Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program offering monthly income to disabled American workers. When you suffer from an illness or injury that leaves you unable to work, finding the money to care for your family and pay your bills is difficult. Disability benefits are one of the most common ways people in this position are able to obtain a steady income despite their disabling health conditions.
If you need help understanding your eligibility, filing a claim for SSDI in North Carolina, or navigating the appeals process, Lunn & Forro, PLLC can help. Our Raleigh Social Security Disability Insurance lawyers have the experience, skill, and resources necessary to help you get the benefits you deserve. Call 888-966-6566 to schedule a time to talk with a Social Security disability attorney today.
What benefits does SSDI offer?
SSDI pays out benefits to people who paid into Social Security during their career but are now unable to work. Once someone receives approval for SSDI, s/he receives a monthly deposit based on his/her past earnings. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees this federal program and outlines the standards necessary to qualify.
A person qualifies as disabled when s/he becomes ill or suffers an injury and is left with an impairment that prevents him/her from earning a living. Typically, these illnesses or injuries are serious in nature, and will either result in death in the coming months or continue to cause a significant impairment for the foreseeable future.
How do I qualify for SSDI?
Applying for and receiving SSDI benefits is notoriously difficult. The qualifications for these benefits are difficult to meet and even harder to prove. They include:
- Having the minimum number of Social Security credits based on your work history
- Demonstrating you are unable to engage in “substantial gainful activity” (e.g., you are unable to make more than a set amount, $1,310 for non-blind individuals in 2021 – due to your health)
- Meeting the SSA’s definition of “disabled” based on your medical records
- Having an impairment that has lasted or is expected to last a year or more or result in death
How can I prove I qualify?
The most difficult part of getting SSDI benefits tends to be providing the proper evidence to prove you meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled. The SSA outlines its standards in a publication known as “the Blue Book.” This book of impairment listings includes many conditions that the SSA deems potentially disabling. To receive approval for your SSDI claim, your medical records must show you have a condition listed in this book (and meet its severity requirements) or one that is so severe it impairs your ability to work.
Many people apply without knowing exactly what the SSA requires to prove impairment, or exactly what their medical records say about their condition and disability. We encourage all our clients to obtain a copy of their medical records so we can compare their diagnosis and prognosis with the impairment listings from the SSA. If the documentation is lacking, we have a network of trusted doctors and specialists who can often help our clients get proper documentation of the diagnosis.
How can I apply for SSDI benefits?
Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance is not difficult. You can apply online, over the phone at 1-800-772-1213, or make an appointment to apply in person at your local Social Security Office.
Before you submit your claim, however, it is paramount you have any available documentation. Not having the proper documentation to submit will delay your claim and is the most common cause of denial.
Once you submit your application, three things can happen:
- The SSA approves your claim and you begin to draw SSDI benefits
- The SSA denies your claim
- The SSA requests a consultative examination
If the SSA requests an examination, you must agree to undergo one if you want to receive SSDI benefits. This exam is key in proving the nature and extent of your disability and may include a physical exam and/or a mental status examination. We can help you understand what examiners are hoping to see in this exam based on your health history and the basis of your claim.
What can I expect from the SSDI appeals process?
Denials are much more common than approvals for an initial claim. If you do receive a letter of denial, do not panic. It does not mean the end of the process for you. If we are not working with you on your claim, give us a call as soon as possible after you receive a letter of denial. You will need someone with the resources necessary to navigate the appeals process for you and to ensure you get the benefits you deserve.
You have 60 days to request reconsideration after receiving a denial letter. We can help the SSA gather the evidence it needs. In many cases, this initial appeal does not get the desired result, but it is a necessary step. We focus on collecting evidence and building a strong case for approval during this time. The next step in the appeals process is a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ).
It is usually during this hearing that we can make the biggest difference for clients. By convincing the judge that our client is unable to work we get our clients the approval they deserve. Once the SSA approves you for benefits, you can also receive back pay covering the months between your initial application and when you gained approval.
Lunn & Forro, PLLC: Your Social Security Disability Insurance Attorneys
The Social Security Disability lawyers at Lunn & Forro, PLLC work with people just like you to ensure they receive the benefits they need and deserve. The SSDI qualification and application process does not have to be confusing and frustrating. Let us use our experience, skills, and resources to help you get the monthly benefits you need. Call our office today at 888-966-6566 to schedule a time to talk to a Social Security Disability lawyer or use our online Free Case Evaluation to have an attorney review your case.
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