become harder to get, evidence of disability prior to your date last insured becomes harder to produce and worst of all each month you wait is like giving money to the government.

Remember, you can only get SSI benefits starting from the date you applied.  Social Security could find you disabled back for several years, but can only pay SSI benefits back to your date of application (or protective filing date if you have one).

Social Security can only pay retroactive Disability Insured Benefits up to 12 months from the date you applied (or protective filing date if you have one).  So what does this mean?  This means if SSA finds you disabled as of March 1, 2009, but you did not apply until December 2010, you have lost at least 4 months of benefit payments (the months after your 5 month wait period).  In this scenario, every month you wait after October 2010 to apply costs you a month of benefits.  With an average family benefit of almost $1,500.00/month, you can quickly add up to losing thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars.

Not only could you be losing monthly benefits, but also medicare coverage.

Claimants have a variety of reasons for waiting to apply.  Some believe they will get better and be able to work.  Before they know it years have passed.  Others are just too sick and put off the application.  In both cases, it is important to speak with an attorney and timely file your application.  Don’t lose the money your entitled to!