Your initial appeal will be turned over to Disability Determination Services who will thoroughly review your file. If you are denied again, you can proceed to the next level of appeal which is to appear in front of an Administrative Law Judge. An Administrative Law Judge will conduct a hearing much like a trial in which all of your medical records and testimony will be heard before the judge renders a decision in the form of a written notice.
If you are still denied benefits, then you have a final appeal step you can take which involves filing a lawsuit in U. For the vast majority of people, SSDI benefits are not taxed. Those people who are taxed is generally because they have another source of substantial income. Most states do not tax disability benefits at all. The few that do either follow the same guidelines as the federal model, and a few have their own way of applying taxes to disability benefits.
Is there phone number I can call to check on my SSDI application status or if I need more information regarding the program in general? There are also several online SSDI forums that provide support and information for people who are looking for answers on a variety of subjects. In person at your local Social Security office. Find your local office here. Social Security pays benefits to those who cannot work because they have a medical condition. Social Security does not grant benefits to people with partial or short-term disabilities.
It is suggested that you apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled.
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The processing of applications can often take months. After applying for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will evaluate your employment history, length of work and current work activity to determine if it meets their basic work requirements. If the claim is approved, a letter will be sent with the approval information, amount of monthly benefits and date effective.
In general, monthly cash benefits are paid until you are able to work again on a regular basis. The amount of a Social Security Disability Benefits is based on average lifetime earnings.
The first benefit will be paid for the sixth full month after the date the disability began. Those who have received disability benefits for two years will receive Medicare coverage automatically after that time period.
Processing claims for disability benefits can take anywhere from months. Gathering required information prior to filing a claim may expedite the process. You will need the following information to apply online :. Work requirements look at both recent work and the duration of your work. If you meet both, the severity of your disability will then be determined. Have you worked long enough and recent enough to qualify?
Credits are basic units of measurement that determine whether a worker is insured under the Social Security program.
A credit, legally termed a Quarter of Coverage QC , is essentially a building block or gauge of accumulated work based on total yearly wages or self-employment income. The credits allow the Social Security Administration to determine if a person has put in enough time to receive benefits. One credit is given when a certain amount of money is earned. You can receive up to four credits per year. Note: the earnings Social Security uses to calculate your credits are only earnings on which you pay Social Security taxes as indicated on your tax return.
Interest on savings or investments do not count toward earning a credit. Younger workers might qualify with fewer credits, but generally a worker needs 40 credits to qualify. Twenty of those credits must be earned within the 10 years before becoming disabled. Recent work and duration of work is determined using the following formulas.
You must complete a certain amount of work in a particular time frame to meet the recent work requirements. That time frame takes into account the age at which you became disabled. Work does not need to fall within a certain time period. Below is a sample of ages and the average amount of work needed to qualify.
Once the Social Security Administration completes your employment evaluation, the application will be sent to the Disability Determination Services DDS to complete the disability assessment. Note: The DDS uses doctors and disability specialists in the state agency to request information from your doctors about your condition. The DDS considers all facts in your case and inquires about your medical condition, when it began, how it limits your activities, what medical tests have shown, and what treatment you have received.
Social Security uses a 5-step process to determine if the disability is severe enough to qualify for benefits. The Social Security Administration publishes the specified monthly amount each year. To be considered severe, the disability must significantly limit the ability to perform basic work activities —lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering—for at least 12 months.
The Social Security Administration maintains a comprehensive list of medical conditions and circumstances that automatically mean a person is disabled. If a condition is not listed, the DDS must decide if the severity is equal to a medical condition on the list.
If that is not determined, the DDS will continue to steps 4 and 5.
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If your condition is not on the list and is not equally as severe as one on the list, the DDS must establish that it prevents you from performing any of your past work. If that interference is determined, then the DDS moves on to step 5. If your medical condition does not interfere with your ability to do the previous work, your qualification claim will be denied. The agency will consider your age, education, past work experience, and any special skills you may have to determine if you can do other work that what you had previously.
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If you can adjust to other work, you will not qualify for benefits. If you are considered unable to do other work, your application for benefits will most likely be approved. Within this branch, there are approximately 1, administrative law judges ALJ in more than hearing offices who preside over administrative hearings that resemble a trial. Their goal is to try and resolve a dispute between Social Security and the person who is affected by a decision made by Social Security officials. Because most claims are rejected during an initial filing, when people appeal that finding, after another level of review, the case is then heard by an administrative law judge.
In addition, prior to the hearing taking place, the judge may decide that expert testimony is required and request that a medical expert or a vocational expert be called upon to testify. A vocational expert may be called upon to testify as to what kind of jobs a person with the type of disability in the claim could possibly do. Medical and vocational experts are contracted by Social Security. At the hearing, a claimant or their representative, which may be a non-lawyer advocate or an attorney, will present additional evidence to support the approval of a claim.
They may also dispute the current findings reached during the initial review process. Upon completion of the hearing, the ALJ will either approve or deny a request. A decision letter is mailed to a claimant and can take anywhere from two weeks to two months before a decision is rendered.
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In general, disability judges make more approvals at their level than at the lower levels. Part of the reason for this is that a claimant may have undergone medical treatments or diagnoses that helps to strengthen their claim before they appear in front of a judge, or their medical condition may have worsened, or an attorney may have additional evidence not available previously.
I am not comfortable representing myself to Social Security. What options do I have in seeking out someone to help me? You are allowed to retain the services of a disability representative who can assist you in presenting your claim to Social Security. Someone who assists you may be termed a disability advocate or a disability representative. The two terms are interchangeable. The advocate is someone who will support you by answering your questions, work with your doctors to obtain appropriate records, represent you to Social Security at hearings and provide general support so that you can successfully obtain a disability benefit.
It is important to note that this representative can either be a lawyer or a nonlawyer. This is because under the Social Security Act of , to help eliminate a large backlog of disability claimants, Congress passed a law that allowed representatives to work on behalf of those seeking benefits. Advocates are many times a part of large legal firms and work with claimants despite not having a law degree. Their work is fairly specialized and they can help streamline the disability process by virtue or their ongoing and fulltime efforts in this area.