Let us say you have an injury you believe makes you eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
You have filed for SSDI, but it may be as long as a year and a half before you are approved and begin to receive payments. How are you going to make ends meet in the meantime?
You can still work, even though you have applied for SSDI. However, guidelines exist for the type of work or volume of work that would make you ineligible to receive benefits. For example, you cannot earn more than the maximum allowed for “substantial gainful activity,” known as SGA. For 2019, the SGA maximum is $1,200 per month.
Apply for additional support
Various federal, state and local support programs exist, such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). A good place to begin your search is the Department of Social Services. A social worker there can help you find suitable programs and complete applications.
You may be hesitant to approach friends or family, but most will likely want to help, especially if they know you are applying for SSDI. Another possibility is to borrow against your 401(k) or life insurance. Also, if you are a homeowner, you may be able to refinance or obtain a home equity loan.
The wait to receive SSDI benefits takes months. The Social Security Administration may even deny your initial claim, which is not unusual, and additional time will go into the appeal process. In the meantime, you and your family must be able to put food on the table and pay bills. Do not hesitate to reach out for legal guidance, both in your dealings with the SSA and to ensure you stay within the administration's parameters for the approval of SSDI benefits. The bottom line is that to make ends meet while you wait, you need to become proactive and explore all your options.