My Medical Problems are Affecting My Ability to Work. What Do I Do Now?

It is always best to try to work for as long you are able unless doing so could potentially harm yourself or others. However, the day could arrive when you just cannot do it anymore. At that point, you should check to see if you might be eligible for short term or long term disability benefits through your employer. Often it takes less time to get the private benefits you might be able to get through your employer, and the standards are usually a little easier to be considered disabled.

If you do not have disability benefits through your employer, be aware that the process for getting Social Security disability benefit takes a long time. In most cases it will take a year and a half or more to even see a judge. Therefore, you should apply for benefits just as soon as you stop working full time. You can apply for benefits as soon as you no longer earn more than $1040 per month. You can apply for benefits on the Social Security Administration’s website or you can make an appointment to apply in person at your local SSA office. You also have the option of having a telephone appointment, but we would recommend either applying online or in person.

Before you stop working and apply for disability benefits, you need to start preparing for how you are going to survive after you stop working because it takes so long to even see a judge in most cases. You also need to start working on making your disability case as strong as possible. Be sure to tell all of your doctors about everything that is wrong with you. Too often we see cases where people who are seeking disability have not sought enough treatment for their medical problems or have not complained enough about all the things that are going with them. For instance, if you suspect you have serious arthritis in your lumbar spine, now is the time to get an MRI while you still have insurance. It is best to seek treatment and diagnostic testing for all your problems while you still have medical insurance through your employer or while you can still pay for it. After you have sought medical treatment for all of your problems, be sure to comply with your doctor’s advice and recommended treatment. If your doctor has told you that you need to lose weight, then you should start on a named diet plan and start doing whatever exercise you can do. Be sure your doctor is aware of your weight loss efforts. If your doctor has recommended that you quit smoking then start working on that. It is very important to do anything your doctor has asked you to do that might improve your disabling condition.