Common Mistakes - Not Taking Advantage of Other Benefits

Many people who are filing for Social Security disability benefits find themselves in the tough position of being unable to continue working and earning and income with their labor, but unable to speed up the process for collecting income from disability benefits. Needless to say, this can lead to several stressful (and impoverished) months of frustration.

Social Security disability claimants often make mistakes which cost them time and money (and in some cases, their benefits). One of the most common mistakes is not taking advantage of other benefits while applying for SSDI or SSI. Part of the reason for this is that many believe that they will automatically be turned down for disability benefits if they are collecting other benefits. This simply isn’t true.

Just because you are applying for disability benefits does not make you disqualified for any other government or employee benefits which may be available to you. In fact, one of the reasons why the SSA was designed with the idea that it could take several months to review the facts in any given claim is that the government expects that most claimants will have other resources they can use for survival in the short term while they are waiting for disability benefits to be approved.

Depending on your circumstances, there are several government, employer-based, and charitable benefits which may be available to help you make ends meet until your Social Security disability benefits are approved. These include:

  • Worker’s Compensation. If you were hurt at work, you are entitled to collect a portion of your former wages. If you are having difficulty collecting these benefits, your Social Security disability lawyer can either help you with those claims or recommend someone who can.
  • Disability Income Insurance. Many employers offer supplemental disability income insurance which is designed to pay you a portion of your wages should you become disabled and unable to work. Additionally, these policies are available privately. There is nothing wrong with collecting these private disability benefits while you are applying for (or even after you are receiving) Social Security Disability benefits.
  • Welfare. The exact requirements for welfare programs vary from state to state, but every state has some form of welfare available to those who are in dire financial need. Check with your state’s welfare agency (often the Department of Health and Human Services).
  • Charitable Programs. Organizations such as the Salvation Army and other charitable organizations often provide benefits of sorts for those who are unable to pay their bills due to extenuating hardships. In most cases, your state’s department of health and human services will have information regarding charitable organizations in your area which may be able to help you while you wait for your benefits to be approved.
  • Unemployment benefits. Depending on what state you live in, you might be able to collect unemployment benefits while you are applying for Social Security disability benefits. Be careful, though. Some states require you to be “ready, willing, and able” to accept full time employment before they will approve unemployment benefits and claiming that you are able to work could negatively affect your disability claim. Check with a Social Security disability lawyer in your area to see whether claiming unemployment benefits and disability benefits at the same time is a viable option in your state.

It’s always a good idea to consult a Social Security disability lawyer regarding which benefits can affect your SSDI or SSI claim. In addition to helping ensure that the benefits you are seeking won’t hurt your chances of being approved for Social Security disability benefits, having competent counsel throughout the application and (if needed ) appeals process is the best way to ensure that your benefits are approved as quickly as possible.