Apply As Early As Possible
The first thing to realize about applying for Social Security disability benefits is that it is often a lengthy process, Geist said.
Once an initial application is filed with the Social Security Administration, it can take three months to five months to get a decision. If that initial application is denied, it can take four months to six months for the application to be reconsidered on a first appeal, Geist said.
From there, if the application has to be reviewed at a hearing, it can take up to 12 months just to get scheduled before a judge, Geist said.
Apply as early as possible, because it is a long process, Geist said.
A 2020 Government Accountability Office report found that about 1.3% of applicants filed for bankruptcy while waiting on their appeals, and 1.2% died before receiving a final decision.
Many particularly those without legal representation end up wrongfully denied on multiple occasions before finally being approved with a lawyers help, said Rebecca Vallas, senior fellow that the Century Foundation. Untold numbers spend what savings they have to try to stay afloat while waiting for an appeal to be heard and countless more lose their homes in the process.
There are about 8.2 million disabled workers collecting benefits, according to the Social Security Administration. Their average monthly benefit is $1,277.
How Do You Qualify For Ssdi
To qualify for SSDI, you need to meet some basic requirements.
- You must have earned a sufficient number of work credits.
Work credits are basically points you accumulate by earning, and paying Social Security taxes on, a certain amount of money. In 2018, you earn one work credit for every $1,320 in wages or self-employment income. You can earn four credits per year, so once youve earned $5,280 in taxable income in a year, you cant earn any more credits until the next year.
The specific number of work credits you need to qualify for SSDI will vary depending how old you are when you become disabled. As a general rule, you can potentially qualify if youve earned at least 20 credits in the 10 years prior to becoming disabled and if youve earned a total of 40 credits or more.
However, if youre younger when you become disabled, the work credit requirement is reduced based on age. For example, if youre under 24 when you become disabled, you can become eligible for SSDI if youve earned at least six work credits in the three year period before your disability occurs.
If youre between the ages of 24 and 31, you can qualify if youve earned work credits at least half the time between age 21 and the time you develop your disability. If youre between the ages of 31 and 62, theres a chart showing the number of credits you need.
- You cannot be engaged in substantial gainful activity
- You have to meet the definition of disabled
- You must be unable to do any job youre qualified for
The Disability Application Process
Whether you apply online, by phone, or in person, the disability benefits application process follows these general steps:
- You gather the information and documents you need to apply. We recommend you print and review the . It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
- You complete and submit your application.
- We review your application to make sure you meet some for disability benefits.
- We check whether you worked enough years to qualify.
- We evaluate any current work activities.
- We process your application and forward your case to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
- This State agency makes the disability determination decision.
To learn more about who decides if you are disabled, read our publication .
Once You’ve Applied
Once we receive your application, well review it and contact you if we have questions. We might request additional documents from you before we can proceed
Look For Our Response
Youll receive a letter in the mail with our decision. If you included information about other family members when you applied, well let you know if they may be able to receive benefits on your record.
Check The Status
You can check the status of your application online using your personal mySocial Security account. If you are unable to check your status online, you can call us 1-800-772-1213 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Appeal A Decision
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Listing 800 Skin Disorders
There are many different types of skin disorders that we hear about on a daily basis, but just because a skin disorder is inconvenient, that doesnt mean that it will necessarily qualify to receive SSD benefits. To qualify for benefits, the skin disorder must be disabling and prevent you from performing the duties of your work. Some of he most common skin disorders that may qualify to receive benefits are Bullous Disease, Chronic Skin Infections, and Ichthyosis. View full Blue Book List here
How To Apply For Ssdi Benefits
You can apply for disability benefits in person, by phone, or online. Applying for SSDI assistance follows a general set of steps:
- Review the SSAs Adult Disability Checklist and gather all the necessary documentation.
- Complete and submit your application.
- Wait for your application to be processed by the SSA and sent to the Disability Determination Services office in your state, who will make a disability determination regarding your case.
The application process can be complicated and frustrating. You dont have to navigate it alone. Statistics prove that those who pursue Social Security benefits with the assistance of an attorney have an increased chance of approval. With legal guidance, you can present the most solid case for your eligibility and navigate the appeals process in the event that your application is denied.
