After a serious illness or injury leaves you unable to work or seriously restricts your capacity for gainful employment, one option to help make ends meet is to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program through the Social Security Administration. But many people do not understand what it takes to qualify for these programs or how to go about filing a disability claim. The knowledgeable disability benefits attorneys at Harbison & Kavanagh are here to help explain how to qualify for benefits under these federal programs and how an attorney can help.
How to Qualify for SSDI or SSI
Social Security disability varies quite significantly from other disability benefit programs, such as the VA, workers’ compensation for Virginia, or long-term disability. In order to qualify for SSDI, an application must be made to the Social Security Administration that includes at least one serious physical or mental condition that either significantly affects normal activities of daily living, significantly affects the ability to do basic work activities, lasts at least one full year or is expected to result in your death, or is severe enough that it prevents your ability to work and earn a substantial and gainful income during the one year minimum period. Individuals that are disabled but still manage to work are denied SSDI benefits, as are individuals that suffer an injury that does not last a full year.
Filing for Disability Benefits
You can file an SSDI claim by phone, in person, or online but it is highly recommended that you do so with an experienced disability benefits attorney. Your application goes to the Disability Determinations Services where it is assigned to a disability examiner. The examiner requests your medical records from the treatment centers you list in your application and depending on the quality of records may request an additional medical examination to evaluate the current state of your disability. The examiner also reviews the record and medical examination for evidence that you are able to complete substantial work activity, and if found that you are capable of performing any of your past work or any other kind of substantial employment, your application will be denied.
Only 36 percent of initial claims are approved in Virginia for SSDI, and 64 percent are denied. If you wish to appeal the decision, you can file a Request for Reconsideration Appeal, where a different examiner reviews the file for SSDI benefits. Around fourteen percent of reconsiderations are accepted, and further appeals require disability hearings where you can use an experienced attorney by your side to make the most compelling arguments for why you deserve SSDI benefits for your illness or injury.
Talk to Our Office Now
To learn more about the application process for SSDI or to review your claims with a disability benefits specialist, call or contact us at Harbison & Kavanagh in Virginia today to schedule a free appointment with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.