Life is full of challenges, some of which are avoidable, whereas others just seem like fate. During one’s work life, one may encounter an accident or suffer an illness that may render disabled sooner or later. This could also mean that the individual is no longer able to work, making it hard for them to provide for their loved ones.
In many countries, the government has a system in place to take care of such people financially, as long as they are taxpayers and have worked for a significant duration of time. In the US, this program is referred to as the Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI. In many instances, the individual has to make an application claiming their benefits when they suffer a disability. Understanding how SSDI claims work can minimize your frustration and help you get the benefits you deserve.
In case you or a family member has succumbed to a disability, this piece provides a few things you should know before applying for SSDI benefits.
1. Have All the Required Documents
Depending on how versed you are and the documents you have, the process can either be simple or complex. You also have a few options to make your application, including online or through your local social security office. Basically, the application process entails providing your personal details, medical condition, and work history. On the medical part, detailed information relating to the nature of the disability, prescriptions, tests, doctor, and hospital particulars are needed. You should also be well conversant with your work portfolio to make things easier.
Therefore, before applying, you should gather all the necessary documents. Original copies of the birth certificate and citizenship will also be required. While this is so, do not let the lack of certain documents withhold you from applying. The administration or a legal advisor can guide you and help you through the process in this case.
2. Approval and Appeal
After the application process, the SSA will review your case and probably contact you for more information. Afterward, you can check for the status of your application online or wait for their mail. If you are on the lucky side and your request is granted, good for you. However, not everyone gets to experience a smooth process.
As earlier hinted, the disability benefits application process is often marred with complexities. If your disability benefits application is denied, you can always make an appeal. In this case, you will need an experienced and compassionate SSD attorney on your corner. If you go to their website, you should find enough information about them, including the number of cases they have won for people like you. Upon contacting them, they will review your case, discuss a strategy, and plan its implementation with you.
Nonetheless, it is worth noting that appeals should be done within the first two months of receiving the decision. Disability benefits appeals can be done in various ways. These include:
- Through the social security appeal council,
- Before a federal court,
- Through an administrative judge
With a qualified attorney representing you, they will advise you on the most suitable option for your case so you can get the most favorable results from your benefits appeal case.
3. You Cannot Be Actively Working
If you are disabled but can work and earn a substantial amount, your SSD application could highly likely be denied. This is because the set amount defines substantial gainful activity. The SSD benefits are given to people who cannot work or earn a regular paycheck. Using your Residual Functional Capacity, the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines if you can continue with your initial work or join a different line.
Therefore, do not be shocked when you get suggestions for trying an alternative type of work. If you do not meet the listings provided and your medical condition prevents you from work, do not panic. The SSA has a medical-vocational allowance that covers this aspect. Therefore, before applying, ask yourself if you can actively work or not.
4. The Extent of Your Disability
Many people apply for these benefits, but not all of them get them. This is highly determined by the nature of your disability. People may suffer from a diverse range of health conditions, meaning that a line has to be drawn for what qualifies. Therefore, not all situations qualify for benefits. To help in this, the SSA has a bluebook that contains all conditions that pass as physical and mental impairments.
Therefore, your issue should be found in this manual. Ensuring your impairment is in the book before applying will save you from disappointments. The proof must be backed up by medical records.
5. The Period of Recovery
The SSA is keen while giving out benefits. The people who get them are those who cannot go back to work in the long term. If you have a condition that prevents you from working for a few months, you may not qualify. To be considered, you have to take over a year to heal or go back to work. This means you are completely disabled. Therefore, you may feel incapacitated but, your condition is not disabling enough for the SSA. Make sure you evaluate the time you will be off work before applying.
6. Your Work Credit
Just because you are disabled does not qualify you for the scheme. You ought to have worked and paid taxes to the system. The work credits are computed using your age and the number of years worked to date. An eligibility chart is provided to simplify the process. This helps you calculate the number of credits you require based on your years.
If you are young, do not pull your hair out just yet. The SSA reduces the credit based on your age, meaning you may qualify. Therefore, if your credits do match the stipulated number, you will be denied the benefits. However, you may get the benefits if your spouse or parent has contributed to the system.
Applying for SSD benefits can sometimes be a frustrating experience. However, equipping yourself with the right information before the application process is ideal for saving time. Besides, having the Adult Disability Checklist will come in handy when assembling the documents required. Do not forget to involve a qualified attorney in the process, especially if facing application difficulties or denial.
Photo by Steven HWG on Unsplash
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