As young people, we dream of having a rewarding career that will bring us success and provide for our family. Nobody plans to quit work and go on disability. However, unforeseen accidents and chronic health conditions often make it impossible for people to continue to work.
What would you and your family do if you became disabled today? Many people have limited or no disability insurance at all. Would you be able to survive on your partner’s income? A sizeable savings account can be depleted in no time with household and medical bills. How will you survive the rest of your life with a disabling condition? If you have recently become disabled and are considering filing for Social Security disability benefits, here are some helpful insights into the process.
What Conditions Qualify for Disability Benefits?
What you may assume as “disabling” may not be according to the government’s standards. According to the Social Security Administration, being disabled means that you can no longer work in the capacity that you did in the past. The Social Security Administration’s website gives a detailed listing of diseases and disorders that are eligible for benefits. Talk to an experienced disability attorney for more information about your case.
Filling Out the Application
As you discuss the Social Security Disability process with those who have been approved, you will learn that it takes time and patience. The first step in your journey is to fill out the official application. You can make a paper application to send through the mail, or you can easily complete the online application from the Social Security Administration website.
On the application, you will provide all your personal information, job history, medical history, and reasons for your disability. You must provide documentation for all your claims as well as certifications from medical experts. Be prepared, because most applications are denied the first time around. Don’t be discouraged because you have options.
Filing for Reconsideration
While some people are approved for their Social Security benefits on their first try, most applicants are denied. If your application was denied, you have 60 days to request a reconsideration. The Social Security Administration will review your information again, often approving the case. If you are denied again, you don’t have to give up. File another application with more substantial documentation or request a formal hearing.
Social Security Benefit Eligibility
It’s important to make sure that you’re eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. The following guide will help you determine whether you qualify.
Filing for a Formal Hearing
Perhaps you feel that your application and documentation is solid and does not warrant a second application. You have the right to file for a formal hearing that will be scheduled at your closest Office of Disability and Adjudication Review. At least 30 days before your hearing, you will get an official notice in the mail providing the date and time.
An administrative law judge will hear your case. While this hearing is not a court case, it is recommended that you retain legal representation. Still, you may legally represent yourself. Most disability claim attorneys will represent you on contingency, meaning they don’t get paid unless you win. Then, you will owe them a portion of your disability back pay, which is usually about 30 percent. You are not required to show up at the hearing, but it is in your best interest.
You or your attorney will present your case and documentation before the judge. He or she will ask you a few questions about your case while taking notes. The hearing usually is not lengthy, but you will not get an immediate decision. It will be a few months before you and your legal representation receive the results. You will either get approved with a letter of benefits or another denial.
Making a Final Appeal
Most disability cases don’t go past the formal hearing stage for approval. However, you have one more option left if a hearing denied your case. Within 60 days, you and your attorney have the right to appeal your case to the Appeals Council. This council will once again review your application and documentation and will hear compelling arguments on your behalf. They will also decide on the formal hearing into account. Although there is a chance that you may get approved in this final appeal, be aware that the council usually will not overturn the denial from your hearing.
A Fresh Start: Don’t Give Up
After going through each stage and still getting denied for your Social Security Disability benefits, all is not lost. It is time to regroup with your experienced disability attorney to strengthen your case. You must fill out another initial application, and you will be considered a new applicant. Your attorney may advise you to consult with other medical experts who will provide additional documentation to your claim. See some tips for applying for Social Security benefits here.
It’s better to have a significant amount of documentation and expert opinions to have a better chance of approval. Collect as much information as you can about your physical, emotional, and psychological health. No detail is too insignificant to mention. If you think that your legal representation is not working hard enough in your case, you have the option to choose other counsel. Remember that most disability lawyers do not get paid unless you win your case.
When you are approved for Social Security Disability benefits during any of these stages, you will get an official awards letter from the Social Security Administration. Your monthly benefits will be figured according to how many years you worked and what you have paid into the system up until now. You will get a set monthly payment, as well as one for your spouse and minor children. In most states, you will be eligible for a state Medicaid card.
After a year with benefits, you will be enrolled in the federal Medicare program for your hospital and pharmacy bills. Additionally, you will receive back pay for all the months you waited for approval, starting with the date of your initial application. If you had legal counsel, they would take a portion of this payment for your legal fees.
Filing for disability is a time-consuming process. It’s best to have a good attorney assisting you through this journey. The chances of being approved increase when you have a knowledgeable legal representative by your side. If you get denied, then you should never give up. It often takes many tries to get the approval you need. More info available Here