More Questionsschedule A Free Consultation To Discuss Your Disability Claim
Whether you are just exploring the application process, trying to get together the information you need, or deciding what to do after your claim was denied, our dedicated South Florida disability lawyers can help. Schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation today to discuss your SSDI or SSI claim.
Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Sosa has offices in West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie, and our committed SSD lawyers will travel anywhere in South Florida to meet at a place that is convenient for you.
What If You Don’t Have Enough Work Credits
If you don’t have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, it’s possible you may be able to qualify based on a spouse’s or parent’s work record. For example:
- Widows or widowers between the ages of 50 and 60 who become disabled may qualify for widow’s disability benefits based on a spouse’s work history.
- If you become disabled before age 22, you can be classified as an adult child and potentially become eligible for SSDI benefits based on a parent’s work history.
The Social Security Administration has more information on qualifying for benefits on a family member’s work history. If you can’t qualify based on your own work record or a family member’s work record, then you will not be able to get SSDI benefits. However, you may still be eligible for disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income program.
Providing Your Residual Functional Capacity
An RFC is a detailed assessment of your ability to perform certain work-related activities in light of your symptoms. Your RFC is the most you can do on a regular and sustained basis and is created using the objective medical evidence in your file. RFCs can be either physical or mental assessments. If your condition doesn’t meet a listing, then RFCs are one of the most important things that your doctors can provide for you.
Remember, though, that RFCs must be supported by objective medical evidence for the SSA to give them consideration otherwise the SSA can disregard them.
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How Work Credits Are Calculated
Regarding past work and FICA contributions, most workers will need to have worked for at least five of the past ten years in order to be insured under the SSDI benefits. The exact requirements vary depending on your age, with younger and older workers having less stringent requirements than workers in their 30s and 40s.
Other Ways You Can Apply
Apply With Your Local Office
You can do most of your business with Social Security online. If you cannot use these online services, your local Social Security office can help you apply. Although our offices are closed to the public, employees from those offices are assisting people by telephone. You can find the phone number for your local office by using our Office Locator and looking under Social Security Office Information. The toll-free Office number is your local office.
Apply By Phone
If You Do Not Live in the U.S. Or One of Its Territories
Contact the if you live outside the U.S. or a U.S. territory and wish to apply for retirement benefits.
Mailing Your Documents
If you mail any documents to us, you must include the Social Security number so that we can match them with the correct application. Do not write anything on the original documents. Please write the Social Security number on a separate sheet of paper and include it in the mailing envelope along with the documents.
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Should I Look Into Private Disability Insurance If I Am At Risk For Covid
Individuals can buy private disability insurance and should shop around if they are concerned they may need it, Blewitt said.
There are four key questions to ask insurance companies, according to Usa.gov:
- How does the policy define disability?
- When do benefits begin?
- How long will the benefits last?
- How much money will the policy pay?
How Do You Apply For Disability Benefits
There are three ways to apply for Social Security benefits:
- file online atwww.ssa.gov/applyfordisability
- go to your local Social Security office without an appointment.
Before you apply, make sure you have the names and addresses of all doctors and clinics you’ve visited over the last five years. Applying for benefits involves much more than filling out the disability application. Your first step should be making sure that you have sufficient medical records for Social Security to make a decision on your claim. If you’ve been seeing a doctor regularly, have a conversation with your doctor about your limitations , and whether the doctor thinks they rule out full-time work for you. If your doctor agrees, it’s time to apply for disability benefits.
If you haven’t been seeing a doctor, it’s time to start. As mentioned above, you need to have medical records that support your claim, including your diagnoses, your limitations, your test results, and your treatment plans. Once you’ve had several doctors’ appointments, ask if your doctor thinks your limitations are disabling and about your long-term prospects for work. Only then should you apply for disability.
How To Apply For Ssdi Benefits
You can apply for disability benefits in person, by phone, or online. Applying for SSDI assistance follows a general set of steps:
- Review the SSAs Adult Disability Checklist and gather all the necessary documentation.
- Complete and submit your application.
- Wait for your application to be processed by the SSA and sent to the Disability Determination Services office in your state, who will make a disability determination regarding your case.
