It can take as many as six months or longer for the Social Security Administration to approve (or deny) an application for disability. That is a long period of time for a low to moderate income family to wait. There are programs that can provide emergency financial help during this time-frame, and the aid will assist applicants as they are waiting on the status of their disability.
Even after the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews the application, about 35% of them are rejected. Or the application may be returned to the submitter with a request for more information. This will of course further slow down the process, which can add to the hardship that the family is facing.
The financial assistance available for those waiting on the review by the government is really made up of the same programs that any low income family can apply to. This means that a person with a handicap or disability will need to reach out to local charities, churches, or social service offices. There are no special benefits provided to them.
This process in seeking support is the same as any other struggling households. In other words, there are no specific emergency financial assistance programs that were only created for people that are waiting on their disability payments to commence.
While there are never any guarantees as to whether the Social Security Administration will approve an application or not, for those people that feel extremely confident of approval then they will technically only need short term help while they are waiting for that confirmation. Maybe the applicant has a very serious illness, was badly injured at work or in an accident, or has some other medical issue that they feel confident will be approved on the first attempt. Some of the options available for short term relief, while waiting on the first disability payment from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), are below.
Food banks often deal with emergency situations. Most of them will help a client for several weeks or months, so they can help fill the gap for someone confident that there disability application will be approved. While waiting for notification, pantries may have free food, serve meals (including home delivery) and offer nutritional support. Find a listing of emergency food pantries.
While waiting on a disability payment to start up, a local church can also be a resource. They only offer short term relief as a church will have very limited resources available to it. It is very rare (if ever) for a parish to offer long term support, so they are good for emergencies only.
A faith based group will help anyone with a medical issue regardless of religion. They will not discriminate based on religion, disability, or age. The financial assistance from a church can include some of what is listed, but there are never any guarantees or promises made.
Some agencies may offer transitional housing or short term help for paying rent. However there is no ways this form of assistance will last for several months while the individual is waiting on their disability application. It is more likely for a charity or government agency to provide a small amount of money, such as a grant, for solving the housing needs. This is the case as the funding available is always limited, and these rental assistance programs also have a very high demand.
In all of the scenarios above, since the applicant will only need short term help, some of the administering agencies may issue a loan as part of their financial assistance. This means that once the disability application has been approved the individual will need to pay back the funds. The advantages of applying for a loan while waiting on disability is the applications can often be approved in days (if not minutes). This can offer the person immediate financial relief so they have quick access to money for paying their bills. Find sources of loans for people on disability.
While in general, using a loan comes with higher risks, this form of emergency financial assistance can have that risk associated with it reduced. This may often be possible as the Social Security Administration will back pay SSI or SSDI disability payments to the original application date. So the client will technically get paid disability while they are waiting on the federal government to approve it. If this were to occur, and the individual was given a loan while they were waiting, they should take those payments and be sure to pay off the balance due.
If the medical need is immediate, then people applying for disability can be given free health care equipment for their condition. The assistive technology program is an option even as the Social Security Administration is reviewing the case file. The non-profits that offer the equipment know that someone that is sick or injured is often in a crisis situation, so they will give assistive equipment as soon as possible, even while they are waiting.
Sine the average wait time may be as long as 6 months, with a large number of applicants rejected the first or even second time, it is never a bad idea to plan for the long term. There may be continuous back and forth between the local SSA office and the applicant or their doctor. Or if they have a disability advocate, they will also be involved in the approval process or provide some insight as to how long it may take for that specific applicant. Do to all of these factors, there are many people who wait one or even two years for final approval. Of course there is not even a guarantee the person will even be approved for disability too.
Since the waiting period can be very long, this may provide the family time to apply to other state or government benefits. As there are many that are available to low income individuals as they wait on disability. They range from Medicare to food stamps, section 8 housing, and more. Each of these financial aid programs may also take many months to be enrolled into, this is why someone who is involved waiting on long term approval or denial of disability may explore them.
There are several food assistance programs that take time to apply too. Anyone with a disability, or waiting on approval for an application, can apply for them. They may take a few to several times to enroll into, but options include SNAP food stamps, WIC - Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and others. Read more food assistance programs.
The disabled can often benefit from section 8 housing vouchers. This HUD program also takes months (or even years) to apply to and to be approved. So anyone waiting on their SSI disability to commence may want to consider this program too. It will help the client with paying their rent or energy bills, offer self-sufficiency services, and other aid. Learn more on how to apply for section 8 housing and how it operates.
Many other states and non-profits may offer financial support as well as grants while the disability application is being reviewed. The applicant will need to either be facing a crisis or have a very low income. In almost all instances the administering agency will need to see proof of income, the medical conditions, copies of the information sent to SSA, and more. They may offer financial help for paying bills while the person is waiting.