At Disability Associates, a law firm in Towson, Maryland, we understand it can take two to three years for a determination in a social security case. In many cases, a question we hear frequently is this: how am I supposed to pay my bills when I am applying for social security? Today, we can take a closer look.
How am I supposed to pay my bills when I am applying for Social Security?
Now, by the time we talk to most clients, they’ve stopped working full time and have very limited sources of income. If they’re lucky, they may have a working spouse and that’s helpful, but still you have bills to pay. Otherwise, if you’re single, you may not have a source of income and how are you supposed to pay your bills. It is a tough question. There are a couple of things that you need to think about even though you never thought you’d be in this position and have to think about it, but through the Department of Social Services if you can qualify there are programs that would pay a limited amount of money.
Right now, it’s a little under two hundred dollars a month for temporary cash help while you’re waiting for your disability claim to be processed. If the claim is approved, then you will have to pay that money back, but that’s one potential source of income. It’s a long process and you have to look at all the possibilities. We’ve had some clients that have told us you know I went to a food bank. I needed food. I didn’t have the money. I had to pay rent, so I went to a food bank. These are things you’re going to have to consider.
We’re frequently asked if I can work part time. Can I do that? Will that hurt my case? Now that makes cases more complicated, but there are many people for whom this is a necessity. So, let’s look at what effect that would have on a disability case. Now remember, Social Security has a very specific definition of disabled. Social Security says it means that your health problems are limiting you so severely you’re not capable of what’s called substantial gainful activity. That means you’re not able to work at any type of job at all, earning a certain amount of money. Now right now, that amount is one thousand two hundred and twenty dollars a month or more before taxes. So, if you’re working part-time and you’re earning that much or more before taxes, Social Security will find you’re not disabled just based on the amount of money that you’re making. If you can work a few hours a week to help support yourself, then that’s something that you can do. It will have to be explained ultimately to a judge why you’re doing that. Why you’re able to work ten or maybe 15 hours a week but you’re not physically or mentally able to work more and that can be dealt with at the hearing. But as long as you’re under the amount that Social Security considers substantial gainful activity, part-time work is a possibility.
So, those are some ideas for you how you can support yourself as you go through this process. Of course, you can always ask friends and family. We know you don’t want to be knocking on that door too often. You can also ask friends and family for help along the way. But hang in there as you go through the process. Don’t give up. Do what you need to do to support yourself as best you can as you work through the whole disability process.
About Disability Associates
Disability Associates, LLC, managed by attorney Tracey N. Pate, provides legal representation to disabled individuals who are seeking Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits. Our concentration is exclusively on Social Security Disability Law. It’s all we do! We know that filing for Social Security benefits can be a long and frustrating process. We are dedicated to taking the weight off of our client’s shoulders by simplifying this process for them. There is absolutely no charge unless we win your case.