SSDI: Understand the Process
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is in place for those not able to work because of a medical or mental health condition. However, the road to benefits can be long and confusing for many. Knowing what is about to happen to your application may help you also understand what to do and how to get things corrected when they go wrong.
Your Work Credits Get Checked
You must have worked enough to earn a certain level of income within a period of time to be eligible for SSDI. The Social Security Administration (SSA) tracks your income using work credits and they can be complicated to calculate. Luckily, you don't have to. You can find out whether or not you have worked enough to get benefits by accessing your account online or by phoning a Social Security office.
Your SGA Is Checked
At nearly the same time as your work credits are verified, something called substantial gainful activity (SGA) is checked. In general, that phrase means that you are not doing work and making income. Once you have been approved, you may be able to perform certain types of work and make a limited amount of income (or SGA), but not while applying for benefits.
Your Medical Condition Is Evaluated
Being approved for benefits is mostly about your health once you get to this stage. A specialized group of caseworkers in the disability determination services (DDS) will review your medical information and several things must all be true.
- Your condition should be a covered condition.
- Your condition should meet the requirements by demonstrating that you have sought medical care, have had certain diagnostic tests, and meet all standards for severity.
- You must have suffered from the disability for a certain period of time (or expect to in the future).
- Your condition makes it impossible to work at your most recent job.
- Your condition makes it impossible to work at an alternate job.
Unfortunately, this rigorous process leaves many applicants with a denial. However, you are entitled to reconsideration and an appeal and that is when many do get approved. Don't leave this stage of the process to chance and risk a final denial. Speak to a Social Security disability lawyer about your case and go through the appeals process armed with arguments to convince the hearing officer of your need for benefits. Talk to a lawyer and find out how you can receive this invaluable help with your case with no upfront legal fees owed.