How to Apply and Win a Social Security Disability Program
Ensuring your future does not just start with a pension and savings in the bank. There are some events that can suddenly change one’s plans, such as a sudden impairment that affects your ability to accomplish work or an inability to adjust to other work because of a disability from an accident. When that happens, most people are not able to prepare for a comfortable retirement. Instead, they try to make do with their past savings because they no longer have any capacity for work.
The answer to this problem is application for social security disability benefits program. This will ensure that you will receive an average monthly cash payment from prior income deductions, retirement benefits like medical care and COBRA inclusion, and even supplemental security income or SSI eligibility.
What you have to do is know how to apply, win, and appeal for a social security disability program and enjoy the benefits later on in life. Follow this quick guide to knowing the requirements and steps that you would have to take.
Requirements for application
There are a few requirements that you have to arrange and compile so you can have a seamless application for the program. The first that you would have to fix would be the medical requirements.
An initial interview upon application would be processed for disability determination, and during that time, a claims representative would ask for medical information including names of physicians and hospitals and treatments that you have had, as well as your employment history until way back to 15 years before your disability.
Aside from this, you will also need to gather documents such as proof of citizenship and other documents for personal information and other benefits program that you are part of. Applying for a social security disability benefits program also requires you to be insured in your work program as it will be part of the computation for your average monthly payment.
Steps in applying for SSDI programs
Getting into the SSDI program can be a tedious process, but the effort is worth the investment given the payoff that you get.
Get the disability starter kit
The first thing that you should attend to in the application period would be obtaining the disability starter kit, which contains three things — the factsheet, the checklist, and the worksheet. The factsheet is the basic FAQs for information in applying. A checklist in the starter kit lists down what you need to obtain for your interview. You also have the option of completing a website form online for disability benefits.
Lastly, there is the worksheet, which helps in preparing you for the disability interview. It contains the information which will be asked by social security.
Find a good social security disability lawyer
On average, a big portion of people who apply on the first try get denied for a social security disability program. This is not a waste of funds, because whenever you fail in filing for an application, there are no fees deducted from your social security disability claim.
However, statistics have exhibited that those who have tried to hire a social security disability attorney for backup and assurance were able to win more cases. Of course, in return for this, disability lawyers will get 25% of the backup benefits as set by the law.
Having a disability lawyer is beneficial because they know what proof, information, and other requirements the social security and even the SSI disability system requires. This is especially true for seasoned and experienced lawyers who have been practicing as social security disability attorneys.
Disability attorneys are also more capable in handling paper work, especially those that have a lot to do with the government. They will also be able to represent you in court, thereby giving you chances of consultation for a more successful claim.
Schedule for an interview
Afterwards, you will also be interviewed by a claim representative to ask about your disability, your medical history, financial status, and other background information. A disability lawyer can also be helpful in this situation, to guide you through the process of the interview.
Upon completion, your eligibility will be examined by caseworkers from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the state Disability Determination Service. Ideally, within three months, you will have received a confirmation, but it is good to note that on average, it usually takes six months. It is better to not follow-up on your application because caseworker will set up a meeting with you.
What to do when you are denied application
In the event of a denied claim, you can go through four levels of appeal.
First, you can opt to ask for reconsideration with another decision maker. This can be seen as a form of second opinion, just to confirm if the initial decision was correct. However, statistics have shown that those who have reconsidered for social security disability appeals have been denied.
The second level is to ask for an administrative hearing, which is privately held in front of an administrative law judge. There are chances of getting an appeal for this level, as more than half of disability cases appealed in the last ten years were decided in favour of beneficiaries.
You can also schedule a review by the SSA Appeals Council, which holds the job of reviewing decisions made by administrative law judges. However, almost 70% of decisions remain unchanged.
Most appeals for denied disability benefits claims usually go to the U.S. Federal District Court, which has a good track record of getting 50% approved.
But with the change in medium for applying for a disability benefits program, you can now also start with an Internet Appeal, especially if it has been denied because of medical reasons. You will be asked to update your information for medical conditions, tests, and treatments, and would be up for a review afterwards.