How To File For Social Security Disability

How To File For Social Security Disability

If you have a chronic physical or mental health condition that prevents you from working, filing an application for Social Security disability may provide much-needed financial assistance. But first, you must get through what most people find to be a very confusing process with only about a third of applicants approved to receive benefits.

The information in this article about how to file for SSD through one or both of the disability programs offered by the Social Security Administration is a good place to begin learning about how to improve your chance of success. Your next step should be a consultation with an experienced, South Texas SSD lawyer at the Law Office of Kathleen L. Day for advice and skilled representation.

Choosing a disability program

SSA administers two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While each of them provides monthly payments to people who are disabled and unable to work, they differ in the requirements you must meet to qualify for benefits.

SSI provides benefits to blind or disabled adults or children provided they meet strict financial criteria that place severe limits on available income and assets you own cannot exceed $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a married couple. The program also offers benefits to people based on age rather than disability, but you must be 65 years of age or older and meet the strict financial requirements to qualify for benefits.

Take a look at the requirements to qualify for SSDI and two things jump out to set it apart from SSI. First is the absence of limitations on the value of resources available to you that you have with the SSI program. The other is that SSDI, unlike SSI, requires that you have a work history and paid Social Security taxes on earnings from a job or self-employment.

Besides the financial requirements to qualify for each program, you also must be disabled. The standards used to evaluate whether adults are disabled are the same under both programs.

An SSD attorney can review your specific circumstances, including your available resources and income, to determine which of them is best for you. Of course, an important consideration will be whether you worked for a sufficient number of years to qualify for SSDI.

Another consideration would be whether the application is made on behalf of a child. The lack of a work history prevents a child from qualifying for SSDI, but blind and disabled children are eligible for SSI benefits.

What is a disability for SSD?

Adults filing applications for benefits through SSDI or SSI must be disabled as defined by federal law. An adult is disabled when unable to engage in a substantial gainful activity because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments. The impairments must have lasted or been expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or be expected to cause death.

A child under 18 years of age applying for SSI is disabled when a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or impairments cause marked and severe functional limitations that have lasted or are expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or are expected to cause death.

Your SSD attorney can help by reviewing your medical records to ensure they support your claim for disability benefits. The records should include a medical history, notes, and observations of examinations conducted by physicians and other healthcare professionals, results of diagnostic imaging, and laboratory results.

How to file for SSD

Applications for SSD may be filed using any of the following three methods:

  • Over the phone.
  • In-person.

Filing in person at a Social Security office may be limited because of COVID-19 precautions.

The application process when applying for SSD benefits for an adult involves completion and filing of an application, a disability report, and an authorization allowing Social Security to review the medical records supporting your claim for benefits.

Applying for disability benefits for a child uses a different process than the one for adults. It begins by completing and filing a Child Disability Report, which details the disabling condition and how it affects the child’s ability to function. A consent form allowing SSA to have access to the child’s medical records for review.

After SSA reviews the Child Disability Report, a representative will contact the parents to review household income and resources to determine they are within the limits to qualify for SSI. If the child meets the financial criteria, the SSA representative will start and complete an application for SSI with the parent on behalf of the child.

Consult an SSD attorney filing for benefits

There is too much at stake to file for SSD without the assistance of an SSD lawyer from the Law Office of Kathleen L. Day. Let us review your case to determine if you meet the requirements to qualify for SSD during a free consultation. We will explain the process to you, answer your questions and address any concerns you may have about Social Security disability before filing the claim on your behalf. Contact us today.