Social Security Disability (SSD) functions much like an insurance plan. To qualify for benefits you must meet strict guidelines set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). You must have worked and paid social security taxes for a certain amount of time. You must also have been diagnosed with a medical condition that meets the federal definition for disability.
How do I apply?
You may apply for Social Security Disability online at www.ssa.gov, apply over the phone by calling 800-772-1213, or call to set up an appointment at your local social security office.
What is the federal definition of disability?
The Social Security Administration evaluates all claims for disability based on a five step process. To be eligible for disability benefits your must meet all five conditions.
- Substantial Gainful activity – Are you employed?
- Severe impairment – Will your medical condition last 12 months or lead to death?
- List of Impairments – Is your medical condition on the Social Security Administration listing of medical conditions?
- Past Relevant Work – Can you perform the type of work that you have performed within the past 15 years?
- Other Work – Can you perform any other type of work? Age, education, and past work experience are evaluated.
What types of benefits will I receive when approved?
When approved for Social Security Disability you are entitled to monthly payments as well as medical coverage under Medicare beginning after receipt of 24 months of Benefits.
Do I Need An Attorney?
You do not need an attorney to file a claim. If your initial claim is denied, we can assist you in an appeal. You have 60 days after the date of your denial notice to file an appeal.
The first level of appeal is known as Reconsideration. At this level, a claims examiner who had no part in the original decision reviews your application and medical records.
A second appeal is known as a Hearing. A Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge must be requested within 60 days from the date of the Reconsideration denial. At a hearing, you and witnesses may testify before the Administrative Law Judge.
What Should I Bring When I First Meet With My Attorney?
The initial client interview will last between 1 to 2 hours. Please bring with you to that meeting any paperwork from the Social Security Administration including your most recent denial letter, any medical reports, a list of current prescriptions with dosages or your prescription bottles, and a list of your current doctors as well as current hospitalizations and medical treatments.
How Long Will My Case Take?
An appeal may take more than one year. During that time you must keep our office informed of your medical condition and your employment status.