If you are frustrated by an inability to work due to a disability, you may be one of the over 60,000 individuals living in the United States that qualify for Social Security disability support. This type of government-issued support falls within two categories: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Which program you may qualify for is based upon your unique situation.
Social Security Disability Insurance Versus Supplemental Security Income
According to the Social Security Administration, an individual may be eligible for SSDI if the following criteria are met:
- The applicant is eighteen or over;
- The applicant is unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last twelve months or longer, or result in death; and
- The applicant has not been denied benefits in the past sixty days
If eligible, a successful applicant for SSDI will receive monthly cash payments for the term of their disability. Consequently, the SSI program is designed for those who may not qualify for SSDI, but that still have disabilities, limited income, or limited resources. These benefits may also extend to individuals over the age of 65 that qualify.
How Do I apply?
While applications are submitted through the internet or the telephone, the most crucial aspect of your application is ensuring you have all of the materials you need prepared before applying. The Adult Disability Checklist is the best starting place to see what materials you should gather before submitting an application. This list explains the information you will need, including but not limited to:
- Employment history, including when you stopped working and if you are expected to work again;
- Educational and skills background;
- Information regarding your medical condition, including diagnosis, medical tests and results, medications, treating medical professionals (both past and present), hospital visits, surgeries, and prognosis;
- Family history and information including marriage, divorce, children, or other dependents; and
- Financial history, including whether you were, have been, or will be receiving other benefits, public or private, that may affect your eligibility.
While this may seem relatively straightforward, the application may ask for specific dates for visits to the doctor, or names, phone numbers, or addresses from your past that may be difficult to obtain. Preparing all of this information in advance and making sure you provide absolutely every piece of information requested is critical to a positive outcome with your application.
What if I’m Already Receiving Another Type of Financial Assistance or Have Previously Been Denied Benefits?
If, for example, you are already receiving workers’ compensation from a work-related injury or illness, this may affect your eligibility. Generally, receiving other public disability payments such as workers’ compensation or state/local government retirement benefits may affect your application, but receipt of private pension or insurance benefits will not.
If, on the other hand, you already applied for SSD benefits but were denied, you may be able to appeal your application if done in a timely fashion. Once you appeal and are denied again, you have to wait a period of time before applying again. This is another reason why completing the application thoroughly and accurately the first time is to your advantage.
Can Someone Help Me With My Application?
The Solomon Law Group has the knowledge, experience, and resources to help you navigate your SSDI or SSI application. If you want to apply for SSDI or SSI, are unsure about whether you qualify, or if you have questions about an outstanding or denied application, please contact our disability attorneys serving the greater Columbia, SC area, and allow us to guide you through this complex process.
Obtaining legal counsel is the best way to ensure the Social Security Administration has all of the information they need to process your application. Most applications are denied due to incomplete or inaccurate information—we can ensure that your application is complete and you have the best chance at obtaining benefits you need to maintain your livelihood.