Approximately two hours south of Chicago lies the city of Champaign, Illinois. This eclectic city of over 80,000 people is known for its music industry, among other things. Home to several record labels and recording studios, Bob Dylan once penned a song titled, “Champaign, Illinois.”
With a strong education system, including the University of Illinois, Champaign has a robust technology industry. Other well-known companies that call Champaign home include FedEx, Kraft Heinz, and Abbott Laboratories. Needless to say, the job industry in Champaign is strong.
Despite a strong economy, many Champaign residents are unemployed. In fact, close to 6% of those 65 and younger who are living in Champaign are disabled.
Thankfully, Champaign is also home to many excellent hospitals and health care providers. With two major hospitals, two clinic systems, and many doctors, there are many ways to receive quality health care services in the area. Additionally, qualified Champaign residents may be eligible for financial assistance from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Health Resources for Individuals Living in Champaign
Living with a newly diagnosed disability is very challenging. In addition to caring for one’s health, one must still contend with the financial responsibilities of life. Even during difficult times, mortgages, car notes, and medical bills must still be paid. Recognizing that health conditions often arrive unexpectedly, the federal government developed the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI was created to assist those individuals who are no longer able to work as a result of a serious medical issue.
Not all individuals who seek benefits are granted a disability award, however. Applicants must demonstrate through submission of medical records just how critically ill they are. The SSA will then review the medical information provided to determine which claimants are most in need of an award.
Those seeking SSDI must have documented regular visits with a doctor or other health care provider. As the SSA will want an up-to-date snapshot of an applicant’s health status, individuals seeking disability services will need to have several recent visits with their physician. The SSA will review test results, surgical records, and all treatment plans. They will pay the closest attention to the visit notes from your doctor. As such, it’s essential that disability applicants attend all scheduled appointments.
As surprising as this might sound, many doctors have little to no experience with the Social Security disability application process. While your doctor may support your efforts to earn an award, he or she may not be knowledgeable about how they can best help you obtain the benefits that you so desperately need. Therefore, it helps to be prepared to discuss this with your doctor.
Perhaps one of the best things that you can do to help prepare your doctor is to review the Blue Book. The Blue Book, the official medical guide of the SSA, lists all of the medical impairments that could qualify one for SSDI benefits. More importantly, it includes the associated symptoms and test result that are needed to win an award. The conditions listed Blue Book are divided by the major body systems. By providing your doctor with the information related to your illness, he or she can then determine if any additional information is needed.
If you have not yet established care with a qualified doctor in the Champaign area, here are three highly-regarded practices that may be of assistance to you:
Carle Physician Group
Urbana – Main Campus
611 West Park Street
Urbana, IL 61801
1801 West Windsor Road
Champaign, IL 61822
N Hall St 93291
2718 North Prospect Avenue
Champaign, IL 61822
Applying for Social Security Disability in Champaign
Prior to applying for Social Security disability benefits in Champaign, claimants should ensure that they meet the necessary criteria. First and foremost, SSDI applicants need to have earned enough “work credits” in the prior ten years. The number of work credits required is dependent on the age at which you become disabled. However, only those individuals who have worked enough hours and paid federal taxes into the system will be eligible for benefits.
Next, applicants must meet the stringent medical criteria as outlined by the SSA. As noted above, the Blue Book is an excellent resource to help determine if you are ill enough to warrant a disability award. Keep in mind, however, that not all candidates will meet a Blue Book listing. Some applicants might qualify for a financial award through a medical-vocational allowance.
Regardless of how you qualify, SSDI benefits are reserved for disabled individuals who are facing a chronic, long-term illness. If your health is expected to improve over the next year, it is unlikely that you will be considered for an award. Your doctor will need to confirm that your health condition is so severe as to keep you out of work for at least 12 months.
Champaign residents can apply for disability benefits from the comfort of their home. There are options for both online and telephone applications. If you need additional help, you can visit one of the offices listed below.
Champaign Social Security Office 61821
101 S Country Fair Drive
Champaign, Illinois 61821
Danville Social Security Office 61831
400 North Vermilion Street
Danville, Illinois 61832
Decatur Social Security Office 62526
606 W Pershing Road
Decatur, Illinois 62526
Can a Social Security Lawyer Help Me Win My Claim in Champaign?
Applying for disability benefits is a long and cumbersome process. There are many deadlines to be met and requirements to be fulfilled. Even for the most organized person, the process can be confusing. While a straight-forward case may be approved in as little as a few months, many disability applicants have waited up to three years for an award.
One way to improve your chances of winning your claim is to hire a qualified lawyer. Disability attorneys or advocates have experience in dealing with the Social Security Administration. They know precisely what needs to be done to improve your application. With your permission, your lawyer can speak directly with your healthcare providers and the SSA on your behalf. Besides, if you are one of the many cases that require an appeal, your lawyer can submit that paperwork and represent you in appeals court. There indeed is nothing to lose by hiring a disability lawyer.