The Social Security Administration (SSA) sends applicants a letter once they have made a decision in the applicant’s case, regardless of whether that decision is positive or negative. This ensures you do not have to wait and wonder how you will know if your Disability is approved.
It is very important that you keep an eye out for your reply letter from the SSA, as you will want to know as soon as possible when you start receiving benefits. Also, if your claim is denied, you have a limited time to appeal that decision.
How do I Get Approved for Disability?
To successfully apply for Social Security Disability, it is very important that you follow all of the correct rules and procedures as laid out by the SSA. These include:
- Getting a formal diagnosis and prognosis of your condition
- Collecting paperwork regarding your medical status, employment history, citizenship status, dependents, financial situation, and more
- Filling out forms that explain why you are filing and what type of Disability you are filing for
- Submitting all of the required paperwork through the proper channels within stated deadlines
If you are at all uncertain about the process, a Social Security Disability attorney can help. They can make sure you gather all necessary evidence and submit it in the correct way so that the SSA has no reason to doubt or deny your claim.
Different Benefits Have Different Requirements
Social Security Disability consists of two separate programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The rules and requirements for each are very different.
To receive approval for SSDI, applicants must:
- Have a disability that is terminal and/or will prevent them from working for at least one year
- Have worked a minimum number of years in a job that is covered by Social Security
- Provide evidence that they meet all requirements, including the two listed above
To receive approval for SSI, by contrast, applicants must:
- Be retirement age or older
- Have a disability if they are not at retirement age
- Have limited means of supporting themselves
- Provide evidence that they meet all requirements
Exceptions exist in both cases: for example, disabled children may qualify for either type of Disability without having to meet a work requirement. If you have any doubts or questions about your eligibility, a Disability attorney can help.
For a legal consultation with a lawyer serving North Carolina and South Carolina, call 828.286.3866
What If My Disability Is Not Approved?
Your application could be denied for many reasons, some more serious than others. Potential reasons for a denial of benefits include:
- You did not provide sufficient evidence to support your claim.
- You filled out the wrong form, or you did not provide qualifying responses on one or more forms.
- The SSA misplaced, overlooked, or never received part of your application.
- The SSA has decided that you do not qualify for Disability because of your medical history, work history, or some other factor.
Applicants have several “levels” of appeal that they can go through if their claim is denied. Per the SSA, these are:
- Reconsideration: You ask the SSA to assign a new administrative law judge (ALJ) to look at your case with fresh, unbiased eyes.
- Hearing: You request the chance to meet with an ALJ, either in person or through a teleconference, to argue your case. A Social Security Disability lawyer can represent you at this hearing.
- Review: You ask the Appeals Council, which consists of several ALJs, to review your case. The Council has the right to either examine your case themselves, send it back for another reconsideration, or reject your request.
- Trial: You ask the Federal Court, a judicial body separate from the SSA, to try your case and determine if you are entitled to benefits.
Once you receive your denial letter, you have 60 days to file an appeal. If you miss this deadline, your case is considered closed, and you would have to start the entire application process again from the beginning if you still want benefits. This would lengthen the process considerably.
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What If My Disability Is Approved?
After the SSA approves your claim, they will begin sending you regular monthly checks that can help you pay for housing, food, and other necessities. No further action is required from you at this time.
If your situation changes at any time—for example, you get a new job, or your condition gets better or worse—you must report these changes to the SSA. They could affect your eligibility for benefits or the monthly amount that you receive.
We Help Clients Get Their Disability Approved
Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC helps you file for either Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. We also provide extra reassurance that you will know if your Disability is approved by keeping you updated on your case’s progress. Take advantage of a free consultation to learn more.