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How To File For Social Security Disability

HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer

Thursday, January 23, 2014



How To File For Social Security Disability
Filing for Social Security Disability

“Social Security Disability” (SSD or SSDI) is an insurance program funded by payroll taxes and administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), an arm of the Federal Government. SSD is NOT Supplemental Security Income, which is a different program administered by the same agency. As you might expect, there are requirements you must meet to qualify for SSD and there are formulas for determining whether you meet those requirements.

How do you apply for Social Security Disability?

First, hire a lawyer who specializes in Social Security Disability claims. He/she can help you assemble the required information and documents and complete/submit all necessary paperwork on time.

Second, no matter which method you use, you should apply as soon as you believe that you or the person for whom you are applying qualifies for SSD. Even if you lack information or documents, the SSA and/or your lawyer can help you obtain them. These claims typically take 3 – 5 months to process, so you’ll want to apply as soon as possible.

Third, with your lawyer’s assistance, review the SSA’s user-friendly Starter Kit here: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits.htm

Fourth, assemble as much required information and documentation as possible and keep all information/documentation in your own expandable file folder. Documents must normally be either originals or certified copies. SSD claims usually require: your Social Security Number and proof of age; Social Security Numbers and proof of age of every family member who may qualify for benefits; information about the doctors, caseworkers, hospitals and clinics that diagnosed/treated you, including their names, addresses, phone numbers and the dates of all your visits; names and dosages of all your medications; any medical records that you already have; lab/test results; a summary of where you worked and what your work entailed; your most recent W-2 or, if self-employed, a copy of your federal tax return; proof of marriage, if your wife/husband is applying for benefits, and applicable dates of prior marriage(s)/divorce(s).

Fifth, you will be required to file an Application for Benefits that can be found here: https://secure.ssa.gov/iCLM/dib and an Adult Disability Report Form (about your work history) that can be found here: Adult Disability Report Form and an Authorization to Disclose Information (so SSA can gather all required information/documents) that can be found here Authorization to Disclose Information

Sixth, depending on your circumstances, you can apply online here: Apply for Social Security Disability
or by phone @ 1-800-772-1213 or @ TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you are deaf/hard of hearing
or by going to your local Social Security Office, which you can find here: Social Security Offices

The SSA will review your application and supporting information/documentation to see whether your meet the two requirements for receiving SSD. The first requirement is that you be totally disabled, as SSD pays only for total disability. (If you are partially disabled or disabled for fewer than 12 months, your help lies elsewhere.) Here, “total disability” means: due to a medical/mental condition, you cannot do the work you did before and you cannot adjust to other work; and the disability lasted or will last for at least 12 months or is expected to result in your death. In order to determine whether you are totally disabled, SSA follows a process that asks potentially 5 questions. There can be some exceptions along the way but these indicate a general rule of thumb.

First, are you working? As of 2014, if you are not working or are working but averaging less than $1,070/month in earnings, you might qualify, so move to question 2.

Second, is your medical/mental condition severe? If your condition interferes with basic work-related activities, you might qualify, so move to question 3.

Third, is your condition in the SSA’s list of disabling conditions? The SSA maintains an extensive list of Part A medical conditions for people aged 18 and older here: Part A Medical Conditions for 18 and older and a more extensive list of Part B medical conditions for people under 18 here: Part B medical conditions for people under 18 If your condition is in the appropriate list, you are deemed disabled. If your condition is not on the list, SSA will determine whether your condition is as severe as a medical condition in the list. If your condition is as severe, you are deemed disabled. If your condition is not as severe, move to question 4.

Fourth, can you do the work you did previously? If your condition is not as severe as one of the conditions in the SSA’s list but the condition prevents you from doing the work you did before, you might qualify, so move to question 5.

Fifth, can you do any other type of work? To answer this question, SSA will consider your age, education, work experience and skills to see whether you can adjust to other work. If you cannot adjust to other work, you are deemed disabled.

The second requirement is that you must have worked long enough and recently enough in employment contributing to Social Security. The SSA uses work credits to determine whether you qualify for SSD. You earn 1 work credit per quarter for earning a certain amount in employment that pays into Social Security, with a maximum of 4 work credits per year. In 2013, the SSA assigned 1 credit to each $1,160 earned in wages or self-employment income, with the total of 4 credits earned for $4,640. In 2014, the SSA raised the amount per credit to $1,200, so a total of 4 credits are earned for $4,800. Generally, in order to qualify for SSD, you must have 40 credits, 20 being earned in the last 10 years including the year you became disabled. This requirement is riddled with exceptions for younger workers, widows/widowers of workers, children of workers, the blind/sight impaired and wounded warriors. Those exceptions each involve special requirements that are best explained by an attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability or by the Social Security Administration itself.


DO’S AND DON’TS


DON’T be intimidated by the process or the people.

DO hire a lawyer who specializes in Social Security Disability claims.

DO apply as soon as you believe that you or the person for whom you are applying qualifies for SSD.

DO review the SSA’s user-friendly Starter Kit here: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits.htm

DO assemble as much required information and documentation as possible.

DO keep copies of all information/documentation in your own expandable file folder.

DO file an Application for Benefits that can be found here: https://secure.ssa.gov/iCLM/dib

DO file an Adult Disability Report Form (about your work history) that can be found here: Adult Disability Report Form

DO file an Authorization to Disclose Information (so SSA can gather all required information/documents) that can be found here: Authorization to Disclose Information

DO apply online here: Apply for Social Security Disability

DO apply by phone @ 1-800-772-1213 or @ TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you are deaf/hard of hearing.

DO apply by going to your local Social Security Office, which you can find here: Social Security Offices

DO understand that the SSA has two basic requirements for SSD:
a. Total Disability; and
b. You must have worked long enough and recently enough in employment contributing to Social Security.

DO understand that there are a number of exceptions that best explained by an attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability or by the Social Security Administration itself.


By Kathy Catanzarite

[Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information cannot be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither HandelontheLaw.com, or any of its affiliates, shall have any liability stemming from this article.]



Source: Kathy Catanzarite - Handelonthelaw.com Staff Writer

Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.





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