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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

By Burt Owens

When you become unable to work for an extended period of time due to a serious health impairment, you might qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The application process for these benefits might be a bit lengthy and can take upwards of a year so it is vital you file a claim quickly and in a comprehensive manner in order to substantiate your claim. In the event that you qualify, SSDI will allow you to collect monthly benefits to aid in maintaining your financial stability. Once you are enrolled in a SSDI program, you can then apply for Medicaid which can assist in covering your medical expenses.

Prior to filing a claim for SSDI, you have to check and see if you do meet all the initial qualifications. First, you need to be under the age of 65 to apply. You also will have to have been unable to work for at least five consecutive months before you fill out your application. The disability must last about one full year or it has to be so serious that the expected result would be death.

You also need to be sure that you have fulfilled the minimum employment requirement prior to filing your claim. SSDI uses a formula based on your age and the number of years you've been gainfully employed to determine your eligibility.

Since your benefit must rely on the amount of money you have paid into Social Security, you must have made these contributions while you were employed. Payments into the program are commonly made through payroll deductions from your wages and salary.

Once you have met the initial criteria, you do need to acquire the necessary supporting documentation to file a claim. The documents might include tax forms, employment history, income proof, and prior payments to SSDI. You must present viable proof of medical issues to prove you are disabled and cannot be gainfully employed. The medical documentation may include proof of visits to the doctor, lab reports, prescriptions, treatments, the time you spent in a hospital, and any medical records detailing your condition.

SSDI will take the steps to see if your current medical condition is on their list of impairments which will contain serious conditions which would automatically qualify you as a disabled person.

When the impairment you possess is on the list, you will be in a position of approval. But, do not assume any outcome is guaranteed. Your medical documentation must be comprehensive enough to detail whether or not you really do have such a disability that you claim.

As soon as you procure all of your documentation, you can make an application via your local SSA office or you may apply online.

Due to a backlog of applications, it can take a minimum of 90 days and up to one full year for a claim to be reviewed. Most claims are denied upon first application. In such a case, you can ask that your application is reconsidered. When the reconsideration results in another denial, you have the option of an appeal. The appeals process can also last upwards of 90 full days.

When you reach the point when it is necessary to file an appeal, a great many individuals will hire a disability attorney to help assist in the filing of the claim. To hire an attorney that specializes in the field of disability law can aid you in gaining a positive outcome in your claim for SSDI benefits.

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