There are many things about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) which are lengthy and complicated. The actual process of applying for your Social Security Disability Insurance benefits is fairly simple and straight forward.
In order to get the ball rolling, you simply call your Social Security Administration (SSA) and inform them of your intent to file. They will then set up an interview date with you. You can have your interview conducted over the phone or in person. It is recommended to have your interview in person if you are able to do so.
During the interview, you will be questioned about your work history, your contributions to FICA, and the nature of your disability. You will need to present conclusive evidence that you truly are disabled according to the SSA’s regulations regarding total disability. Essentially, you will need to clearly demonstrate that you are not capable of performing any work whatsoever. This includes any kind of work you have done before and any kind of other work which is available at the time of your application.
In addition to questions about why you are no longer able to perform daily tasks required for employment, you will be asked about your daily routines. Be careful how you answer the questions regarding your daily activities. While you will want to be truthful, you will also want to make sure your interviewer understands any pain or discomfort you experience while doing anything, including sitting or standing for extended periods of time. The ability to perform routine tasks around the home and community are often used as evidence of your ability to work.
Most initial claims are denied. While most people don’t want to go through the lengthy appeals process, that’s just the way the Social Security Disability system works. There’s no way to guarantee that an application for SSDI benefits will be accepted, especially on its first pass. There are, however, some things you can do right from the beginning to improve your chances of having your Social Security Disability claim accepted.
Perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself is have a frank discussion with your doctor about the fact you are filing for Social Security Disability. Ask if he would be willing to make a detailed written statement regarding your disabilities. You will want to make sure that he agrees that your condition does indeed cause you to be unable to perform any substantial gainful activity, and that he expects your condition to last at least a year (or to be terminal). A qualified doctor’s statement can go a long way towards having your claim accepted and avoiding what can be a lengthy appeals process.
Make sure to cooperate with anyone who asks you for anything at the SSA. Turn information ahead of the deadlines, preferably well ahead of the deadlines. If you are contacted make sure to return phone calls and e mails promptly. If more information is requested, make sure that you are fully cooperative and truthful.
Be prepared for your application for SSDI benefits to be denied. Even if you do everything exactly as it should be done and are clearly disabled you still stand the chance that your Social Security Disability claim will be denied and you will need to file a request for reconsideration. Only about a third of initial disability claims are accepted.
Consider choosing a Social Security Disability lawyer or advocate to represent you now rather than waiting until you have received a denial. The sooner you have a qualified advocate working on your claim, the better your chances are of having your Social Security Disability claim approved in a timely manner.