If you get sick or injured and you’re unable to work, the bill collectors don’t care. You’ll still have to pay your mortgage or rent, and the family still has to eat…
For some people in this situation (about 9 million), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can provide desperately needed relief.
SSDI pays monthly benefits to people who are unable to work because of an illness, injury, or impairment that is expected to last a year or more.
It’s not an entitlement, but rather an insurance program. If you have never worked, you are not eligible to receive SSDI because you have never paid into Social Security. How much you receive in SSDI payments depends on how long you worked and how much money you made when you worked.
Can I Apply for SSDI Without an Attorney?
Yes. Most people do.
But, more than 60 percent of applicants are denied initially, in part because the Social Security Administration (SSA) assumes that, while you may not be able to perform your current or former job, there is probably some kind of gainful employment you could handle.
A lot of people give up after the first or a subsequent denial – the process is tedious and overwhelming, especially for someone dealing with an injury or illness. Enlisting the help of an attorney can lower the stress level of the process, and, more importantly, increase your chances of qualifying.
How Do I Apply for SSDI Benefits?
Your Myrtle Beach social security and disability attorney can help you to file the application and ensure that you are providing the necessary documentation – whether you file yourself or an attorney files for you, the key is to provide complete, thorough medical records proving that you will be unable to work for at least 12 months because of your condition.
What Do I Do If I Am Denied?
SSA will let you know in writing whether your claim has been approved or denied about three or four months after you apply. Remember, you may be denied initially, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never be approved – if they deny your application, you can file an appeal.
To appeal, you must file a “request for reconsideration” within 60 days of the initial denial. This will reopen your claim, and a different examiner will make the decision. You’ll find out the decision after a month or two.
I Was Denied Again!
If you are denied during the reconsideration, you will need to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.
During the appeal, you and your attorney will be allowed to speak directly to the administrative law judge. They will review your file, and your attorney may subpoena medical professionals and employment experts to give their opinion on the nature of your condition and how it affects your ability to work.
Why Would They Still Deny My Claim?
Here are some common reasons for the denial of SSDI claims:
- Your medical condition won’t last 12 months or more;
- You failed to follow the treatment plan advised by medical professionals;
- There’s not enough medical evidence to support your claim of being unable to work; or
- You are incarcerated (people who are in jail or prison cannot receive SSDI, but you can apply after release).
Your SSDI attorney on the Axelrod team will ensure that you are providing the necessary medical records and documentation to the SSA and will help you to locate medical or employment experts when necessary to prove your claim.
If you are applying for social security and disability benefits, or if your claim has been denied, call Axelrod and Associates at 843-353-3449 or complete our online contact form for a free initial consultation with a SC Social Security Disability attorney.