The surprising answer is – YOU DON’T NEED TO WAIT!!
You can file for social security disability benefits on the day that your doctor diagnoses you with a disability, or on the first day that you can no longer work because of your disability.
Many people mistakenly believe that they must be disabled for a certain period of time before they can even apply for social security disability benefits. The longer you wait to file, the longer you will have to wait to receive your disability benefits if you are disabled. This is true for Houma social security disability claimants, Thibodaux SSDI claimants, and even those in Galliano applying for social security disability. In fact, it is true throughout Louisiana and the Nation.
If you have a serious illness, disability, or impairment that will last at least a year (or is likely to result in death – like cancer or Lou Gehrig’s disease), you can apply on the day the illness, disability or impairment impacts your ability to work.
Now, this does not mean, that if you have a minor illness or injury that will heal within one year, you need to rush out and apply. Don’t do it. Your claim will be denied, I cannot help you, and you will be taking up valuable resources needed by those truly disabled.
Remember, a large number of disabled individuals, especially in Louisiana, are denied social security disability benefits when they first apply. Then they have to go through an appeal process, often including a hearing with a judge. Some even have to go to court to have their case approved. The process takes time.
The longer you wait to apply, the longer it takes for the process to get started. I usually recommend that my Louisiana disability clients apply for social security disability as soon as they can no longer work because of their disability to get the process started.