What is Social Security Disability? – Overview
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are government-backed programs that provide financial assistance to individuals who meet the disability requirements set by the federal or state governments.
However, before you apply for SSDI or SSI, you should understand these programs’ basics and apply properly to ensure your benefits are delivered promptly. Make sure to keep all relevant documentation requirements on hand when applying for Social Security disability benefits.
Basics of Social Security Disability Benefits
The SSDI initiative provides benefits to eligible individuals and certain family members if the individual has any health insurance.
To do this, you should have worked long enough and earned enough to be paid Social Security taxes on your income. Similarly, the SSI program provides assistance to adults and children who meet specific requirements for an eligible disability and have limited resources and income.
Though SSDI and SSI are two different insurance-assistance programs, their medical eligibility requirements are the same. If you meet the non-medical requirements, you become eligible for monthly financial aid from the government to treat your medical condition. This is applicable only when your medical condition is expected to last at least one year or can be fatal.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
You can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) online or in person.
These are the general steps to apply for Social Security disability benefits:
1. Gather all information and documents you may need to apply for Social Security disability benefits. It is advised to review the Adult Disability Checklist provided by SSA (Social Security Administration) before applying at https://www.ssa.gov/hlp/radr/10/ovw001-checklist.pdf. This information is crucial to ensure that you have all the relevant documents to apply for SSDI or SSI benefits.
2. You will then need to fill out the application form and submit your application.
3. The SSA will review your application to check if it meets the basic requirements for disability benefits.
4. The SSA confirms that you, the applicant, have worked long enough to qualify.
5. The SSA will evaluate your current work activities.
6. The SSA will process your application and forward your application to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
7. The DDS office of your state will make the final decision after determining disability.
Post-Application for Social Security Disability Benefits
Once you have successfully applied for social security benefits, you must be patient and wait. The processing time for disability benefits applications varies. The exact time required for processing an application depends on the nature of the disability, applicable quality reviews, and essential medical evidence/examinations.
Once the SSA receives your application, they will review it and contact you directly if they have any queries or need clarification. The SSA may request additional documents before proceeding further.
Once the state agency has determined your disability, you will receive a letter with the SSA’s final decision. Usually, it may take anywhere between 3 and 5 months for an initial decision to be announced for an application.
In addition, if you add information about members of your family, then the SSA will inform you if they are eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
If you are unsatisfied with the SSA’s decision, you have the chance to appeal it. You can request an appeal in writing within 60 days (2 months) of receiving the notice of the decision. Here are the four levels of appealing an SSA decision to deny your Social Security disability benefits application:
- Hearing by an administrative law judge
- Review by the Appeals Council
- Federal Court Review
Submitting Application for Social Security Disability Benefits
As mentioned, you can choose two methods of applying for Social Security disability benefits – online and in-person.
You can do most of the interactions with SSA using online methods. If you cannot access online services, you can seek assistance at your local Social Security office. You can find the contact details of your local Social Security office using the SSA’s Office Locator link – https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp – and search under the “Social Security office information” option. The toll-free office number on the website will be your local Social Security office.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are the two largest federal-funded assistance programs for people with disabilities. Though the two programs may vary individually, they are both administered by the Social Security Administration. These programs help hundreds of thousands of disabled Americans live comfortable and well-settled lives.