How Do I Go About Getting Social Security Disability Benefits?
If you are or have just become disabled and are unable to work, you may be eligible for benefits from the government through the Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits program or SSDI. Your condition must be a full disability that results in at least a year of inability to work, or that will result in death.
It can be a daunting process, and we recommend that you hire an attorney to help you get all you are entitled to. We also recommend that you start the application as soon as you become disabled, as the process can take three to five months to complete.
Who Can I Turn to If I Become Disabled?
Ascend Disability Lawyers LLC only works on disability cases. They don’t “water down” their practice by taking just any case; they specialize in helping you get through the disability application process effectively and efficiently. They provide a free consultation, there is no fee to you if they don’t win your case, and the fees they do get are capped at 25% of any back pay that you receive. They don’t get any money from your ongoing monthly benefits.
What Is the Process for Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits?
The information required for you to be considered for SSDI is substantial, but don’t let that stop you from getting what you are entitled to. Your attorneys at Ascend will take you through the process, but here are some guidelines to get you prepared for what you will need:
First, your condition will need to keep you from working for at least a year; this program is not offered for partial or short-term disability.
You will be required to meet two different earnings tests:
1) A recent work test that is based on your age at the time you became disabled
2) A duration of work test to determine if you worked long enough under Social Security to collect the benefit
There will also be a determination of payment involving your age at the time of your disability: before age 24, after age 24 but before age 31, and age 31 or later. The work requirement to obtain these benefits range from your disability occurring before age 28 (requires 1.5 years of work) to age 60 (requires 9.5 years of work). All the ages and work requirements are available on the government website, this is just a basic overview.
General criteria are thus: 1. Are you working? 2. Is your medical condition severe? 3. Does your impairment meet or medically equal a listing? (list of impairments) 4. Can you do the work you did before? 5. Can you do any other type of work?
What Conditions Qualify Me For SSDI?
You can find a list of qualifying conditions through your attorney or through the governments’ website; following is a list that is not inclusive of all disability options (consult your attorney for a complete list of conditions that qualify):
Conditions stemming from blood, cancer, cardio vascular, digestive, genitourinary (kidney damage), mental, musculoskeletal, neurological, respiratory.
You can apply on line through the government website, you can call in your application or just let your attorney from Ascend do it for you!
What Information Will I Need to Provide to Obtain My SSDI Benefits?
You will need to provide your social security number, your birth or baptismal certificate, information on all doctors, hospitals, caseworkers, clinics, dates of visits, name and dosages of all medications you are taking, medical records from everyone you have seen for your condition(s), laboratory and test results, where you worked, what type of work you performed, your most current W-2 or your most recent tax return. It’s very important to obtain and keep good records, as proof is required to substantiate your claim. Gather as much information as you can to present to your attorney so they can provide you the best service they can going forward.
Proof is required for all medical diagnoses, this cannot be stressed enough. Symptoms count, so be sure to list all of them in your record keeping. Objective evidence of your condition(s) is required, consistency in your illness and treatment should be documented, as well as the impact of your symptoms on your daily life and activities. Your credibility is crucial in your evaluation!
Why Should I Hire an Attorney Instead of Doing This Myself?
As stated before, this process can be a daunting one. Collecting all the necessary information, contacting the right sources for all of the requirements, and in general navigating the process can be discouraging. After all, you will be dealing with the government “bureaucracy” throughout the process. Couple that with the disability you are already suffering from, and the loss of wages, and the situation can seem hopeless at times.
The attorneys at Ascend Disability LLC know the law on this, it’s all they do. They get to know you. They are well versed in filing these claims, working out your appeal should you be denied, arguing before administrative law judges on your behalf. You have enough to worry about in dealing with your disability, let them do what they do best, for you.
Who Decides If and When I Qualify For SSDI?
After you meet all the required criteria and supply all the necessary documents, the government will forward your case to the Disability Determinations Services office in your state. The state agency processes the application and completes the initial disability determination. Doctors and disability specialists in the state agency ask your doctors for information regarding your condition and they may require a special exam. They prefer to use your own doctor, but it may have to be someone else. Social security will pay for the exam, and some related travel costs. Remember this: if you are currently working you will not be considered for these disability benefits.
If and when you are approved for these disability benefits, you will receive a letter that shows the amount of the benefit and when the payments will start; if your application is denied, your letter will explain why and will tell you how to appeal the decision. Good luck!