Social security is a social assistance program that helps millions of people across the country. Designed to assist with income and disability, social security helps both individuals and families. Social security is ideally suited for people who cannot help themselves.
Unfortunately, disability is not as uncommon as people think. In fact, disability impacts people for a number of reasons. Disability can occur as a result of serious accidents or incidents. Disability can develop after years of negative health problems. Some disabilities even seem to appear out of nowhere.
There are many kinds of disabilities. Thankfully, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes these types. The SSA is a governmental federal agency implemented roughly 80 years ago. It was created in order to originally help the elderly. However, since its creation, the SSA has assisted many more people in need.
In fact, the SSA has two primary disability benefits programs. If you are disabled or struggling with a disabling condition, you are not alone. The SSA can potentially assist you through either its SSDI or SSI programs.
So before you apply for social security, you must ensure that you know which program is right for you.
Applying To The Right Social Security Benefits Program
Although both social security disability programs help those who are disabled, each program has different requirements.
The Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) program is specifically designed to ensure that injured workers receive the monetary benefits they need. These benefits are administered to individuals based on a strict set of criteria. Recipients must have worked long enough, and recently enough, to receive benefits. Recipients must have paid into Social Security over years.
By contrast, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program does not have a work history or recency requirement. This program will pay benefits to people who have never even worked. To qualify for SSI benefits, a disabled applicant must have very low assets and income. If you apply for SSI and exceed a certain income, you will not qualify.
Overall, both SSI and SSDI require that you are disabled. Disabled applicants must have a total disability. This disability is expected to last, or has lasted, one continuous year. The disability may also be expected to lead to death. Finally, the disability must prevent what is called substantial gainful activity (SGA).
SGA is based on one’s monthly earnings. If an applicant meets or exceeds a certain monthly earnings, he or she is said to be engaging in SGA. If an applicant is engaging in SGA, he or she will not qualify for benefits.
Be sure to contact a social security agent and a good social security lawyer before applying.
Steps When Applying For Benefits
Once you have decided to apply for social security benefits, you have multiple options. Many applicants choose to apply online. In fact, you don’t even have to be applying for disability benefits, per se, to apply online.
Applicants for Medicare, retirement benefits and spousal benefits can also apply online.
If you are applying for disability benefits online, you must ensure that you:
• Are at least 18 years old;
• Do not receive current benefits under your Social Security record;
• Cannot work due to a disabling medical condition or conditions expected to last at least one year or lead to death;
• Have not applied for, and been denied, benefits in the past 2 months (60 days)
When applying online, you will have to go through a number of steps. Firstly, you will have to print and review what is called, the Adult Disability Checklist. This will help you determine your disability. This checklist is also great for organizing the information you need to prove that disability.
Then, you will need to complete the Disability Benefit Application. This process may take a couple of hours. You will be required to provide extensive information regarding your disability and its effects on your life. Once you have completed this application, you will need to complete the Medical Release Form.
This crucial form ensures that medical professionals can release all relevant medical information on your behalf. Taken together, the Adult Disability Checklist, Disability Benefit Application and Medical Release Form are the basis of the online disability application.
Applying online is preferred for several reasons. Firstly, it can be done relatively quickly and at your own convenience. You can always save your progress and return later. Secondly, you can do this even if you don’t live in the United States. Thirdly, the online process allows you to avoid going to an office.
This is why many applicants use the online application process.
Of course, you don’t have to apply online. Some applicants in unique situations will not meet the previous criteria. If you want to apply another way, you can always call or visit a social security office. Feel free to call social security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
If you choose to go to your local Social Security office, you may do so during normal business hours. You do not need to schedule an appointment. However, scheduling an appointment will ensure that you are served in a more timely manner.
It is important that you obtain the information you need before you apply. It doesn’t matter if you apply online or in-person. Before you do so, you should absolutely consult with a lawyer. The majority of first-time social security applicants are denied benefits.
With the help of a top social security lawyer, you can improve your likelihood of acceptance. A good benefits attorney will also help you obtain all important social security information.
Providing Important Social Security Information
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is very particular about who is approved and rejected. The SSA will not simply award an applicant benefits based on disability. The disability must be severe and lasting. Work capacity must be limited.
If the applicant is applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), that applicant must be significantly poor. His or her assets and income must be quite low.
Again, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can be very stringent in its criteria. This is why a lawyer is so valuable. Before you apply, make sure you have obtained all necessary information. You may also want to receive additional information, just in case.
At times, the SSA may request supplemental information for further proof.
The SSA will require:
• Proof of birth;
• Proof of citizenship or lawful alien status;
• Tax and employment forms;
• Medical records, reports and test results; and
• Proof of any workers’ compensation-type benefits
These are just some of the documents and information you may have to provide. You should always consult an attorney and SSA agent to determine what else you must show. In some cases, the process can be very lengthy and difficult. You may have to repeatedly show information about your work and medical history.
Fortunately, with a good lawyer at your side, you can effectively apply. Consult the experts at Berke Law Firm, P.A. for assistance. Our social security lawyers are prepared to help through all stages of the application process.