The United States has several federal and state programs that help individuals unable to work as a result of injury or illness. The most common federal program is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is managed by the Social Security Administration.
SSDI is a monthly benefit that’s provided to individuals who can’t support themselves through work due to a long-term injury or illness. Depending upon your condition, it can be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis. Benefits awards vary — the amount is based upon such factors as age, severity of the disability and how much you have worked in the past. The claim process can be difficult and lengthy — people can wait from 90 days to two years for a decision on their claims.
Eligibility Requirements for SSDI
Your must meet several requirements for Social Security Disability benefits. Most importantly, you must have a Social Security number to receive benefits from the Social Security Administration. You also must be under age 65. (People over 65 are covered under a different class of Social Security benefits.)
The other requirements include:
- You must have a documented mental or physical condition that prevents you from holding a job.
- The condition must be expected to last at least 12 months or be expected to eventually result in death.
- You must have earned a certain number of Social Security credits for working over the previous 10 years. This work credit requirement can be waived if you are younger than 22, and you may be able to claim SSDI based upon your parents’ work history (with no impact on their own benefits).
How to Obtain SSDI
There are several ways to apply for SSDI benefits. The first is to make an appointment with the nearest Social Security Administration branch office. A Social Security representative will help you fill out all necessary forms and collect the appropriate documentation. The rep will schedule hearings and appointments and give limited advice on what you need to do. He or she can also advise you on your applications status.
You can also apply for Social Security Disability benefits online at the Social Security Administration’s website. The process can be lengthy, but it is more convenient than visiting an office in person. The website walks you through the application process, instructing you on how to substantiate your claim and providing updates on the claim’s status. If additional information is needed, a Social Security representative will contact you.
You may also want to have an attorney help you file a claim for benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, claimants who are assisted by an attorney have more success in receiving benefits the first time they apply. Use Legal Advocate Link to find a qualified SSDI attorney to assist with your claim. They usually don’t charge a fee unless the claim is approved. Legal Advocate Link offers a free, comprehensive directory of accredited attorneys in your area.
How Are Benefits Paid?
Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can be paid in one of two ways: The beneficiary can receive a paper check each month via US mail, or he or she can also opt for direct deposit of payments to their checking or savings account. While direct deposit is the safest, most secure option, many older recipients prefer a paper check.
What If I Am Denied Benefits?
Many applicants are denied SSDI benefits the first time they apply. The SSA estimates that only 39 percent of claims are approved on the initial submission. If a claim is denied, the individual can appeal the decision on his or her own, either at the local SSA office or online. However, it is most beneficial to retain the services of an attorney who is well-versed in dealing with Social Security cases. Appeals handled by an attorney are more likely to be approved.
Where to Get Help
Appealing a denied SSDI claim can be complex and time consuming, particularly if you’ve never dealt with the process before. That’s where an attorney well-versed in dealing with Social Security cases can help. Appeals handled by a qualified attorney often have better chances of being approved.
If you’d like to get your case reviewed for FREE, call (855) 567-2645 or fill out the form at right.