Friday, May 5, 2017

How Long Does it Take To Get Benefits and What Resources are Available Until I Get a Decision?

How Long Does it Take To Get Benefits 
and What Resources are Available Until I Get a Decision?
By Nicholas Wearne, Associate Attorney

The answer to this question is one you are probably not going to like. As I have explained in prior blogs there are three levels of application.  The first two take about 4-6 months.  The third level of application is a hearing and it takes 1-1.5 years to get a hearing after you have gone through the first two steps.  Generally speaking, I tell people it takes about two years.  The process is an extremely long one and perhaps one of the most difficult things about it is you cannot be working while you wait.  You can work a little bit but consult with an attorney before trying to do so.  Your ability to work is very limited and if you work to much you will start your application period over again.

So what are you supposed to do while you wait?  How are you supposed to survive?  This the question I do not enjoy answering.  As far as healthcare goes, you can get on AHCCCS assuming that our new president elect does not try to scale back AHCCCS funding once he is in office.  As far as food goes, you can apply for and get on food stamps.  As far as shelter goes, this is often the hardest one.  Most of my clients are living with family and friends.  Some are in homeless shelters.  If you are in the beginning stages of applying for social security disability I would have some very open talks with your family members about what will happen if you are unable to keep the lights on or pay the mortgage as it likely it may come to that.  If you have a spouse that works, that is great. 

Finally, do not apply for unemployment though it may be tempting.  When you apply for unemployment you are certifying that you are able and looking for a job.  Social Security will hold this against you.  If you are applying for Social Security Disability and have questions about how to prepare for the long haul ahead, call Snow Carpio and Weekley or visit us on our website at

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