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Can anyone help me financially while I wait for a ruling on my disability claim?

Waiting for your Social Security Disability benefits to be approved can be tough on your bank account. Few Americans have the resources needed to survive for the average time it takes to receive approval for a Social Security Disability claim.

The average Social Security Disability claim takes almost a year and a half before it is approved. The initial Social Security Disability application stage generally takes about three months and the appeals process can drag on for months beyond that.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being caught up in the Social Security Disability appeals process, you can receive outside financial help while you are waiting for your disability claim to be approved. Social Security Disability Insurance claims generally won’t take outside financial help into account when determining whether you are disabled and how much compensation you are entitled to.

Many individuals who file for Social Security Disability benefits find that they need the help of family, friends, or charitable organizations while they are waiting for their claim to be approved. Should your claim be approved, you will, of course, receive back pay and should have little trouble paying back those who have helped you.

If you are in need of financial assistance, one of the first places you should go is your county Department of Social Services. While the kinds and amounts of assistance available vary from one locale to the next, the Department of Social Services is often the best place to look. They have information on government programs for which you may qualify and the often have information regarding private or not for profit programs you can seek help from while you are waiting for your Social Security Disability benefits.

Other places you might consider contacting for financial help while you are waiting for your Social Security Disability to be approved include:

  • Family. In many cases, family should be the first place you look for financial assistance. While no one wants to be a burden to his/her family, it can be somewhat humbling to ask for help and your family is often your best bet for financial assistance while you are seeking Social Security Disability benefits.
  • Friends. Sometimes a nearby friend is better than a far away relative. You may be surprised how many friends are willing to help, especially if they are aware of the circumstances surrounding your pending disability claim.
  • Church or other Religious Organization. If you have a regular place of worship, make them aware of your need. If you don’t worship anywhere, you may consider contacting religious organizations, as many of them are actively involved in charitable outreach to their communities. The Salvation Army, in particular, is a good place to turn for help with food, basic necessities, and utility bills.

It is worth noting that you should be careful about what kinds of financial help you receive if you are trying to qualify for SSI on the basis of a disability. SSI is based on need rather than on your disability, and financial assistance will be considered when evaluating your case. If you are unsure if a particular type of financial assistance will put your claim in danger, you should seek the advice of a disability attorney or other professional who specializes in Social Security Disability and SSI claims.