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Is Your Disability On The Ssa List Of Medical Conditions
The SSA has a Listing of Impairments that it will reference. Conditions on this list can be severe enough to keep someone from SGA.
If your condition is on the list, thats a good sign for your application. If your condition is not on the list, the SSA will compare it to a similar condition on the list. If your disability is as critical as a listed condition, the SSA considers it severe.
Conditions That Qualify Faster
Some diseases qualify for faster approval. The SSA will automatically agree that they are full disabilities.
Some cases are eligible for Compassionate Allowances. As soon as the SSA confirms your diagnosis, you can get approved for benefits. Pancreatic cancer, acute leukemia, and Lou Gehrigs disease are examples.
The SSA also uses Quick Disability Determinations screening. It will identify conditions that are highly likely to qualify. The process can provide faster approval for very severe cases.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements To Get Social Security Disability Benefits
To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked long enough in jobs covered by Social Security . Then, you must have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability.
In general, we pay monthly benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more, or who have a condition expected to end in death. The disability must be so severe the worker cannot work, considering age, education and experience.
If you think you may be eligible to receive disability benefits and would like to apply , you can use our online application.
Applying online for disability benefits offers several advantages:
- You can start your disability claim immediately. There is no need to wait for an appointment
- You can apply from the convenience of your home, or on any computer and
- You can avoid trips to a Social Security office, saving you time and money.
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Qualifying Without The Impairment Listing
The impairment listing isnt the only way to obtain disability benefits for depression. Instead, claimants can be granted a medical-vocational allowance, which in fact is how the Administration approves most disability claims for depression.
To determine whether to grant disability benefits under a medical-vocational allowance, the Administration considers how depression symptoms affect the ability to do unskilled work that demands abilities to
- Comprehend, remember, and execute simple instructions,
- Make simple decisions necessary for the work,
- Respond properly to supervision and cooperate with co-workers, and
- Adapt to changes in routine.
If depression is the only impairment claimed on the disability application, an award of benefits is a long shot unless the condition is a major case, severe, and obviously disabling. But with a concomitant physical or another mental impairment in addition to depression, there is a better chance for benefits.
If the Administration decides that the mental impairment makes even simple, unskilled work impossible, the claimant will receive disability benefits. If the Administration decides that the claimant has the mental and emotional ability to do unskilled work but that a physical impairment requires sedentary work, the claimant could receive disability benefits if not qualified to do any available sedentary jobs.
How To Apply For Social Security Disability Insurance
There are three ways to apply for SSDI:
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Should I Look Into Private Disability Insurance If I Am At Risk For Covid
Individuals can buy private disability insurance and should shop around if they are concerned they may need it, Blewitt said.
There are four key questions to ask insurance companies, according to Usa.gov:
- How does the policy define disability?
- When do benefits begin?
- How long will the benefits last?
- How much money will the policy pay?
How Can You Know If You Qualify For Social Security Disability
Each person must complete an application to apply for benefits. You can do this by:
- Applying online
- Visiting a local Social Security office
You will need to provide proof of your medical condition. Youll also need to show that you cannot work and have earned enough work credits.
You should also apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled. You cannot receive benefits until your sixth full month of disability. Its best to get started immediately so that you do not have to wait too long.
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Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits For Asthma
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 25 million Americans have asthma. Obtaining Social Security disability benefits for asthma can be difficult most cases of asthma are controllable. However, a small percentage of people with asthma are unable to work because of their condition. If you are one of them, you may be eligible for benefits.
Social Security Entitlement Requirements
Many people who are eligible for Supplemental Security Income may also be entitled to receive Social Security benefits. In fact, the application for SSI benefits is also an application for Social Security benefits. We often need to obtain additional information from the person before we can award Social Security benefits.
The following sections provide information on who may be entitled to Social Security benefits.
TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS AS A WORKER YOU MUST BE:
Age 62 or older, or disabled or blind and
“Insured” by having enough work credits.
For applications filed December 1, 1996, or later, you must either be a U.S. citizen or lawfully present alien in order to receive monthly Social Security benefits.
