When you become disabled, your first question is likely “how can I provide for myself and my family?” Suddenly, your world has been thrown off its axis, and you can no longer work the job you had before. In these moments, it makes sense to ask for help so that you can continue to thrive.
Luckily, there is a safety net built-in for those who experience a loss of income as a result of their disability. Social Security disability helps those who need it most by offering a monthly stipend to offset their cost of living. Each year, Social Security disability SSDI pays an average of $143 billion dollars to more than 11 million Americans to assist them.
Find out how you can apply for Social Security disability and what your next steps are if your application has been denied.
How do I apply for Social Security Disability?
You may apply online at SSA.gov. Alternatively, you can be interviewed by a Social Security representative. This will take place either over the phone or at a nearby Social Security office. During an in-person meeting, a Social Security Representative will be filling out your application for disability benefits. In order to complete this process, you will need to provide this information:
- Social Security number
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of doctors, caseworkers, hospitals and clinics who took care of you
- Names and dosages of all medications
- Any medical records that you have on-hand, including laboratory and test results
- Summary of the your employment history
- Your most recent W-2 form or other federal proof of income
How do they determine if I am disabled or not?
After being completed, your application is sent to a state agency that makes the final decision. This agency employs experts who will contact your previous employers and doctors to get a complete medical and vocational history from you. They will look to find that you fit the specific criteria that the Social Security Administration uses to deem you eligible for disability benefits. Depending on what they find, they may give you more forms to complete or ask that you go through a medical exam. It is imperative that you complete the tasks they request, as failure to comply can lead to your claim being denied.
The process is intended to take three to five months, though it isn’t uncommon to take up to six months to make a decision. If you are approved, your benefits will begin in the sixth full month since your disability originated. Your benefit amount depends on how long you have worked, the amount of Social Security taxes you have paid and your adjusted indexed monthly earnings. Your benefit amount averages between $700 and $1,700, though this could be more or less.
What do I do if my claim is denied?
There’s no need to stress immediately if your claim is denied at first. In fact, around 70% of disability claims are denied the first time around. Your claim may have been denied because:
- Your income exceeds disability benefit guidelines.
- Your disability doesn’t clearly fit into the standards set by the Social Security Administration.
- You do not follow the prescribed therapy given to you by a doctor or other medical professional.
- You do not cooperate with the Social Security Administration to provide proper documentation.
- You do not have enough medical treatment to adequately support the health issues that keep you from working.
If your claim has been denied, you can then request a disability hearing where a judge will hear the claims of your case in person. This is where having great legal representation comes in. During your hearing, you will need a lawyer who understands disability law and regulations to help prove your case so that you can receive your benefits.
A Social Security disability lawyer will be aware of the facts of your case and will be able to create a legal rationale for you to receive Social Security disability benefits. This may be your last chance to get the benefits you deserve, so having good legal representation is incredibly important to win your case.
Are you looking for an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer?
Contact Reynolds & Gold Law. We offer years of experience to assist you in receiving the disability money you need.