Waiting too Long to Apply
Once you, through consultation with your doctor(s), have determined that you may be unable to work for a period of 12 months or more, you should file for benefits immediately. You could risk losing benefits to which you are legally entitled by waiting longer than necessary to apply. If you are eligible to receive Disability Insurance Benefits, you can only recover retroactive benefits for the 12 month period prior to submitting your application for benefits. Therefore, if you wait more than a year from the date you stop working to apply for benefits, you risk losing more benefits with each month that passes. Depending on how much you have paid into Social Security over the years, this could result in a loss of thousands of dollars per month. If you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income, you are only eligible to receive benefits from the time of your application or the month after. Therefore, it is especially important that you apply for benefits as soon as possible. Every month that you do not apply, you are losing much needed back-benefits.
Waiting Too Long (or Failing) to Appeal
If you have already applied for Social Security disability benefits and you have been denied, you most likely received a letter notifying you of this denial. Towards the end of that letter, there is a paragraph telling you that you have the right to appeal your case. This paragraph states that you have 60 days from the date of the letter to appeal your claim. If you fail to file an appeal on time, you may have to start the application process over from the beginning. This also means you will have to go back to the beginning of the waiting list. You may also permanently lose the right to much needed back benefits. You should appeal as soon as possible after consulting an attorney regarding your appeal rights.