Every year the Social Security Administration (SSA) receives over 2 million applications for Social Security Disability benefits. Of these applications, only 30 percent are approved at the initial stage of the application process. Oftentimes, initial applications are denied due to a lack of information, misunderstanding of the disability requirements or improper preparation of the evidence provided. If you are filing an application for disability benefits, understanding the requirements and what is expected of you can help increase your chances of a favorable decision. Before applying for Social Security benefits, it’s good to ask yourself the following questions.
There are two types of Social Security benefits available to disabled individuals. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) which are for individuals who have accumulated enough work credits to qualify for disability benefits. Workers who pay into the Social Security program usually receive four credits per year. The number of credits needed to qualify for SSDI benefits will vary depending on your age and your work history.
If you do not have enough credits to qualify for SSDI benefits, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI). Supplemental Security Income is a needs-based disability program.
To qualify for SSI payments your household income and cannot own more than $2,000 in assets as well as meet the following qualifications:
Your medical records play the biggest role in whether or not you are qualified to receive Social Security Disability benefits. If you do not have the proper medical records, your application for disability is likely to be denied. Gather up all copies of your medical records before filing your disability claim and make sure those records include documentation of your disability and how it interferes with your ability to work.
If your doctor is willing to provide a written affirmation attesting to the fact that your disability prevents you from working you will be much more likely to be approved for social security disability benefits. Discuss your plan to apply for benefits with the doctor or doctors who are treating your condition and ask them if they are willing to provide a written statement regarding your condition and how it affects your ability to perform substantial gainful work activity.
The SSA mandates that you continue with all medical treatments that your doctor has prescribed for you. Whether it’s continuing therapy or taking certain medications you must continue all prescribed medical protocol.
In most cases the SSA examiner will request that you go in for a consultative exam with a medical professional assigned to you to determine the extent of your disabling condition. Many applicants wonder if they are required to attend this exam in order to receive disability benefits. The answer to this question is yes. If you hope to receive disability payments, you will need to attend the consultative exam if one is requested.
It is possible to work and also file for disability benefits. However, this is a bit of a tricky matter. It can take months or even years to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits. With Social Security Disability Insurance, you can’t earn more than what is considered “substantial gainful activity” or SGA that will disqualify you for benefits. For 2019, SGA is set at $1,220 per month.
You do not need a attorney to apply for disability but it certainly helps. If your initial application is denied and 60% of them are, it may be in your best interest to retain the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney. Statistics show that individuals who are represented by an attorney during the disability appeal process are more likely to receive a favorable outcome than those who are not.
Filing for disability can be a complex and confusing topic. Understanding the information above can help you in obtaining a favorable decision regarding your disability application. If, for some reason, your application for disability benefits is denied, you should consider hiring a Social Security Disability attorney to file an appeal regarding the decision.
The experts at The Disability Champions can help you. Give us a call today for a free evaluation.