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Will accepting financial assistance from friends or family affect my eligibility for Social Security Disability?

No. When applying for Social Security Disability, accepting financial help from friends, family or any other person will have no negative impact on the status of your claim or your eligibility for benefits. Receiving gifts such as money, food, clothes, or even a place to live is completely permissible.

The only thing that will interfere with your claim is if you are working. Social Security Disability is designed for those who have been (or will be) for more than a year due to an illness or injury. Because of this fundamental point, it is extremely likely that your disability claim will be denied if you are able to achieve any type of gainful employment and appeals do not favor those who are able to work in any capacity.

There is no rule that says you cannot get help from others while you are waiting for a determination on your disability claim. Because the process takes a long time (six months on average), many worry about how they are going to support themselves during this period.

While the process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be long a frustrating, even the Social Security Administration understands that people need to get by while the process unfolds. Having friends or family members nearby can be a blessing for those who are suffering through the process of gathering information and waiting.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that there is a stark difference between getting support from family and friends and having a steady stream of income. Just as those who achieve a steady income from working are likely to be denied benefits by the SSA, those who receive regular payments from investments, annuities, trust funds or other sources of income from family investments or businesses may run into trouble with their disability claim.

Social Security Disability is designed to provide a minimal amount of financial assistance during the time someone becomes disabled until their condition improves, they can go back to work, or they reach retirement age. If the SSA determines that you have access to a steady income outside of working, it can impact how they decide your particular claim.