HOW MUCH WORK DO YOU NEED TO BE”INSURED”?
We measure work in “work credits”. You can earn up to four work credits per year based on your annual earnings. The amount of earnings required for a work credit increases each year as general wage levels rise.
To be eligible for most types of benefits , you must have earned an average of one work credit for each calendar year between age 21 and the year in which you reach age 62 or become disabled or blind, up to a maximum of 40 credits. A minimum of six work credits is required, regardless of age.
The rules are as follows:
|Born After 1929|
WHO CAN RECEIVE BENEFITS ON YOUR EARNINGS RECORD?
If you are receiving retirement or disability benefits, your spouse may qualify if he or she is:
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How To Apply For Ssdi
Applying for SSDI benefits can be done online, in person at your local Social Security office or over the phone. The application process is tedious and can be painstaking if you or your advocate arent well-organized. If you have a medical condition that is severe enough to keep you from working for a year or longer, start the process as soon as you stop working.
Step-by-Step Application Process for SSDI Benefits
Medical Conditions For Ssdi
The Social Security Administration has a narrow definition for disabled, and the conditions are judged by state agencies known as Disability Determination Services.
The principle conditions that must be met to receive benefits include:
- Unable to do the same work you did before you became disabled
- Unable to do other jobs
- Having a disability that is expected to last more than a year or lead to death
SSDI pays only for total disability. There are no SSDI benefits for partial or short-term disability.
The Social Security Administration reviews your initial application to see if it meets the basic requirements, then sends it to your states Disability Determination Services office. The office investigates and determines whether the medical evidence supports the disability claim. It considers evidence from doctors, hospitals, clinics or institutions that answer questions about your medical history, tests, treatments and your ability to do work-related activities like walking, sitting, lifting and remembering instructions.
After reviewing the evidence, the state agency decides if you qualify. If your claim is approved, you will be notified by letter, which will show the amount of benefits and when the payments will start. If you are denied, the letter will explain why and tell you how to appeal the decision. Again, 62 percent of first-time applicants are denied.
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Musculoskeletal System And Connective Tissue
The SSA reports that the largest category of diagnoses among disabled workers receiving disability benefits was diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue. These disabilities, which represented 32.3 percent of the diagnoses, involve damage to ones nerves, muscles, tendons or ligaments. Examples of this type of disorder include:
- ArthritisAn individual with rheumatoid arthritis, a disorder of the immune system, must experience significant limits on his or her ability to work to qualify for benefits under this medical diagnosis. Rheumatoid arthritis is sometimes referred to as a connective tissue disorder.
- Back pain Abnormal curvature of the spine may affect an individuals ability to walk as well as the function of other body systems. The intensity of back pain and the limitations on an individuals ability to function are considered in a disability diagnosis related to back pain.
- FibromyalgiaFibromyalgia is a complex syndrome in which a person has widespread pain in the joints, tendons, muscles and soft tissues that lasts for more than three months. Claims reviewers will try to assess whether there is adequate evidence to show that the condition limits a persons ability to perform any type of gainful work.
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy RSD describes a range of symptoms that may occur from injury, diseases or surgery. RSD is characterized by intense burning or aching pain typically caused by trauma to a single extremity.
Which Medical Conditions Are Likely To Qualify For Disability
While any of the above medical conditions are SSDI and SSI qualifying disabilities, some medical conditions are more likely to lead to an approval of benefits than others. We recently surveyed our readers about their experiences in applying for disability benefits and compared their answers to government statistics. For details, see our article on survey statistics on getting Social Security disability for common medical conditions.
How To Qualify For Disability Income
There are a few factors that Social Security looks at to determine your eligibility for disability benefits.
First, you must have held a job that Social Security covers. Essentially, that means you pay into Social Security, either through self-employment taxes or directly from your payroll. According to the Social Security Administrations data, 89% of working U.S. citizens between the ages of 21 and 64 meet this qualification. While you do that, you earn Social Security work credits which help you qualify for disability benefits.
The amount you need to earn for a work credit varies between years. For 2021, you can earn one credit per $1,470 in income. Earning $5,880 in wages or self-employment income earns you four credits in total the maximum available annually.