3 Ways To Get Cash While You Wait For Your First Disability Check

After filing for disability, it can take forever to get approved -- at least, that's how it might feel at times. It's not uncommon to wait 6 to 12 months for a disability hearing, and some applicants spend nearly 2 years waiting. As the bills pile up and your bank account balance continues to decrease, the lengthy wait time for your first disability payment may send you spiraling into a panic. Luckily, there are ways to earn extra money before your check arrives. Here are three ideas that you can try. 

Participate in Focus Groups

If a medical condition makes it difficult for you to work, you may rely on the help of prescription drugs to manage your condition. Did you know that these drugs are carefully tested before they find a home in pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors' offices? Some studies are performed on animals, while others are performed on people just like you. Clinical studies are performed on paid volunteers by experienced healthcare professionals, and participants are monitored during the testing to ensure that nothing goes wrong.

If sampling medications makes you a bit nervous, consider participating in a focus group rather than a clinical study. When you join a focus group, a company pays you to share your thoughts -- both good and bad -- about a specific medication or treatment plan. You can ask your doctor whether you qualify for any focus groups or clinical studies, or you can contact local medical schools to see if they need paid participants. 

Do Freelance Work

Prior to filing for disability, did you work part or full-time in a specific field? You can use those skills to find paid freelance gigs. Some gigs require you to work on site, but many jobs can be done from the comfort of your home. Here are some common types of freelance jobs that you may have luck finding:

  • Article writing
  • Document editing
  • Logo creation for businesses or website owners
  • Photography sessions

Remember, self-employment income from freelance work must be claimed on your federal income taxes. Keep detailed records of any tasks that you perform so that tax time is hassle free. You may be allowed to continue doing some of your freelance gigs after your disability paperwork is approved, but speak to a team of Social Security attorneys to make sure that it's okay.

Expedited Payment from the Social Security Administration

Not every applicant has to wait until the final hearing to request a disability payment. Even if your file hasn't officially been approved yet, you may qualify for an early payment from the Social Security Administration. The agency offers emergency advances to qualified applicants, and some folks can even take home money that same day. Whether you qualify for an early payment depends on numerous factors, including:

  • Your current application status
  • Whether you have ever applied before
  • Your financial situation
  • The medical condition(s) you have

If the agency overpays you or gives you money for a claim that later gets denied, you may have to repay some -- or all -- of your benefits. Before you visit the Social Security office, discuss your plans with your lawyer to make sure that everything goes smoothly. 

You don't have to struggle to survive until your disability check comes, even if you have a long wait ahead of you. The aforementioned ideas can help you earn enough to keep food on the table and pay your rent, and you may even have a few bucks left to treat yourself to dinner or a movie.

Make sure to check with your Social Security attorney before you try any of the money-making methods above, just in case they have an impact on your case. There are income restrictions and asset guidelines you must follow after filing for benefits, and your lawyer can provide you with information on any current laws that affect disability applicants.