How to get Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits?

by Editorial Board on August 9, 2010 · 0 comments

in Winning Disability Benefits,Questions & Answers,Basics of SSD

You are considered disabled once you have proved your inability to work.  This can be proved either by establishing, through valid and reliable medical evidence, that you have been diagnosed with a medical condition or a combination of medical conditions that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has found to be per se disabling or by establishing that you suffer from a condition or a combination of conditions that prevent you from being able to sustain full-time employment.

Establishing disability can be done when you first file your initial application for social security with the state agency.  You must be sure to give the agency thorough information regarding all of your health problems and all of the doctors that you have seen.  If you have hired someone to help you with the initial application process, make sure you give him or her all of the information so that he or she can submit it to the state agency processing your application.

If you are not awarded your benefits at the initial application level, you should file an appeal, or request for reconsideration, in writing, within 60 days.  You will be given an explanation regarding why you were denied.  Make sure that the state agency that reviewed your case received medical records from all of your treating sources.  When you file your request for reconsideration, make sure that you, or the individual representing you, submits medical records from any treating sources that the state agency may have overlooked in your initial application.

If you are not awarded benefits at the reconsideration level, you must file your request for a hearing within the allotted time.  Proving disability at the hearing level is a little different than at the other levels.

You must still make sure that all of your medical evidence has been submitted, but you also get the opportunity to go before an Administrative Law Judge to explain how your medical conditions affect your ability to work on a full-time basis.  Many times, there is also a medical expert and a vocational expert present at the hearings to help explain to the judge what kind of medical conditions you have, how those medical conditions may affect your ability to work, and what kind of work you’ve done in the past and whether or not physical limitations that judge finds you to have will impede your ability to do your past relevant work, or any other work in the national or regional economy.

At the hearing level, you may also be allowed to have witnesses to testify on your behalf regarding your medical conditions and your activities of daily living.  Although in most hearings witnesses are not called.

After you file for Social Security Disability you can win either in the initial application (or reconsidered application) levels while your file is being reviewed by your state agency, or you can win later on at the hearing level when the file passes over back to Social Security.

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