If you have a disability or a medical condition that prevents you from working full time, you can access disability benefits from the social security administration (SSA). It is essential to ensure that you understand the application procedures, eligibility requirements, and appeals process. 

Understanding the Social Security Disability Basics

The SSA provides two types of benefits for disabled persons: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The SSDI is supported by deductions from workers’ paychecks and serves people who have contributed to the system. The SSI is for low-income persons, children, the blind, and people with other disabilities. Both programs supplement the income of people who cannot work due to their disability. If you fail to qualify for social security disability through the SSDI, you can still qualify under SSI. In simpler terms, SSDI is available to people who were once in the workforce but can no longer work due to physical or mental disability. The SSI is available to persons who have not worked enough to qualify or earn the necessary credits to access SSDI benefits. 

The Meaning of Disabled

 Who qualifies as a disabled person while seeking SSDI or SSI benefits? You can only qualify if you have a mental or physical condition (physical or mental) that prevents you from working and earning monthly pay as a full-time worker. Your disability must have lasted or expected to stay for a minimum of 12 consecutive months. You may also claim the benefits if your disability is expected to lead to death. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a list of the approved medical conditions and impairments, commonly known as the Listings. This list includes conditions like chronic coronary illness and back impairments. It also includes mental conditions like anxiety, autism, and depression. Other qualifying conditions include vision or hearing loss and Parkinson’s disease. 

Even if a condition isn’t outlined in the approved medical impairments, you may still be eligible for disability benefits. 

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

There are several ways of applying for social security disability benefits. You can apply in person, online, or over the phone. If you have prepared the necessary information and documents in advance, the process goes smoothly. Some of the information you need includes the names of your prescription medication, dates of your therapy sessions, medical processes, and your income tax statements. 

While applying for social security disability benefits, you have to disclose the disability onset date. This was the date when you became too disabled to continue working. This must be supported by medical evidence, records of your work history, and the allegations you outline in your application. In some instances, the SSA may interview your family and friends regarding your disability. 

When SSA Denies Your Claim 

What should you do if the SSA denies your initial social security disability claim? You should not get discouraged; SSA denies many claims for several reasons. You have four opportunities of appealing your claim:

  • Reconsideration
  • An Administrative Law Judge Hearing
  • A review by the SSA Appeals Council 
  • A claim in federal court 

How an Attorney Can Help 

A social security attorney will guide you through the disability benefits application process, help you compile and submit the relevant documents. In case of denial, the attorney will help you file an appeal. Contact Social Security Law Center for guidance on social security disability.