However, many are also aware that the process to claim SSDI benefits can be complicated and challenging. Immense patience is necessary. Getting expert help from a social security disability lawyer may also be needed.
Overcoming the Application Process
Generally, SSDI benefits refer to monthly payments the Social Security Administration (SSA) does to people who have worked for a certain period to earn the said benefits and whose medical condition lasts for at least a year or may even result in debt. Workers can benefit from this program if they were employed in a job that takes out Social Security taxes from their pay. Otherwise, you may not be eligible.
Dealing with a disability or health condition can be stressful. Adding income loss to that makes the situation more devastating. With all of these factors, you may find it scary to start processing an SSDI claim or file an appeal to an initially denied one. But, keep in mind that you have the right to avail these benefits after working hard and paying for this insurance through your payroll taxes.
While the process can be a bit overwhelming, understanding what you have to do and following certain tips when filing can help. Here are some of them:
Tip #1: Determine whether you are eligible.
Not all medical conditions are treated equally under the SSDI. The SSA has a strict definition of the word disability. Check if your case is included. Typically, those who suffer from a severe impairment that is expected to last for at least a year or may result in death are eligible for the benefits. The claimant should also be under the retirement age. Additionally, you should have paid FICA taxes for five years during the last ten years.
To help with your claim, compile your employment history records. You can also find some eligibility screenings online. You can use them for free to see if you meet the SSA qualifications.
Tip #2: File immediately.
Do not wait for too long before applying for SSDI benefits. Remember, you will not have a regular income anymore. Do not let your expenses drain your savings.
Early submission of your application may mean you can get help to ease your financial burden sooner. In most cases, it could take three to six months to review the initial application. That means you have to wait that long to find out if the SSA approves your claim.
A lot of initial applications get denied. If you get a second denial, you may have to attend a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Depending on the city you are in, that could take years.
Tip #3: Submit medical records and evidence.
Attaching proof of your medical condition to your application helps increase your chances of getting an approved claim. Medical records, such as MRIs, CT scans, x-ray, and EKG reports are good supporting documents. While the SSA gathers medical records, it would help to submit copies of whatever medical records you have in your possession. In relation to this, make sure you identify all medical conditions you have in the application.
Tip #4: Get help.
Aside from being challenging, applying for SSDI benefits can be time-consuming. You may also have to worry about the possibility of the SSA denying your claim.
One way of easing the stress of going through the process is to get help from a legal expert. A social security lawyer can provide advice. They can help you prepare your application to help you receive the right benefits quickly. They can also represent you in hearings related to your application.
When choosing a lawyer, make sure they have experience in handling similar cases. Ask questions. Lastly, you should also keep them updated. Stay in touch and check in on the progress of the case.
If you receive a denial letter for your initial application, contact your social security lawyer. Then, discuss with them the steps you need to take for an appeal. You should do this immediately as you have limited time to file an appeal.