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SSA disability rules are not like retirement benefit procedures

Many Americans interact with the Social Security Administration only concerning their retirement benefits. Yet they are the lucky ones. The SSA's procedures regarding disability benefits are much more complicated.

As background, there are two separate disability programs: Social Security disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Each requires a showing of disability that meets the SSA's standards. However, eligibility for SSDI benefits is also based on an individual's earnings history, whereas financial eligibility for SSI benefits requires low income and low assets (i.e. it is needs based, like welfare).

When an individual has been injured by an accident or has a disabling illness or medical condition, SSDI benefits can provide a lifeline. Unfortunately, that relief may be slow in the coming. The SSA's administrative backlog means that an SSDI application may not be processed for several months. Worse yet, there is a high denial rate. Not surprisingly, many applicants can't afford to get their initial application wrong. An attorney can help you submit a strong claim the first time around.

Or law firm focuses on disability benefits, and we have observed several reasons for a denied disability claim. First, the SSA requires an applicant to provide medical evidence that an impairment not only prevents him or her from working, but that it is expected to last at least one year or result in death. If the SSA believes an applicant has not provided adequate documentation, the claim may be denied.

We have helped many disability applicants, so we understand that the process of applying for SSDI benefits can be confusing. It comes as a surprise to many of our clients that a medical diagnosis is often insufficient to qualify for benefits on its own, with the possible exception of terminal illness. The reason is that the SSA wants documentation of how the disability impairs an individual's functioning and performance of job duties.

At the Disability Benefits Law Center, P.C., our attorneys can help you navigate the SSA's disability benefit application without cost or obligation. We offer free initial consultations. Call our toll free number at 1-866-886-0660.

Source: The Motley Fool, "Need Help With Social Security Benefits? Read This," Dan Caplinger, July 17, 2016

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