Understanding Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to disabled workers and their dependents if the worker earned sufficient work credits by paying into the Social Security system. This is not a government welfare program, but an insurance program funded by the Social Security taxes paid by workers and their employers.
You may be entitled to disability benefits if you have a disability that prevents you from working.
If you have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from working, you may be able to receive benefits from the Social Security Administration to help support you and your family during this difficult time. You can file a Social Security Disability claim prior to full retirement age or if you are already on early retirement. Disability benefits are payable to disabled workers and their dependents.
There are time limits for qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits. You must qualify during the period you are insured for disability benefits as determined by the Social Security Act. If you have already stopped working due to an illness or injury, you should consider filing a claim immediately. Disabled workers can receive disability insurance payments at the same time as other benefits. You may receive disability benefits even if you are receiving Workers’ Compensation, Union Disability, State & Municipal Disability Retirement, or Long Term Disability, subject to certain ceilings.
Social Security Disability Application
The disabled worker must be out of work or expect to be out of work for at least 12 consecutive months. The disability can be caused by a work-related or non work-related injury or illness or a combination of these conditions. All impairments must be viewed together to determine eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits. The Social Security Disability applicant must submit medical evidence indicating the severity and limitations resulting from one or more conditions. Reports must be submitted from approved medical sources, such as licensed physicians and psychologists. Other healthcare providers can provide additional evidence of disability.1
Your Social Security Disability claim should include documentation of your medical history, examinations, laboratory test results, diagnosis, proposed treatment, prognosis and a medical assessment by your doctor as to your ability to perform work related activities. Submission of adequate documentation can be complicated and you may be denied disability benefits if the proper documentation is absent or incomplete.
The timeframe for obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits can vary from months to years. Determining disability, including examinations ordered by the Social Security Administration, can be a lengthy process. If you are denied disability benefits, you have a right to appeal and request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. In some states, a reconsideration appeal is required if you are denied on the initial application. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the claims process, including appeals, and appearances at hearings.
Social Security Disability Information Center
Interested in learning more about Social Security Disability in the U.S.? You can review the following descriptions and click on any of the topics below:
About Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program run by the federal government and paid for by payroll taxes. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for managing the program. SSDI offers financial support to workers who have become disabled and are no longer able to earn a living. Applicants must meet certain work requirements and must meet the SSA’s definition of disabled to qualify for benefits, which will last for the duration of the applicant’s disability.
The Disability Claims Process
More than two-thirds of SSDI applications are denied after their initial submission to the SSA. Many of these are then denied at the reconsideration level, which is the next step in the process of seeking benefits. This means that an applicant who is still interested in receiving benefits must request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge of the SSA. This Judge may approve or deny the claim, based on evidence and information presented at the hearing. If the claim is denied, the applicant can take the next step, which is filing an appeal with the Appeals Council. Our New York Social Security Disability firm provides aggressive, experienced counsel at every stage of the process.
Filing an SSDI Application
Filing an application for disability benefits can be complicated. An applicant must provide the SSA with sufficient information to prove his or her identity and age, as well as provide evidence that the applicant meets work requirements and is actually disabled. A lack of sufficient information and supporting documentation, such as medical records and test results, may mean that a claim will be denied. That is why it is important to ensure your claim is properly filed.
Social Security Disability Myths
Some people have heard conflicting information and completely false data about the Social Security Disability system. On this page of our website, we address some of the most common myths on this subject, providing helpful insight as to what really happens and what an applicant can expect when applying for benefits.
SSDI Eligibility Requirements
The eligibility requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance are strict. An applicant must meet work requirements in order to be considered “insured” by the program, and this means that he or she must have earned a specific number of work credits. These are earned based off a worker’s wages or income. The number of credits required will vary depending on the worker’s age. Then there is the matter of meeting disability requirements. Generally speaking, the worker must have a disability that has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months and must be unable to be gainfully employed.
What is a Disability?
A disability may be a physical or mental condition that is so severe that it renders a person unable to work and earn money. To determine whether an applicant is disabled, the state Disability Determination Services office will look at five key issues: 1) Is the applicant currently working? 2) Is the applicant suffering from a severe physical or mental condition? 3) Is the condition included on the List of Impairments? 4) Can the applicant perform the work he or she previously performed? 5) Can the applicant perform any other type of work?
Working with an Attorney
In applying for disability benefits, you are not required to hire an attorney. There are several benefits that an attorney knowledgeable in these matters can provide, however, such as properly filing the application with all necessary information, prepping for a hearing, filing an appeal and handling any and all legal paperwork and documentation related to the application. Instead of worrying about how you will receive benefits, you can let your lawyer use his or her knowledge and resources to properly handle your claim.
Denied benefits? We can assist you.
We can help you obtain and submit evidence to get you the benefits you deserve. We can provide guidance regarding the forms that are sent by the Social Security Administration to process your claim. If you are a disabled worker who has been denied disability benefits, you are not alone. In 2011, the government denied 64% of Social Security Disability claim applications.2
Disabled workers are usually denied disability insurance benefits because they fail to meet the definition of disability as defined by the Social Security Regulations. Many of these denials are based upon failure to assemble enough evidence for proof of disability. Our attorneys can advise you on these issues and expedite your claim. If you have already filed and been denied disability benefits, do not give up. Contact us now to speak to an attorney in our Social Security Disability Department. An attorney for Social Security Disability will offer you a free evaluation to determine your benefits eligibility.
Contact a New York Social Security Disability attorney at our offices today for experienced legal advice.
1 Social Security Administration. (2011, February 9). Medical/Professional Relations. Retrieved January 15, 2012, from Social Security Online:http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/greenbook/ce-evidence.htm
2 Social Security Adminstration. (2012, January 4). Selected Data from Social Security’s Disability Program . Retrieved January 15, 2012, from Social Security Online: http://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/dibStat.html#f1