The Social Security Disability insurance program (SSDI) is a U.S. Government program funded by taxes and run by the Social Security Administration. The program was designed to assist people who are expected to be disabled for more than one year or who have become permanently disabled.
When you apply for Social Security Disability, the burden of proof is on you. The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a list of medical conditions it considers disabling, but having a condition that is listed is not sufficient in and of itself to have your claim automatically approved. When you apply for disability, the SSA will look at the following high level requirements:
- Your disability must prevent you from doing the same work you did before;
- The SSA must determine you are unable to transition to other work due to your medical condition;
- Your disability must be expected to last for at least a year or be terminal;
- You must have accumulated sufficient work credits to be eligible.
In addition, the SSA may also deny your claim if your disability is due to alcohol or drug use, if you do not go to scheduled doctor’s appointments or are otherwise uncooperative.
In a recent study of SSD claims between 1999 and 2008, initial claims were denied at an average rate of 53%.1 Many cases were denied because the application was incomplete or did not meet proof of disability. If you are filing a claim for disability, it is important to make sure your application contains complete information.
Supplemental Security Income
You may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program is designed to help provide basic living expenses for people with low income and few resources who are 65 or older, blind or disabled. SSI is separate from regular Social Security payments and from SSD payments. More details about SSI eligibility can be found on the SSA website at www.socialsecurity.gov.
If either your initial SSDI or SSI claim is denied, you have only 60 days to appeal the SSA’s decision. If the Social Security Administration terminates your existing benefits, that appeal deadline drops to 10 days. There are four levels of appeals beginning with a request for reconsideration and going to a Federal Court review. You have the right to have an attorney help you navigate the complex review process. The attorney cannot charge you without first getting written approval from the Social Security Administration. The Huntsville Social Security Disability attorneys at Martinson & Beason offer a free review of your situation. Contact us today to learn more.