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Filing an application for Disability Benefits under SSDI or SSI

Most of the time if you or someone you know is thinking of applying for ssdi or ssi, the process seems very confusing and difficult. Social Security does not offer a great guide on how the process works and therefore can create some confusion for the people who want to apply for it. In this article we will be answering and showing the many steps that are necessary when filing an application for SSDI and SSI disability benefits.

We will be covering the topics of

  • What does Social Security consider to be a disability?
  • Important points about filing for disability
  • Preparation for Filing an SSD claim or SSI claim
  • How your disability decision will be made
  • Supplying your medical history
  • Supplying your work history
  • Processing your disability claim
  • If your disability claim is approved or denied

What does Social Security consider to be a disability?

  • Most people do not know that filing for disability benefits through the SSA implies that your disability is both server and fully disabling. The official definition of “disability” by the SSA is your condition must last for at least one full year (or at the time of your approval must be projected to eventually last for a full twelve months Your condition, or conditions, must impose enough mental or physical limitations–or a combination of both types of limitations–such that you cannot effectively return to either your past work (potentially any job you performed within the last 15 years) and cannot do any other type of work for which you might ordinarily be able to employ your education and work skills (were it not for the functional limitations caused by your condition).

Important points about filing for disability

Firstly, if your condition is limiting to the point where you are unable to work and earn a livable income, stop what you’re doing and file a disability claim ASAP! That said, for those who are currently working full time with an injury that is increasingly getting worse, file for disability as your income has dropped below the SGA limit. One thing to note is for those who are still working and apply at a local SS office, you will receive a technical denial right away. Just something to keep in mind. As soon as you think you may qualify for these disability benefits, begin your process right away. If you start your claim with the SSA it will under the Title II SSD or Title 16 SSI program. Lastly, the claim will be for SSI if the applicant has not worked in several years, a minor-aged child and or has never worked at all. Sometimes claims can be taken by both SSD and SSI programs which is known as concurrent claims. As well, for those who would like to do so, you can file for disability online if you would prefer to or at your local SSA office which would be an easier route.

Preparation for Filing an SSDI claim or SSI claim

Before having your initial disability application interview, it is very important to have the correct documents to provide for your claims representative who will be doing the intake for your claim. Having the correct paperwork ready will speed up the process and allow you time to talk or ask any questions you may have. The paperwork and documents you will need are 

  • Income verification including from wages, the VA, long or short-term disability benefits other than from social security, as well as any other income sources.
  • Proof of Military service.
  • Proof of marriage or divorce.
  • Asset source information including life insurance policies, bank accounts, investment accounts 
  • Birth Certificate

The only other information you are going to want to gather, is medical and work history to provide when you arrive for your disability application appointment.

How Your Disability Decision Is Made

There are specifics things that are accounted for when deciding if a claimant will receive disability benefits or not. One thing that helps is the rating of your limitations. Also, seeing if you are able to return to any of your previous jobs you have worked in the last 15 years that were above the SGA income level. Determining if you are capable of working some other type of job that takes into account your limitations/age. After all of this is accounted for, there will then be a disability decision made! 

When supplying your medical history make sure to always include every contact name, address, email and any other information for whatever doctors or hospitals that you have visited. The SSA will need all information possible to locate these medical treatment sources you are referring to and without enough information the disability examiner will not gather this information if the disability claimant does not provide this necessary information.

Decisions for your disability claim will take time! An important thing to remember is that decisions for your disability claim can take up to 90-120 days, some can be even longer than this. If you receive notice that you have been approved, you will receive written notification. You will also be told how the future payments will operate for your disability claim. If you are to be denied, you will be shown your rights to appeal.

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