If you are unable to work due to a disability, you may have a right to apply for Social Security. However, applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a long and complicated process. Further, the Social Security Administration (SSA) approves less than 40 percent of all applications, even after appeals.
If you or a loved one have attempted to navigate the Social Security process alone, or your application was denied, Social Security Disability lawyer Christopher Dixon can help you. Don’t give up hope. Call 312-600-8054 or toll free 855-402-7274 today for a FREE consultation.
What is Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability (SSD) is part of the overall Social Security federal program, and it assists those who are physically restricted in their ability to be employed, most commonly through a physical disability. Assistance is administered through income supplements.
There are two types of Social Security Disability: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A Social Security Disability attorney can help determine which of the two you should apply for, but our disability lawyers only represent individuals who are seeking benefits under the SSDI program.
The SSDI program pays benefits to an individual and his or her family members if the individual has worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. SSDI can be permanent or temporary, depending on how long the individual’s disability is expected to last. SSDI does not depend on the income of the person receiving it, meaning a legitimately disabled person of any income level can receive it. SSDI is funded through payroll taxes.
SSI provides stipends to low-income people who are aged 65 or older, blind, or disabled. Unlike SSDI, those applying for SSI benefits must be below certain income limits. SSI is funded through the U.S. Treasury Department’s general funds.
Social Security Disability Statistics
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, at the end of 2011, there were 10.6 million Americans collecting SSDI, up from 7.2 million in 2002. In 2013, the average monthly SSDI payment was $1,177. The SSA states that it can take from 90 to 120 days for an application to be processed; the average wait time is around 100 days.
The SSI program benefits approximately 8 million Americans each year. As of 2015, the monthly Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) for an SSI individual is $733 and $1,100 for a couple.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
In order to apply for SSDI, some qualifications must be met:
- Must have worked in a job or jobs covered by Social Security.
- Must have a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of a disability, i.e. your condition is terminal or will last for a year or more and you are prevented from doing any type of work whatsoever.
When applying for social security disability, you will need medical evidence, which may include reports from your treating doctors, medical records, evidence from social workers and welfare agencies, employer records, and various other documents to substantiate your claim. In addition, applicants may be required to undergo additional medical testing. Proper documentation is extremely important whether you are a first time applicant or have been denied benefits and are applying for reconsideration.
Disability benefits under the SSDI program are available to fully disabled individuals who have paid funds into the Social Security trust fund throughout their employment history. While employed, an employee and their employer both make contributions to the Social Security trust fund for the benefit of the employee. These payments are a requirement for qualifying for SSDI benefits.
Social Security Disability Appeals Process
If you have applied for SSDI and received a denial of benefits from the SSA, you can appeal the decision. However, you must act quickly, as the time allowed for an appeal is 60 days after the date you receive your denial letter. The appeals process may consist of multiple stages that require careful attention to deadlines, document submission requirements, and testimonial hearings.
There are four SSDI appeal levels:
- Hearing by an administrative judge
- Review by the Appeals Council; and
- Federal Court review
Remember, the SSA only approves less than 40 percent of applicants each year. On average, an additional 3 percent of applicants are granted benefits through reconsideration, while an additional 13 percent of applications are granted benefits through a hearing by an administrative judge.
Individuals attempting to cope with their disability are often overwhelmed with the appeals process. If strict deadlines and procedures are not followed, your SSDI claim may suffer and your Social Security benefit may be denied.
Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer
Our goal in representing disability applicants is to provide a successful stress free application process. Our experience with the disability claims process will help reduce the chance of denial for qualified first time applicants and increase your chances of success if an appeal is required. Dealing with a disability adds additional hardships to an already burdensome process. Our social security lawyers are familiar with the social security disability requirements that all applicants must follow. We will do everything we can to take the stress out of your claims process.
Our disability attorneys offer FREE case consultation by calling 855-402-7274. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss your case.