Social security disability benefits are an essential source of income for people who cannot work due to a physical or mental disability. Applying for these benefits can be a complex and time-consuming process. It is vital to have a full understanding of their requirements before beginning the application.
While you are not required to have an attorney to apply for social security disability benefits, having one can increase your chances of success and minimize any errors that could delay your financial relief. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the application process, gather the necessary documentation, and present your case in the most favorable light. By better understanding the requirements and process, you are better positioned to obtain the benefits you need and deserve.
Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits?
There are mandatory requirements you must meet to qualify for social security disability benefits:
- You must clearly be unable to work due to a documented physical or mental disability: The disability must be severe enough to prevent you from working at any job on a full-time basis.
- You must have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify for Social Security: There must be a documented work history for five out of the last 10 years before your disability qualifies. The amount of time you need to have worked depends on your age.
- Your disability must be projected to last at least one year or result in death: If your condition is not expected to improve, you may qualify for additional benefits that extend beyond the usual disability benefits.
If you have any questions about your qualifications or the application process, you should consult an experienced social security disability attorney.
What Is the Social Security Administration’s Definition of Disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a very specific definition of disability. To be considered disabled by the SSA, you must:
- Be unable to do your job: Your disability must be so severe that it prevents you from doing the same job you held before your disability began.
- Be unable to adjust to other forms of work because of your medical condition: If you cannot adapt to other types of work because of your disability, the SSA will find you disabled.
- The SSA will also consider your age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have when determining if you can adjust to other work. If you cannot adjust to other work, you will qualify as disabled.
How Can a Social Security Disability Attorney Help Me?
If you are considering applying for social security disability benefits, you may wonder if hiring an attorney is worth the cost. While you are not required to have an attorney, there are many ways in which an experienced social security disability attorney can help you, including:
- Determining eligibility: An attorney will make an initial assessment of your case to determine if you are likely to qualify for benefits. They will analyze your work history, medical records, and any other relevant information to make the best case.
- Gathering evidence: To prove your case, you will need to submit a substantial amount of evidence to the SSA. This includes medical records, work history, and statements from witnesses. An attorney can help you gather this evidence and present it in the most favorable light.
- Navigating the application process: The social security disability application process is an intense information-collection process. With many deadlines and areas for human error, it can be easy to make a mistake that will jeopardize your chances of approval. An attorney can take care of the application process for you and make sure that everything is submitted correctly and on time.
- Appealing a denial: If your initial application is denied, you have the right to file an appeal. During this process, you will need to submit more evidence and attend a hearing. An attorney will re-examine your case and help you prepare for the hearing.
Q: What Should You Not Say in a Disability Interview?
A: You should avoid saying anything that would make it appear as though your disability is not stopping you from working. You should also avoid making any statements that would contradict the medical evidence in your file. Your condition will be closely analyzed to ensure that it meets the SSA’s definition of a disability, so any misstatements you make could jeopardize your claim.
Q: What Are Some of the Most Common Disabling Conditions?
A: Some of the most common disabling conditions include:
- Mental disorders (depression, anxiety, schizophrenia)
- Musculoskeletal disorders (arthritis, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Cardiovascular disorders (heart disease, stroke)
Many of these conditions are chronic and can significantly impact your ability to work.
Q: How Long Does Approval for Social Security Disability Benefits Take?
A: The time it takes to get approved for social security disability benefits varies on a case-by-case basis. In general, the claims process takes about three to five months, but this timeframe can be extended if your claim is complex or if you need to go through the appeals process.
Q: What Would Disqualify Me for SSDI?
A: There are a few different things that could disqualify you for social security disability benefits:
- You are still engaging in substantial gainful activity and earning a solid income.
- Your disability is not expected to last for at least 12 months.
- Your condition does not meet the SSA’s definition of a disability.
If any of these apply, you will likely be denied benefits. Anyone who feels like the SSA’s decision is unfair or inaccurate should feel encouraged to submit an appeal with new information that combats the SSA’s conclusions.
Contact Gade & Parekh, LLP, Today
If you need legal assistance with your social security disability claim, the experienced attorneys at Gade & Parekh, LLP, are here to help. We have a proven history of success in handling these cases, and we’re dedicated to fighting for the benefits you deserve. We can review your case and advise you on the best course of action to ensure that you get the benefits you need to maintain your quality of life. Contact us today for a consultation.