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Can I Get Financial Aid While Waiting for Benefits?

Our social security lawyers answers the question: Can I get financial aid while waiting for benefits?

The Social Security Disability benefits process is often a long and arduous one. Many people applying for SSD benefits spend several months navigating the initial application process and reconsideration stage.

In cases where claims are denied, even after reconsideration, the time it takes just to get a hearing before the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) can make the wait substantially longer.

Time You Can Expect to Wait

If you are seeking SSD benefits, you may be shocked at the actual time you are likely to wait before being able to obtain a hearing or have your application processed. Depending on where you live, these numbers could have a dramatic effect on your case.

The following chart, based on data compiled from the Social Security Administration (SSA), can be used to estimate the amount of time you should expect to wait from the date you request a hearing to the date your hearing is held at your ODAR location in Michigan – as well as the average time it takes to get a claim processed once a hearing is held:

Office Average Wait Time for Hearing (months) Average Processing Time (days)
Detroit 13.5 425
Flint 13.5 443
Grand Rapids 12.0 399
Lansing 12.0 353
Livonia 14.0 447
Mount Pleasant 15.5 474
Oak Park 14.0 448
Michigan 13.2 427
National 13.3 445

 

What You Can Do While Awaiting SSD Benefits

The majority of SSD benefits applicants will have to wait more than a year before they will receive benefits. During this waiting period, it is not uncommon to have numerous financial problems and significant levels of stress due to the fact that your medical condition is keeping you from being able to earn the income you need to pay your bills and fulfill your obligations.

If you are wondering how to get by while waiting to receive benefits, the following are a few suggestions which may help you out:

  1. Go to your local Department of Health and Human Services office seeking assistance. Depending on your current financial situation, you may be able to receive temporary food assistance, cash assistance (for those with minor children), medical assistance, access to child care resources and other emergency support. At the very least, the Department of Health and Human Services should be able to guide you in the right direction.
  2. Seek workers’ compensation benefits. If your disability arose from a workplace injury, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits through your employer’s insurance coverage. Most employees are eligible to pursue medical benefits, lost wages and vocational rehabilitation by filing a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Agency.
  3. Refinance. Depending on your financial situation, you may want to consider refinancing your home or consolidating unsecured debts such as credit cards, car loans and other personal loans.

While you are awaiting approval of SSD benefits, drawing against the equity in your home or obtaining a new personal loan – particularly one from a payday lender – is never advised. Doing so could cause you to take a step towards financial disaster.

The Benefits of Working with an Attorney

If you believe you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, it is important that you contact a skilled Detroit SSD benefits lawyer. The lawyers at our firm will not only be able to help you navigate through the application and appeals process, but we can also help steer you in the right direction should you need financial aid while your case is pending.

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J.B. Bieske & Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law

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Macomb, MI 48044
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