Approximately 61 million US adults have a disability that makes them more likely to struggle with economic burdens than those without disabilities. Most of these individuals can work, although they encounter more significant difficulties getting employment opportunities than the latter.
But those with long-term and severe disabilities lack or have limited capacity to work and are vulnerable to economic challenges. Fortunately, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) comes through for workers who can no longer work after experiencing significant impairment or illness expected to last at least a year or cause death within the same duration. The monthly benefits are based on the disabled employee’s past income and are issued to the worker or their dependent family members.
But the application process is complex and has numerous eligibility standards. That’s why you need a reliable social security disability attorney from Morris Bart’s law firm to help you through.
What Is Social Security Disability?
SSD (Social Security disability) is a component of the Federal Social Security Act. It offers benefits like disability payments to individuals whose disabling condition prevents them from working. Social Security Disability benefits may include medical coverage and cash payments.
The main Social Security Disability Benefits include:
- Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI or SSD) – This popular SSA benefit covers millions recently hired but experienced an incident that left them disabled.
- Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC) – These cover disabled youngsters aged between 18 and 22 whose parents are deceased or receive SSD or Social Security retirement benefits.
- Disabled Widow or Widower (DWB) – The benefits are available to widowers or widows aged beyond 50 years who become disabled within seven years of their partners’ deaths.
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Eligibility Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits
The Social Security Act uses five steps to determine approval for an SSD application. These include:
Are You Working?
The act won’t consider applicants who earn beyond a specific amount every month.
Is the Condition Severe?
Your condition must prevent you from handling basic workplace tasks for at least a year to be considered “disabled.”
Is Your Disability in the Dedicated List of Disabling Conditions?
Your medical condition must be among the illnesses that qualify for disability. The disabling conditions in SSA’s list include:
- Mental disorders
- Musculoskeletal system problems
- Digestive tract problems
- Impairments that affect multiple body systems
- Senses and speech issues
- Skin disorders such as psoriasis, burns, and ichthyosis
- Genitourinary impairments
- Endocrine disorders
- Hematological disorders
- Immune system disorders
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Malignant neoplastic diseases
- Respiratory illnesses
- Neurological disorders
Can You Perform Your Previous Work Functions?
After reviewing your claim, the agency will decide whether you can handle the tasks you did before getting injured.
Can You Handle Any Other Work?
SSA will check your medical condition, age, past work experience, skills, and education to determine if you can handle gainful employment. If you can’t work in a different capacity, you’ll be considered disabled.
Apart from the selection criteria mentioned above, you must meet the recent work and duration of work tests.
The Disability Application Process
You can apply for the benefits in person, online, or via phone. Whatever the method, you will cover these general steps:
- Gathering documents and information required for the application highlighted in the SSA’s Adult Disability Checklist.
- Completing and submitting the application
- The agency reviews the application to ensure you meet the basic requirements.
- SSA checks if you’ve worked enough years
- The agency reviews your current work activities before processing the application and forwarding the case to your state’s Disability Determination Services office.
- Finally, the state agency will make the final disability determination.
After you’ve applied, the SSA will review the application and reach out if they have questions. Afterward, the agency will send you a letter to communicate their decision. You can check your application status online via “my Social Security” account or contact the agency.
How do You Appeal an SSDI Decision?
You can appeal a decision by the SSA within 60 days after you’ve received the decision letter. The available four levels of appeal include:
- An administrative law judge hearing
- A Social Security Appeals Council review
- A federal court review
Information You Need Before You Apply
Prepare to provide details about yourself, work activities, and overall medical condition. Generally, the following information is vital to complete the application:
- Place and date of birth
- Social security number
- Names and dates of birth of kids below 18 years
- Personal details of your current or former spouse
- Your financial institution’s Routing Transit Number
Details about your health condition:
- Name and contact details of any person who understands your condition
- Details about your injuries, illnesses, or condition
- Information about your workplace
- How much you’ve earned this year and last year
- Name and contact details of your employer(s) for last year and this year
- Active US military service start and end dates
- Up to five jobs that you’ve been serving in the 15 years before becoming disabled
- Details about any benefits you’ve filed or expect to file for
Crucial Documents When Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
The SSA may request you to submit the following eligibility documents:
- Proof of birth like a birth certificate
- Proof of lawful alien and US citizenship status if you’re not US-born
- Military discharge papers (for applicants who served before 1968)
- W-2 forms and the previous year’s self-employment tax returns
- The medical evidence in your hands, including healthcare records, recent test results, and doctors’ reports
- Settlement agreements, pay stubs, award letters, and other proof of worker’s comp benefits you earned
Why Hire a Disability Attorney?
Applying for SSD benefits and appealing for denied claims can be complicated, but working with an experienced disability attorney will significantly boost your chances of success. A lawyer will also help you avoid common errors and technicalities that lead to denials.
Generally, they’ll guide you through the following vital processes:
- The preparation of your claim by gathering the relevant documents and information to aid your claims process
- Enabling communication by keeping track of your claim’s status, notifying you about any new requirements, and speaking with the Social Security Administration.
- Finalizing your claim after approval by reviewing the calculations to determine any missing information and errors
- Appealing if your application wasn’t approved
Work With a Reputable Social Security Disability Attorney
Only a reputable attorney can increase your chances of succeeding in your quest for Social Security Disability benefits. The experienced lawyers at Morris Bart Law understand the impact of a denied claim and will use their experience and resources to take you through the undoubtedly intimidating process.
Call us today for a free case evaluation.
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