3 Steps To A Successful Social Security Disability Claim By Deirdre Reedy
Did you know that only 30-40% of disability claims are approved the first time? Unfortunately, many people who are rightfully entitled to benefits aren't fully aware of how complex the rules and regulations are surrounding disability.
Did you know that only 30-40% of disability claims are approved the first time? Unfortunately, many people who are rightfully entitled to benefits aren't fully aware of how complex the rules and regulations are surrounding disability. Sadly, people often give up after their claims are denied because they don't understand the process -- and they lose benefits they need just to survive.
If you suffer from a disability that prevents you from working, it's in your best interest to educate yourself about Social Security Disability before you begin the application process. Understanding a few key steps beforehand can save you headaches and frustration in the months to come.
Determine which kind of benefit you qualify for. There are two Social Security disability programs that pay benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Both SSDI and SSI have the same medical requirements, but SSDI requires that you have worked enough in prior years to have built up a certain amount of credit, while SSI is based only on financial need, regardless of whether you worked in the past. SSI also pays benefits to children. Note that the amount of your SSI benefits will depend on what you own and your household income -- including any wages earned by your spouse.
In order to meet the criteria for either program, your disability must prevent you from working (or in the case of children, severely limit functionality) for at least twelve months -- or the condition must be a terminal one that will result in your death. There is no age requirement for disability benefits. If you still receive disability benefits by age 65, the disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits.
Apply in person -- and save everything! While you can submit your application by phone or mail, the unfortunate reality is that paperwork is often misplaced. Applying in person gives you a better chance of ensuring your information gets files correctly. Make copies of any paperwork, receipts, etc. associated with your application. Assembling all the necessary documentation can be a time-consuming process; you don't want to repeat your efforts if your application is lost.
Initial claim processing usually takes at least 60-90 days. Your claim will be sent to the Disability Determination Service office in your state, where officials will review your information to assess whether you are disabled under the Social Security law. Note that the Disability Determination Service office may request a medical exam, in addition to the medical records you have already submitted.
Do not hesitate to contact a lawyer if your claim is rejected. As mentioned earlier, a significant portion of all Social Security Disability claims are rejected on the first attempt, so an attorney familiar with Social Security Disability law can be an invaluable resource.
Article Provided by
Ted A. Greve and Associates