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Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Part 2

Q: What are the requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

A: First, you must have a disability that is expected to last or has lasted 12 months, and you must have a substantial work history.  Your qualification then depends on your age and the duration of your work history.

  • In or before the quarter you turn 24 years of age: You must have worked 1.5 years during the three-year period ending with the quarter your disability began.
  • In the quarter after you turn age 24 but before the quarter you turn age 31: You must have worked half the time for the period beginning with the quarter after you turn 21 and ending with the quarter you become disabled.
  • In the quarter you turn age 31 or later: You must have worked during five years out of the 10-year period ending with the quarter your disability began.

Q: When should I apply for SSDI?

A: You should apply for Social Security disability benefits as soon as you become disabled.  It can be a long process and it is advantageous to get the process started early.

Q: How do I apply for benefits?

A: You may come into our offices and we can walk you through the online application process for Social Security disability benefits.  You may go to the SSA’s website and complete an online application on your own, or you may call 800.325.0778 and complete your initial application over the phone.

Q: What information will I need to apply for disability benefits?

A: You will need the following:

  • Your Social Security Number;
  • Your birth or baptismal certificate;
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of the doctors, caseworkers, hospitals and clinics that took care of you and the dates of your visits;
  • Names and dosage of all medicine you take;
  • Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworkers that you already have in your possession;
  • A summary of where you have worked and the kind of work you have done;
  • A copy of your most recent W-2 Form.

Q: What are the key elements used in determining my disability?

A: They are as follows.

  • Are you working?
  • Is your medical condition “severe”?
  • Is your medical condition on the list of impairments?
  • Can you do the work you did before?
  • Can you do any other type of work?

Q: I have already applied for disability and been turned down. How long do I have to appeal?

A: You have 60 days to appeal any denial of benefits. A denial can be appealed the same way you file an application by doing it in person at the Social Security office or by mail. If you mail your application, we recommend you do so by certified mail so the SSA cannot deny that your appeal was filed on time. Of course, if you are our client, we would file the appeal on your behalf and make sure hat no important deadlines were missed. It is always a good idea to let us know if you’ve been denied benefits in the past as sometimes the SSA fails to send us a copy of the decision.

Q: How many stages are there in the Social Security determination process?

A: There are at least four stages in obtaining your SSA benefits. Stage one is the initial application stage. Most people are denied at the initial application stage. The second stage is the reconsideration. After SSA makes their decision on reconsideration, you will have 60 days to appeal the decision and request a hearing. The third stage is the most critical of the four stages. It is the hearing stage. At this stage, you meet the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) assigned to your case. If you are denied at hearing level, you will have 60 days to appeal the decision to the Appeals Council. If you are again denied by the Appeals Council, you have the right to file an appeal in Federal Court. Generally it is extremely difficult to file an appeal in federal court effectively without an experienced lawyer.

Q: What can I do to strengthen my case?

A: The best cases are those with supporting medical evidence. More specifically, the strongest case will include narrative reports and assessments by your treating doctors.  This means that you need to continue seeking treatment from your medical providers as much as possible throughout the entire Social Security application process.

If you have more questions, Jan Dils Attorneys at Law, have years of expertise in helping individuals successfully apply for federal disability payments. Call today at 877.526.3457 for a free initial consultation.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law
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