Things You Need To Know About SSD Claims
- Find out your eligibility
When it comes to the definition of disability, the Social Security Administration is rather strict about it as all disabilities are not the same. In order to become eligible for SSDI benefits, the individual should have suffered a severe impairment and that impairment should be expected to last for at least a year or should result in death. There are also other conditions: you need to be below the retirement age which is 66 – 67 and you should be up to date on your FICA taxes for at least 5 of the last 10 years.
Before you apply for SSDI benefits, be ready with your work history details including dates and tenure of employment. There are free eligibility screenings available online to help you determine whether you are likely to qualify. Needless to say, you will have better odds of qualifying if you are aware of the rules and requirements at the beginning.
- File early
Don't wait too long to find your application as it will only result in depleted savings and retirement funds. You need to have a financial safety net. If your regular income stops, it won't be long before you lose that financial safety net. An SSD claim will help in easing your financial burden if they approve your claim. This is why, you should not lose any time as the time taken for reviewing your initial application can be as long as 3 to 6 months. You also need to know that only one out of every 3 initial applications are approved by SSA. Denial of the initial application is much more common than people think. This is why, you shouldn't think twice about appealing your claim.
Prepare for the long haul when you get your first denial. It's also possible to have a 2nd denial. In some cities, it might take almost 2 years before you get to stand in front of an Administrative Law Judge. As far as the national average is concerned, the waiting period is almost 600 days and in your city, it could be as long as 800 days.
If you have a severe condition (such as metastatic cancers), there is a possibility to fast-track the process and get your claim to the front of the line. You will need to check the compassionate allowances list to figure out whether it's possible for you to get your benefits more quickly.
- Be financially smart
It is important for you to review your spending habits. You will have to wait a long time for the benefits and people who are not adequately prepared for this might lose their 401(k)s, savings, cars and even their homes. There are many who have faced foreclosure, or suffered complete financial ruin. You need to check spending as early as possible. Don't shy away from asking others for advice and keep in mind that you are in it for the long haul.
It might be a difficult for you to make ends meet while you're waiting for the benefits. This is why, you need to change spending habits as quickly as possible. You need to reassess your budget as well as buying decisions. The SSDI benefits are enough to put food on the table but the money isn't enough to replace your salary. This is why, you will need to make certain permanent lifestyle adjustments. Ask around to find organizations for help with housing, utilities, food and various other expenses. Here is a list of some of the organizations that can help you with such things:
Center for Independent Living
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
United Way [dial 211 for assistance]
There are also other programs. You should also think of working again. If medically possible, you should start working again. Work offers excellent rewards and needless to say, brings income.
- Health Insurance
You might think of cutting down on health insurance with your budget being so tight but you need to keep in mind that medical evidence is necessary for supporting your claim. You will have to jump through several hoops for completing your application and you shouldn't have to worry about lack of medical records. You should consider several options such as insurance through your employer such as COBRA. Also consider Medicaid or Marketplace Exchange Plans, depending on your location. If you can't afford to pay health insurance premium, find out about free or low-cost healthcare clinics in your location. www.findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov is a good resource.
- Begin Early
Getting approved for disability benefits is stressful, time-consuming and difficult, and this is why, it is better to get the necessary help right at the start. Getting the necessary representation will help you in getting your benefits quickly. It might also help you avoid a long approval process. Your chosen representative can help you file the necessary information and they will also represent you at the Social Security hearings. There is no denying that the application process is complex and even small mistakes such as misstatements or inadvertent errors can slow down the process. It might even lead to denial of your application. This is why, you should seek support of a professional advocate. They will ensure that all your paperwork is in order and is filed accurately.
When you are seeking a representative for your benefits claim, you need to ensure that they have the necessary expertise in your specific condition. Make sure they have experience with the SSDI process and they have the necessary tools for the process. You should also know that the national average success rate is 34% and in case their success rate is below this, you need to search elsewhere.
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