The application process can be complicated and frustrating. You dont have to navigate it alone. Statistics prove that those who pursue Social Security benefits with the assistance of an attorney have an increased chance of approval. With legal guidance, you can present the most solid case for your eligibility and navigate the appeals process in the event that your application is denied.
You May Qualify For Legal Assistance
Convincing medical proof is just step one towards claim approval. We suggest talking to a Social Security lawyer before you apply. These lawyers always work on contingency. That means youll pay nothing for legal advice about your specific situation.
In fact, attorneys can review your application and help correct any mistakes before you file. This is smart, since 2 in 5 first-time filers are denied benefits due to paperwork errors! Already applied, but got denied? Attorneys wont take you as a client unless they think that youll win. And if you do win, then youll only pay a small, one-time fee.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free disability benefits evaluation now.
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Other Payments May Affect Your Disability Benefits
If you receive certain other government benefits, such as workers’ compensation, public disability benefits, or pensions based on work not covered by Social Security , the Social Security benefits payable to you and your family may be reduced.
For more information about how these benefits can affect your Social Security payments, please refer to the following publications:
Does Ssdi Cover People With Long Covid
Youre eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance if you cant work and your illness is expected to last for at least one year or result in death. Social Security is funded by the Social Security taxes that your employer takes out of your paycheck.
Make sure that you have documentation from your doctor in terms of your conditions and your physical and mental impairment. To receive disability payments, it has to be medically determined that that impairment is going to last at least 12 months, Blewett said.
If you are eligible for SSDI and long-term disability, your long-term disability payments will be reduced by the amount of SSDI you get.
SSDI has a 5-month waiting period before you can begin receiving benefits. After 2 years on SSDI, you can receive Medicare, regardless of age. The application process for SSDI alone can take up to 5 months, so its important to start as soon as you can.
Many advocacy groups such as Stopthewait.org are pushing for changes to these waiting periods. In an open letter to Congress, the Stop The Wait Coalition writes, These exclusion periods are fundamentally unfair they delay people from seeking treatment and eventually returning to work, and they prevent people from accessing the insurance for which they paid.
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Special Rules For People Who Are Blind Or Have Low Vision
We consider you to be legally blind under Social Security rules if your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your better eye or if your visual field is 20 degrees or less, even with a corrective lens. Many people who meet the legal definition of blindness still have some sight and may be able to read large print and get around without a cane or a guide dog.
If you do not meet the legal definition of blindness, you may still qualify for disability benefits if your vision problems alone or combined with other health problems prevent you from working.
There are a number of special rules for people who are blind that recognize the severe impact of blindness on a person’s ability to work. For example, the monthly earnings limit for people who are blind is generally higher than the limit that applies to non-blind disabled workers.
In 2021, the monthly earnings limit is $2,190.
Tip : Apply Early And Dont Get Discouraged If Denied
The SSA advises that processing your application for disability benefits can take three to five months. So, its essential to get yours in as early as possible to start receiving your benefits faster.
Applications with diseases on the Compassionate Allowance List or screened as Quick Disability Determinations are put on the fast track, and may receive benefits sooner.
Only about one in five initial applications are awarded benefits, so dont get discouraged if yours isnt accepted on the first try. You still have four levels of appeals you can go through to try to get your benefits approved.
You typically only have 60 days after receiving a notice of decision to request an appeal.
Appeals can also take from months to over a year to schedule, so its another reason to start your application process right away. You can check the status of your reconsideration or hearing through your my Social Security account.
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How Do I Know If I Have Worked Enough To Qualify For Ssdi
To qualify for SSDI, you must have paid enough into the Social Security system during the years you were working. In addition, you must have worked recently enough .
Social Security uses a system of work credits that are based on your annual income. A person can earn up to four credits per year.
In general, you will need 40 credits to qualify for SSDI, and 20 of those must have been earned in the past 10 years. However, the number of credits you need can vary depending on your age.
To learn more about how your work history affects your SSDI eligibility, read the Social Security Administrations booklet How You Earn Credits.
How Do You Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits
Disability benefits are available to qualified recipients under two programs, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Income . SSI is a means-tested program for people with disabilities who have very limited means, but SSDI is an insurance program that is available to qualified workers with disabilities regardless of their resources. As of January 2018, some 13.8 million disabled workers and their dependents were receiving SSDI benefits from Social Security.
