Social Security disability benefits are vital benefits for many disabled individuals who are unable to work because of a disabling medical condition. Social Security disability (SSD) provides a much-needed safe guard for 9 million Americans who are unable to work because of a medical condition. Unfortunately, navigating the application process for SSD benefits can be challenging so some tips can help.
Social Security disability insurance is a program that workers pay into through their payroll taxes. Though the application and appeals processes can be challenging, it is worth it to know how to approach them so disabled individuals can obtain the benefits they need. To begin with, it is helpful to understand eligibility requirements for Social Security disability benefits. To receive benefits, applicants must suffer from a medical condition that is so severe it prevents them from working and is expected to last 12 months or longer or result in death.
In addition to medical requirements, work history requirements also apply and the applicant must have paid payroll taxes for the last 5 of 10 years. Applicants should also be prepared to provide both detailed medical records and work history records as well when applying for SSD benefits. It is also important to promptly apply because the process can be so lengthy. The initial application may not be reviewed for 3 to 6 months and only 1 in 3 initial applications are initially approved. Denials are common so it is also important to be familiar with appeals options which can also take 600 to 800 days before the applicant receives a hearing which is one part of the appeals process. Some applications may be processed more quickly if the medical condition is on the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances list.
In the meantime, it is important to engage in careful budgeting and maintain health insurance whenever possible. Overall, it is also valuable not to be discouraged, to be as familiar as possible with the process and keep in mind that trained guidance through the process can also be helpful when seeking important SSD benefits.
Source: Kiplinger Personal Finance, “5 Tips on Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits,” Michael Stein, April 24, 2018