A chronic medical condition or disability that prevents you from working and earning can put you and your family in financial distress. For those who qualify, Social Security Disability benefits can offer much-needed support.
Applying for benefits can be a stressful process as the Social Security Administration requires extensive documentation and other evidence and adheres to strict guidelines for approval. You do not have to, and should not, undertake this process alone. Instead, contact Pilzer and Klein and speak to a lawyer with expertise in Social Security Disability cases.
What Are Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits offer financial support to former workers whose long-term physical or mental disability or medical condition prevents them from engaging in “substantial, gainful activity” (SGA) and earning income.
SSD payments come from the Social Security Administration (SSA), a United States federal office.
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How Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability?
You may be eligible for SSD if your previous employment paid into SSA, you have earned enough work credits, and your situation fits the SSA’s definition of “disabled.”
To be considered disabled, your condition must be one that has lasted or is expected to last at least a year or lead to death and must make it impossible for you to perform SGA.
You must be at least 18 years old to qualify and cannot have been denied SSD benefits in the past 60 days.
How Do I Apply for Benefits?
Our Social Security disability attorneys can assist applicants file for your Social Security benefits. If you don’t have the assistance of a lawyer, there are three ways to apply for SSD benefits:
- By phone: you can call during hours of operation
- In person: you can go to your local Social Security office, but you must call to make an appointment
- Online: you can complete all application requirements online
It is best to first review the Adult Disability Checklist. Then, complete the full disability benefit application and medical release form.
What Types of Information Will I Need to Provide?
You will need to provide the SSA with personal identifying information, extensive medical information verified by your doctors or other medical personnel, and employment information. To ensure your application is filled and submitted properly and you have included all required documentation, it is in your best interest to secure the help of an SSD attorney.
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What Personal Information Will I Need to Provide?
The SSD application requires:
- Your birthday and place of birth
- Your Social Security number
- Your spouse’s (and any former spouse’s) name and Social Security number, and the date and place of your marriage. If you are divorced or widowed, the date of your divorce or spouse’s death is required.
- The names and birthdates of your minor children.
If you want your benefits to be deposited into your bank account electronically, you will need to provide banking information. The SSA may require a birth certificate or other proof of birth, or proof of citizenship or lawful status if you were not born in the United States.
What Medical Information Will I Need to Provide?
You will need to give detailed information about your illness or disability including:
- Contact information and patient ID numbers for doctors, hospitals, or other places of treatment
- Dates of your treatments
- Names of all your medicines and the prescribing doctors
- Types and dates of all medical testing and who ordered them
The SSA requires specific and comprehensive documentation of medical records, doctor’s reports, test results, treatment regimens, and prognosis.
What Employment Information Will I Need to Provide?
The SSA requires information about your work history including:
- How much you earned for the past and current year
- Contact information for your employer/s for the past and current year
- Your Social Security statement (a copy)
- A list of up to five jobs you have held in the past 15 years, prior to your condition’s onset. You will need to include the dates of your employment at each job.
- Information about workers’ compensation or any other benefits you have filed for or intend to file for from any agency, whether the benefits or permanent or temporary, paid monthly or in lump sum.
The SSA may require additional documentation such as Military discharge papers for those who served and were discharged before 1968, and W-2 and/or self-employment tax returns for the previous year.
What Happens After I Submit My Application?
Once submitted, your application will be processed and reviewed. The time this takes will vary, depending on the type of disability you have and other factors. For example, the review process moves faster for those suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), pancreatic cancer, or leukemia.
Reviewers may contact you with questions or to request additional documentation. The SSA will let you know of their decision to approve or deny your application via US mail, usually within three to six months.
As you await the SSA’s decision, you can check the status of your application online using your “my Social Security” account, or by calling during hours of operation.
What if My Application Is Denied?
If your application is denied, you have the right to appeal the SSA’s decision. The appeal must be submitted within 60 of the date you received notice of the decision and can be submitted online.
Your denial letter will offer guidance on which of the four levels of appeal you should pursue. Your appeal may be for:
- Reconsideration of your application
- A hearing by a judge
- A review of your case by the Appeals Council
- A Federal Court Review
The person most qualified to handle your appeal is an experienced SSD lawyer.
You Need an Expert on Your Side
Whether you are applying for SSD or appealing a denial, you need an expert on your side. Dealing with government agencies and bureaucracy can be extremely frustrating, especially when you are already enduring the physical, emotional, and financial stress of a disabling condition. Attorneys from Pilzer and Klein specialize in managing SSD cases and are well-equipped to handle any bureaucratic complications and comply with government regulations.
Contact us today and put your case and your financial future in a Pilzer and Kleinattorney’s expert, compassionate hands.