SSDI pays cash benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability. Benefits continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis, or until you reach retirement age. At that point, the disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same. After receiving SSDI benefits for two years, you also become eligible for health insurance coverage under Medicare. The disability program also includes a number of work incentives to ease your transition back to work.
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Who is eligible?
As with retirement benefits, you must have accumulated a certain number of work credits before you can qualify for SSDI disability benefits. However, fewer credits are required to qualify for the disability program than for retirement. You can earn up to four credits per year of employment. How many credits you need to qualify for disability depends on the age you become disabled.
Who is “disabled”?
Make Payments To The Federal Government
Learn how to use Pay.gov to make secure, electronic payments to government agencies from your checking or savings account. You can use the online service for VA medical care copayments, U.S. district court tickets, U.S. Coast Guard merchant mariner user fee payments, and more.
If you need help, contact Pay.gov customer service.
Proof Of Medical Condition
If your doctor says that you cannot work and are disabled, you could qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. However, you must have a medical condition that meets the Social Securitys definition of disability and must have been unable to work for a year or more.
It is important to remember that Social Security has a very strict definition of disability. Even if your doctor says you are disabled, that doesnt mean SSA will automatically approve you for benefits.
You cannot obtain disability benefits solely on the basis of your doctors report. The SSA will consider your physicians assessments, but it must be supported by clinical observations, test results, or other supporting medical evidence. Your doctor will need to explain how he or she arrived at their diagnosis and the assessment of your capabilities and limitations.
When you apply for benefits, Social Security representatives will obtain your application along with any related forms that describe your impairment, treatment sources, and other information that relates to the alleged disability from your doctor.
The field office will verify non-medical eligibility requirements such as your age, employment, and marital status. They will then send your case to DDS for evaluation of disability.
The DDS are state agencies responsible for developing medical evidence and rendering the initial determination on whether someone is disabled.
Apply For Benefits Online
You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. Follow these easy steps to apply online for disability:
- To start your application, go to our Apply for Benefits page, and read and agree to the Terms of Service. Click Next.
- On that page, review the Getting Ready section to make sure you have the information you need to apply.
- Select Start A New Application.
- We will ask a few questions about who is filling out the application.
- You will then sign into your mySocial Security account, or you will be prompted to create one.
- Complete the application.
You can use the online application to apply for disability benefits if you:
- Are age 18 or older.
- Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.
- Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death and
- Have not been denied for disability in the last 60 days.
Note: If your application was recently denied, our application is a starting point to request a review of the determination we made.
You may be able to file online for SSI at the same time that you file for SSDI benefits. Once you complete the online process above, a Social Security representative will contact you if we need additional information.
Contact An Attorney For Help
Because the medical evidence and doctors’ opinions you provide to the SSA in support of your claim will be determinative in whether you win or lose your disability claim, you may want to contact a lawyer. An experienced disability attorney is trained to identify what type of information you need to win and will look over your case to determine what further evidence you need. Consult an experienced disability attorney in your area.
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‘apply As Early As Possible’
The first thing to realize about applying for Social Security disability benefits is that it is often a lengthy process, Geist said.
Once an initial application is filed with the Social Security Administration, it can take three months to five months to get a decision. If that initial application is denied, it can take four months to six months for the application to be reconsidered on a first appeal, Geist said.
From there, if the application has to be reviewed at a hearing, it can take up to 12 months just to get scheduled before a judge, Geist said.
“Apply as early as possible, because it is a long process,” Geist said.
A 2020 Government Accountability Office report found that about 1.3% of applicants filed for bankruptcy while waiting on their appeals, and 1.2% died before receiving a final decision.
“Many particularly those without legal representation end up wrongfully denied on multiple occasions before finally being approved with a lawyer’s help,” said Rebecca Vallas, senior fellow that the Century Foundation. “Untold numbers spend what savings they have to try to stay afloat while waiting for an appeal to be heard and countless more lose their homes in the process.”
There are about 8.2 million disabled workers collecting benefits, according to the Social Security Administration. Their average monthly benefit is $1,277.