What to expect during the SSDI benefit application process

The prospect of filing for Social Security disability benefits for illness can be daunting, and may in fact scare some away from ever seeking this form of assistance. While the Social Security Administration (SSA) has recently announced its intentions to make revisions to its practices, it’s unclear at this point how those changes will affect the application process. Yet even though the task may seem intimidating, the truth is that for many, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits may represent the only way that they can survive financially. By knowing what to prepare for during the qualification process, one may be better equipped to handle any challenges that he or she is presented with in earning these benefits.

First and foremost, the basis for one’s eligibility for SSDI benefits is determined on whether or not they are actually working. While some applicants may be encouraged to not work during the application process in hopes that it will increase their chances of qualifying, one can actually earn up to a $1000 monthly income and still be considered benefits-eligible.

The crux of determining one’s disability is whether or not the applicant is inflicted with a “severe impairment” that keeps them from working for an extended period of time. The criteria to meet this are based on a comparison of one’s medical treatment history to the SSA’s own listings of different conditions and ailments. In order to be considered for benefits, it must be determined that one cannot perform any of the functions associated with any previous employment he or she has held, or any current jobs in his or her area.

The entire qualification process can take over one year, during which time applicants should anticipate having to provide extensive information about their employment and medical history. A Social Security lawyer may a good source of assistance in helping one work through this application process.

Source: Carlisle Sentinel “Raising the Bar: Applying for Social Security disability” Stephen J. Hogg, Jan. 05, 2014

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