What Is Social Security Disability Benefits?
Every year hundreds of people have accidents or develop medical conditions that mean they become incapable of working as they did before. Under this definition these people may be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits.
Disability benefits are influenced by any other income or benefit you may receive, they are means based, but there is a strict application process however. The application process is designed to determine whether or not each individual that applies is “totally disabled” as defined by the Social Security Administration.
The application process to determine whether or not a particular person’s situation fits into the category of a Social Security Disability goes as follows:
Step One – The Application – The first step is the filling out of an application form and probably an Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire. As can be expected the application process involves an extensive level of paper work. This gives you the chance to give the Social Security Administration a detailed picture of your situation to help them make the correct decision, and it is important to give them as much information as possible as being vague will do nothing to boost your chances of acceptance.
Your application will need to be supported by medical evidence and a doctor’s verification of the information. Once all of this is submitted the Disability Determination Services based in your state will begin carrying out their extensive fact checking, which takes around six months on average. During this time they may require you to have some consultative exams so they can get more evidence to support your application.
At this first stage only approximately 33 percent of applications are approved. The other 67 percent is likely to have to have to go on to step two.
Step Two – Getting Reconsidered – For one reason or another, the majority of applications for a Social Security Disability Income get denied at the initial application stage. Those that get rejected have 60 days in which to request a reconsideration of the application. This involves getting your initial application reviewed by someone different to the person that looked at the initial application.
On average this process takes another five months and around 88 percent of people who make an appeal will get another rejection letter with an explanation on how they came to their decision. If you still feel that the SSA has made a wrong decision the following steps are available to you:
The hearing – Notify the SSA within 60 days of the reconsideration not being successful.
Appeals Council – If no success is had at the hearing you then have another 60 days to ask the SSA for a review by the Appeals Council.
Federal Court – It is very rare for a claim to come this far, but the large majority that do make it to the federal courts are either denied or sent back to the Appeals Council.
The whole process is indeed very daunting for most people, but there is one option available that can really boost your chances of a successful outcome. This involves employing the services of Social Security Disability lawyers, who are particular useful from the reconsideration stage of the process.
Using a lawyer for Social Security Disability is a good way to shorten the process because these professionals have the knowledge and experience to navigate the complex process and ensure that all the necessary information is submitted to the right SSA department. What’s more is that you do not have to pay for this service upfront because a small percentage of the final claim covers it all. It could mean never having to experience any step beyond step two and receiving the much needed disability benefits sooner.