Our most recent blog series—Disability Dialogue—has helped us take a closer look at the Social Security Disability application process. Each post focuses on one applicant’s journey and experiences. It is our hope that readers will be able to learn from the hardships and successes of the individuals that we have interviewed and that they will be able to use the information to improve their own application experiences.
In an effort to show you a range of realistic experiences, this post will focus on someone who had a relatively easy time applying for and receiving disability benefits. This benefit recipient was approved within 90 days of submitting her application and has been receiving benefits since 2008. Here’s what she had to say:
Remember, the responses to these questions are the personal opinions of the person being interviewed. We will do our best to correct any inaccuracies in the section titled, “Our Feedback”.
What was your overall experience like applying for disability benefits?
It was way more painless than I expected.
What were the biggest challenges you faced throughout the process?
I had a hard time paying my bills until the 1st check came in because, naturally, my husband was unemployed at the same time.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking about filing for disability?
Don't wait for some special date to file for disability. You should file right away—but don't bother if you don't have a solid track record of doctor visits and compliance with treatment plans. Fill the application out completely, don't skip anything.
Don't listen to your mom/sister/neighbor about disability benefits. Educate yourself about the difference between SSI and SSDI. I've talked to many people who got denied, turns out it was for financial not medical reasons! All they see is denied. Everybody's experience will be different. Maybe Uncle Harry gets SSI for a bad back, not SSDI, so people compare apples to oranges. It's amazing how many don't know which they get themselves!