I just concluded a very tough case. My client suffers from MS and is getting worse. She is plainly disabled. Yet, she lost her case. Why? Because she waited too long to apply for benefits.
The Clock Is Ticking
Once you stop working, the clock begins to run on your eligibility for disability benefits. Your date last insured (DLI) become a factor in whether you can
get benefits even if you are disabled. A DLI is simply the date by which you must show you were disabled. If you became disabled after that date, you are out of luck. (Note that this does not apply for SSI benefits, only SSDI benefits. There is no DLI for SSI) Social Security's method of calculating DLI is a bit complicated. The date is different for everyone. A rule of thumb, however, is that you likely have about five years after you stop working to avoid your DLI.
He Who Hesitates. . .
I understand why some people wait to apply for disability benefits. It makes sense to take time to see if you can get back to work. But, don't delay too long or you could find yourself in the position of this unfortunate client of mine. She is disabled but likely will never get a dime in disability benefits.
File Now And Drop Later If You Get Better
When in doubt, file for disability benefits. If you do get better and return to work, you can simply drop your claim.
If you have questions about this or anything else, please let me know.