Are you disabled and in need of benefits? If so, you’re not alone. In 2019, approximately 9,765,096 individuals were receiving disability benefits.
In this guide, we’ll teach you how to apply for benefits for the disabled, as well as what to expect during the application process. Keep reading to learn more!
What are Disability Benefits?
Disability benefits are financial assistance programs that help people with disabilities cover the costs of basic needs. It covers housing, food, and transportation. They can also help pay for medical expenses and disability-related costs like assistive technology.
There are two main types of disability benefits: government benefits and private benefits. Government disability benefits are typically run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). They are available to U.S. citizens and legal residents who meet the program’s eligibility requirements.
Private disability benefits, on the other hand, are offered by employers, insurance companies, or other private organizations, and they often have different eligibility requirements.
How to Apply for Benefits for Disabled Individuals
Applying for disability benefits is a complicated and time-consuming process. But it’s important to make sure you complete all the steps correctly to give yourself the best chance of being approved.
Here are the general steps you’ll need to take to apply for disabled benefits:
1. Collect Information About Your Medical Condition
The first step to getting benefits for the disabled is collecting medical information. You’ll need to provide detailed information about your medical condition, including your diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment. Be sure to collect any medical records or test results that you have.
2. Gather Documents About Your Work History
The SSA will need to know about your work history in order to determine if you’re eligible for disability benefits. So you must gather documents like your W-2 forms or pay stubs. You can’t get disability benefits without this information.
3. Complete the Application
Once you have all the required information, it’s time to complete the disability benefit application. The application can be completed online, over the phone, or in person at your local SSA office.
The online option is the easiest, but if you want to be hands-on with the process, going to an office is better. It helps to build rapport with the workers in your local SSA office.
4. Wait for a Decision
After you’ve submitted your disability benefit application, the SSA will review your case and make a decision. The review process can take several months. If you’re approved for benefits, you’ll start receiving payments within a few weeks.
What Are the Requirements for Getting Approved for Disability Benefits?
To get approved for disability benefits, you must meet certain requirements. They can be any of the following:
1. You Must Have a Medical Condition that Meets the SSA’s Definition of Disability
The first requirement is that you have a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of disability. The Social Security Administration identifies disability as not being able to engage in physical functions. This is so by either physical or mental dysfunction.
To approve benefits for disabled people, the condition is expected to end in death. Or, if it has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous term of no less than one year.
In other words, you must have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from working and is anticipated to last for at least one year or end in death.
2. You Must Have Worked Enough Hours to Qualify
Another requirement for getting approved for disability benefits is that you have worked enough hours to qualify. The amount of work needed to qualify varies depending on your age. It’s best to speak with an SSA rep to help you understand this.
3. Your Income Must be Low Enough
To get disability benefits, your income must fall below a certain level. The SSA reviews your substantial gainful activity( SGA) when determining if your income is too high. If you’re working and making more income than the SGA, you won’t qualify for disability benefits.
4. You Must Pay Into the Social Security System
In order to get disability benefits, you must have paid into the Social Security system. This means that you or your spouse must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain period of time.
5. You Must be Unable to Do Other Work
To get disability benefits, you must be unable to do other work. The SSA will consider your age, education, and work experience when making this determination. If you have the ability to work in any capacity, your benefits may be denied.
What to do If You’re Denied Disability Benefits
If you’re denied benefits, you have a right to appeal the decision. The first step is to file a “Request for Reconsideration.” This request can be filed online, by mail, or in person.
If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you can file an appeal. The next level of appeal is a hearing, which is held before an administrative law judge. At the hearing, you can present evidence and testimony to support your case for benefits.
However, if you’re denied benefits after a hearing, you can file an appeal with the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council reviews cases to determine if the administrative law judge made the correct decision. But if the Appeals Council decides that the judge was correct, it will deny your appeal.
If your claim continues to get denied, it’s best to hire a disability discrimination attorney.
Understanding Benefits for the Disabled
Applying for benefits for the disabled is a long and complicated process. But if you follow the steps above, you’ll give yourself the best chance of getting approved. We wish you the best of luck!
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