When Should I Apply For Disability Benefits?

I receive this question often and unfortunately the answer is, it depends.  If you have just stopped working, it may be to your benefit to wait some time before submitting your application for disability benefits.  To be approved for benefits, you must be out of work, or expected to be out of work, for at least 12 months.  If you file your application soon after you stop working, the disability examiner must not only determine if you are disabled, but also determine whether you will be out of work for at least 12 months.  Some examiners may be reluctant to approve benefits for younger individuals or borderline cases until they are certain you have met the durational requirement.  If you have been out of work for at least 6 months when the examiner is processing your case, they will be in a better position to determine if you will be out of work for the required 12 month period.

If you have an obvious long-term disability, it may benefit you to file your application as soon as possible.  As everyone’s medical situation is different, when to file your application should be made on a case by case basis.