If you are between the ages of 50 and 65 years and suffer from a disability that prevents you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits

Application Process

If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability, the application process may seem daunting. You will be required to provide much information about the particulars of your case, as well as fill out all of the required forms and paperwork. Below, we will walk you through the initial steps of your SSD application.

Step 1: Intent to File

The first step in this process is called making your “intent to file.” This can be done by beginning an application for disability benefits on SSA.org or by visiting your local Social Security Administration Office for an application. While beginning your application establishes your intent to file, it does not mean that you are required to complete the application process if you change your mind in the future. It’s important to do this as early as possible because the information that you provide on this form can later be used to calculate back pay that you may be eligible to receive if your claim is successful.

Step 2: Verifying your FICA contributions

The next part of the application effectively breaks into two separate parts. The first part is making sure that you’re eligible based on your contributions to The Federal Insurance Contributions Act fund (FICA). This is a relatively straightforward process that is actually heavily reliant on your employer. If they have previously filled out the proper paperwork, they can easily send the required documents over to the Social Security Administration without much work on your end.

Step 3: Proving your disability

The second part of this step is proving your medical disability which is the most challenging part of the process. The Social Security Administration Office uses a document called the “Blue Book” which is broken into two parts: Adult Listings (Part A) and Childhood Listings (Part B). The Blue Book describes medical conditions and how/if they qualify to receive benefits. Although it may seem simple to navigate, it can be a bit harder to actually determine your eligibility. For example, breast cancer, while it is a severe ailment, it would not be considered eligible unless it has spread to the furthest region of the breast or to other places in the body.

Medical Condition Records

It is important to note that one of the most important elements of this process is gathering records from your doctor – and not just records that say you’re sick or disabled. Equally important are records showing that you have followed the doctor’s orders for treatment and are still unable to work. The fact that you’ve listened to your doctor and are still unable to work proves to the SSA that your condition is truly a disability.

Step 4: Wait for SSA to Process Your Application

At this point, you have completed your application for SSDI benefits and are now waiting on the results. You can expect to hear back with a result in 30 to 90 days after submitting your application. If you are awarded benefits, you can expect to start receiving payment within 90 days of being approved. If your claim was denied, then you will have to go through the appeals process. If you decide to file an appeal, it is a good idea to consult with a social security disability attorney. Attorneys in this field have dealt with many claim appeals and know what to do to increase your chances of an approved benefits.

What if my claim is denied?

If your claim is denied, you can complete a “request for reconsideration.” The request for reconsideration is not likely to be accepted unless you provide additional documentation. This may include proof of your medical condition, doctor’s visits, and ongoing treatment. It’s absolutely essential that you follow your doctor’s recommended plan for treatment because failing to do so can hinder your ability to have your request accepted.

If you appeal is denied, then you can request a hearing before an administrative judge. This is where you have the best opportunity to have your request accepted, and you will need to be represented by a lawyer.

Involving a Social Security Disability Attorney

The process of determining eligibility can be a confusing and difficult. Consulting with an experienced disability attorney can be beneficial during the application process. An experienced attorney will guide you during the application process, and will be a great assist if you have to file an appeal or attend a hearing. You don’t pay them until you are awarded benefits and/or backpay. There are federal laws that also limits how much they take from your benefits, which is 25% or $6,000, whichever is lower. If you’re interested in speaking with a social security disability attorney, complete our online form.

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