Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a form of federal benefits available to individuals who have been injured or developed an illness and are no longer able to work. These benefits are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and require a formal application process that can be time-consuming and highly complicated. To help you evaluate whether you may be entitled to SSDI, and to better understand how the application process works, here are some answers to common questions that you may having regarding disability benefits. If you wish to pursue them, the Social Security lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., are ready to assist Massachusetts residents in filing a claim or contesting a denial of benefits.What is SSDI and who can receive it?
SSDI is a form of benefits available to individuals who are disabled and unable to work, but have not yet reached the age where they can receive general Social Security benefits. In order to receive SSDI, an applicant must meet two eligibility requirements. First, he or she must have worked for a minimum number of years in a position where he or she contributed to Social Security through his or her wage taxes. Each payment is known as a “wage credit,” and a certain number of wage credits are required to be eligible for benefits.
Second, the individual must be considered disabled, as defined by the Social Security Administration, due to a mental or physical medical condition.What constitutes a disability?
For SSDI purposes, a disability arises when an individual suffers from a medical condition that prevents him or her from participating in substantial gainful activity, or work. The condition must have prevented the individual from working for at least 12 months before qualifying as a disability, or the condition must be expected to prevent the individual from working for at least the next 12 months.What is substantial gainful activity?
In order to qualify as disabled, an individual does not have to be so impaired as to be unable to function in any capacity. Instead, the measure of disability is substantial gainful activity, or substantial work. The SSA generally considers work to be substantial when an individual makes more than $1,090 a month doing that work. This can vary slightly for individuals who are self-employed, and they may wish to speak with an attorney about their situation.How do I apply for SSDI?
You can apply for disability benefits online through the Social Security Administration website, or by phone at 1-800-772-1213. You can also apply for benefits by going to your local Social Security office and informing them that you would like to apply for SSDI.What do I need to apply for SSDI?
When applying for SSDI, the most important thing you will need to show is that your medical condition has impaired your ability to participate in substantial gainful activity. This means that you will need to provide the SSA with extensive evidence of your medical condition, including tests, notes, and opinions of doctors, instances of hospitalization or treatment, and any other medical records relevant to your case. The more evidence you can provide to substantiate your impairments, the better your chance of success.What makes an SSDI application successful?
No one medical condition is more likely to receive SSDI benefits than another. Instead, success is dependent on how well you can document your condition. If your impairment is listed in the SSA’s Blue Book of impairment listings, this listing will direct you to the type of medical information that you need to provide in order to automatically qualify for benefits. However, even if your impairment does not match a listing, good medical records can lead to a successful application.How long does it take to get a decision on my SSDI application?
Generally, it takes the SSA three to five months to make a decision on your application for disability benefits. However, this may vary depending on whether you have provided enough medical evidence to support your application, and whether the SSA will need to seek medical records from your treating physicians or send you for an independent medical examination.Can I appeal a denial of my application for SSDI?
You can appeal a denial of your application. When the SSA notifies you of its decision, it will send you a letter explaining that decision. Once you receive the letter, you have 60 days to appeal a denial of benefits. You can file a disability appeal online or visit your local Social Security office in order to do so. There are several stages of appeal available to disability applicants, and a knowledgeable attorney may be able to best assist you with those appeals.Contact a Massachusetts Lawyer When Seeking Government Benefits
The SSA is notorious for its low rate of approval for SSDI applications. This is not because applicants are not qualified to receive benefits, but because they often do not include all of the necessary information for a successful application. For this reason, consulting with a qualified attorney can be critical to your ultimate receipt of government benefits. The Massachusetts attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. can guide you through the SSDI eligibility process as you pursue the benefits that you deserve. For more information, contact us at (800) 367-0871 or online. From or Boston office, we serve applicants in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex, and Plymouth Counties.