Filing for social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits is an important step when a person cannot work due to a disability. The complicated process of applying for SSDI benefits often leads to confusion and frustration. Understanding how to file for SSDI before filling out paperwork can help make the process go much smoother, and consulting a legal professional can take the stress of applying for SSDI benefits off of the shoulders of a person who is struggling with a disability.
Filing for SSDI
There was a time when SSDI applicants were required to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) on the telephone in order to inform a representative about their intention to file for benefits. These individuals would have to go through a lengthy phone interview in order to have the SSA review their case.
Filing for SSDI benefits has become more convenient for applicants who do not want to call the SSA in order to get the application process started. Online applications are available, and forms can be accessed through the SSA’s website. Phone interviews are still available as a method of beginning an application.
Starting an application on the phone or online is just the first step to filing for SSDI benefits. The SSA will obtainl medical records. Unfortunately, sometimes a decision is made based on incomplete medical records and can result in a denial of benefits. This is why it is important not to give up as an appeal may allow a complete and favorable determination to be made on your case.
Forms that need to be filled out in order for an application to be considered to be complete include:
– Application for Disability Insurance Benefits
– Adult Disability Report
– Work History Report
– Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration
Applicants must be ready for the wait after they file their application. It can take five or more months to hear a response from the SSA, and about 70 percent of first-time SSDI benefit applications are denied. It is common for people to need to file an appeal in order to get the benefits that they need. The most cited reason for denying a claim is a lack of evidence of disability.
Filing Under Special Circumstances
Special circumstances may be handled differently than other SSDI benefit claims. Examples of special circumstances that require applicants to take additional steps when filing for SSDI are listed below.
– The disability no longer exists, but the applicant would like to file for retroactive benefits. It may be possible to collect benefits for a period of time during which a person could not work due to a disability. Date of diagnosis will need to be provided to the SSA in this situation, and the disability must have lasted a minimum of one year.
– The applicant is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Applicants must prove that they would suffer from a disability even if they stopped using drugs or drinking.
– The applicant is at or near retirement age. People who are of retirement age may be eligible to collect SSDI benefits if they would be working if their disability was not keeping them from doing so.
– The applicant has passed away since the filing of a claim. It is not uncommon for applicants to pass away due to their condition before hearing a response from the SSA. Spouses and children of the deceased may be able to collect benefits in this situation.
– Self-employed individuals may be eligible for SSDI benefits if they have paid their self-employment taxes.
Filing for SSDI can be a confusing and complicated process, especially if you’re filing under special circumstances. I have ten years of experience in social security cases and appeals, and am ready to fight for your benefits. Contact me today to get started on your case.