THE BASICS OF THE DISABILITY PROCESS
If you become disabled and are unable to work, the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Social Security Disability (SSD) program may pay disability benefits to you and possibly certain family members. However, you must have earned enough work credits to qualify for benefits. This simply means you have worked long enough and recently enough, as well as paid Social Security taxes on your earnings. There are a number of requirements you must meet to qualify for disability. If you meet these requirements and have a condition expected to last at least one year or prove fatal, you may receive a favorable decision for social security disability benefits.
THE DISABILITY APPLICATION PROCESS
Whether you decide to apply in person, by phone, or online, the disability benefits application process follows these steps:
- Gather the information and documents needed to apply. This list is extensive, and it may take some time to find and get everything together. We recommend that you have all this information in your hands when you are ready to apply. This will decrease the amount of time it takes to apply as well as make the process less confusing. We recommend you print and review the Adult Disability Checklist to ensure you have everything you need to accurately complete and submit your application. Complete and submit your application.
- The SSA will review your application to see that you meet their basic requirements for disability benefits.
- The SSA will also confirm that you have worked long enough and earned enough work credits to qualify for SSD.
- If you are currently working, this will be evaluated to determine if you are earning below the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).
- The SSA renders a favorable or unfavorable decision as to whether you qualify for SSD benefits.
ONCE YOU HAVE APPLIED
The time it takes to process a disability application varies depending on the disability, if you have submitted all needed and requested documentation (such as a medical exam), and simply how many cases the SSA is working on at that time. If you are missing specific information, the SSA will reach out and request this information. This is why it is extremely important to have all the necessary documentation assembled before applying. If you are asked to submit information after the initial application process, it adds more time to the decision-making process.
HOW DO I RECEIVE A DECISION?
Once the SSA decides on your case, they will mail you a letter informing you of that decision. We are currently seeing processing and decision times in the 3-to-6-month range.
APPEALING A DECISION
If you are considered ineligible for SSD benefits, you have the right to appeal that decision. You have 60 days from the date of your decision to appeal in writing. However, we will save that for another blog entry. Learn More or Appeal a Decision
SHOULD YOU FILE FOR SSD ON YOUR OWN OR USE AN ATTORNEY?
The bottom line is that filing for SSD can be confusing, overwhelming, time-consuming, and tedious at best. If you have never dealt with the SSA before, it can be an extremely difficult road.
The attorneys of Parmele Law Firm have a combined 130+ years of SSD experience and have helped over 50,000 individuals receive favorable decisions during the last 20 years. Who wouldn’t want that amount of experience fighting for them in a disability claim?
If you or someone you know needs help with beginning a claim or has questions about an existing claim, contact Parmele Law Firm at 417-889-2570 to schedule your no-cost consultation. Parmele Law Firm. Guiding you with integrity, competency, and experience.