What to Know About Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits
A little while ago, we covered the basics of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs in our Complete Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer chapter about how these government-based benefits can help if you are disabled.
However, the fact remains that applying for Social Security Disability in the first place can be complicated and frustrating, especially if you receive a denial of benefits for yourself or a disabled loved one you’re assisting.
Today’s blog post takes a closer look at the SSD application process specifically, and shares some of the situations in which consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer for help is your best course of action.
How Difficult Is It To Apply For Social Security Disability?
In an ideal world, the answer to this question would be “not difficult at all.” And, the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) does indeed try to make it seem easy for deserving claimants to apply for benefits. The SSA has a comprehensive website that allows you to apply right online and outlines the steps to follow.
Unfortunately, as with most government programs, there is a lot of red tape and hoops that claimants must jump through to actually receive benefits. Beginning with a complex disability determination process that involves a network of local SSA field offices and state-level agencies (usually referred to as Disability Determination Services or DDSs), there are many points at which your application can be mishandled, leading to an inappropriate benefits denial.
Additionally, if you do not submit complete documentation with your application, you may also be wrongly denied. There is an appeals process, but increasing your success rate with your initial application will save you frustration and time.
The Right Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Apply for Benefits
The sheer bureaucracy involved with your SSD benefits claim is why you should consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney to help you work through even your initial application. In fact, survey data suggests that only about 25% of initial claims for social security disability benefits submitted by individuals are approved. There are other potential complications beyond a denial, too.
Especially if you are disabled as the result of a workplace injury, you will need to make sure that applying for SSD benefits doesn’t negatively impact any workers’ compensation (WC) benefits you may already be receiving.
Personal injury lawyers who specialize in SSD law can help you build and manage a solid strategy that ensures you get the most compensation possible over time. After all, if you are hurt to the point that you can no longer work, you will need appropriate income to cover bills and regular expenses for the rest of your life.
Quick Review: How Do I Qualify for SSD?
As we previously talked about in our Complete Guide chapter about SSD, you basically need two things to qualify for benefits: proof that you are disabled and solid work history. Sounds simple, right? Not exactly.
Those DDS folks we mentioned above will need access to your medical records and providers who have treated your medical condition or injuries. They will be looking for proof that your injury, illness, or condition significantly limits your ability to do basic work-related tasks such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering for at least a year. If your medical condition is not on the pre-determined list approved by the SSA, you will also have to show that it is as severe as any of those.
In addition to medical qualification, you will also need to have been working recently—and for long enough—in jobs covered by Social Security. You can learn more about the work history aspect of how to qualify for benefits in that Complete Guide chapter we mentioned above.
What About SSI Programs?
If you have never been able to work due to a disability, or you do not have an adequate work history to qualify for SSD, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program may be right for you. Or, it is possible you may be entitled to these benefits AND SSD simultaneously. Statistically fewer people qualify for SSI, so if you have questions or concerns about your or a loved one’s eligibility status, you should feel free to reach out to a compassionate personal injury attorney.
I Have Already Applied for SSD and Received a Denial. What Should I Do?
First, realize that you must act quickly to appeal a denied claim for SSD benefits. You have just two months to submit your appeal. And statistics show that the majority of appealed denials do not convert to approvals upon review.
As soon as you receive a benefits denial decision from the SSA, you need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. While there is no guarantee that we can help change the outcome of an appeal, we will do everything in our power to help you gain access to the benefits you deserve.
Additionally, if you have already been receiving benefits and they have been stopped for any reason, we are ready to assist you in getting your compensation flowing again as quickly as possible.
Westmoreland Injury Lawyers is Here to Get You the Disability Benefits You Are Owed
Now more than ever before, we understand that our neighbors here in Greensburg may be facing uncertainty about their health and wellbeing. If you have been injured at work as an essential employee and are navigating the workers’ compensation system or you are beginning the process of applying for SSD or SSI benefits, we invite you to get in touch with our skilled and caring attorneys.
Throughout Western Pennsylvania, Westmoreland Injury Lawyers is well known for our experience in getting clients the disability benefits they deserve or helping them resume benefits that have been unfairly stopped.
Reach out to us now for your FREE legal evaluation!