Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides essential benefits to individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. However, the process of applying for SSDI can be complex and daunting.

At PLBH, we understand the intricacies of the SSDI claim process and are here to help guide you every step of the way. This blog will break down the steps to apply for SSDI, what you can expect during the evaluation process, and how to handle potential denials.

Understanding SSDI Eligibility

Before diving into the application process, it’s crucial to understand whether you qualify for SSDI benefits:

Eligibility Criteria

  • Work Credits: Typically, you need to have earned a certain number of work credits, depending on your age at the time you became disabled.
  • Severity of Disability: The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that your disability is severe enough to prevent you from working, and it must be expected to last at least one year or result in death.

Qualifying Disabilities

  • The SSA maintains a list of medical conditions considered severe enough to automatically qualify as disabilities.
  • If your condition is not on the list, the SSA will assess whether your disability is equivalent in severity to a condition on the list.

The Application Process

Applying for SSDI can be completed online, over the phone, or in person at a local Social Security office. Here’s what you need to prepare:

Documentation Needed

  • Personal Information: Social Security number, birth certificate, and contact information.
  • Medical Records: Documentation of your disability, including diagnosis, treatments, and medications.
  • Work History: Details about your employment and the kind of work you performed.
  • Income Details: Information about any other disability benefits you are receiving.

Steps to Apply

  1. Gather Documentation: Collect all necessary documents to support your claim.
  2. Submit Your Application: Complete and submit your application along with all supporting documents.
  3. Cooperate with Requests for Additional Information: The SSA may require additional documents or examinations.

After You Apply

Once your application is submitted, here’s what comes next:

Evaluation Process

  • Initial Review: The SSA reviews your application to ensure all necessary documents and information are present.
  • Medical Disability Decision: The Disability Determination Services (DDS) office will evaluate your medical evidence and may request additional information or a consultative exam.
  • Approval or Denial: You will receive a letter from the SSA regarding the decision on your claim.

Dealing with Denials

Receiving a denial for your SSDI claim can be frustrating, but it’s not the end of the road:

Common Reasons for Denial

  • Insufficient Medical Evidence: The most common reason for denial is the lack of sufficient medical evidence to support the disability claim.
  • Non-Qualifying Disability: The disability does not meet the SSA’s severity level or duration requirements.

Appeals Process

  • Reconsideration: You can request a review of your file by another claims examiner and medical consultant.
  • Hearing: If reconsideration is unsuccessful, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge.
  • Appeals Council: If you disagree with the hearing decision, you may ask for a review by the Social Security’s Appeals Council.
  • Federal Court Review: The final step in the appeals process is filing a lawsuit in a federal district court.

How PLBH Can Help

Navigating the SSDI claim process can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with a disabling condition. At PLBH, our skilled attorneys are committed to supporting you through each stage of your SSDI claim. We can assist in gathering necessary documentation, preparing your application, and representing you in case of a denial.

If you’re considering applying for SSDI or have been denied benefits and don’t know what to do next, contact us at (800) 435-7542. Our knowledgeable team is ready to help you secure the benefits you deserve.