If you are younger than full retirement age years old, Social Security disability benefits may include payment of your medical expenses and cash to cover many of your living expenses and bills. To qualify for Social Security disability, you must have an illness or disability that will last for more than a year or is expected to result in fatality.
Determining Your Eligibility for Social Security Disability
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will start to determine your basic eligibility by examining your past and current work history. Based on their findings, your application may or may not progress based on the following basic criteria:
- Information from your physician regarding your current medical condition and prognosis
- A thorough examination of your clinical and medical records
- The effect your current diagnosis has on your daily activities and your long-term ability to work
- Your past, current, and anticipated future medical treatment plans
Applicants might also be asked to undergo a physical examination and medical evaluation. The Social Security Administration will cover the cost of any medical tests and examinations they request. In some cases, they might also cover the costs of traveling to and from mandatory medical exams.
Understand Social Security Disability’s Five-Step Evaluation Process
The following five factors are used to determine the degree and severity of your disability:
- Whether or not you are working and the amount of your income
- How your disability affects your ability to perform basic tasks like standing, walking, lifting, and concentrating
- How your current medical condition compares with the Social Security Administration’s list of qualifying impairments
- Your ability to do the same work or same type of work you did prior to your illness or injury
- Your ability to perform a different type of employment than you had prior to your illness or injury
There may be other qualifications you need to meet if you have certain conditions such as blindness or reduced vision.
For a free legal consultation, call (412) 424-6079
Applying to Receive the Benefits of Social Security Disability
You can apply for Social Security disability benefits online or on the telephone. An attorney can provide valuable assistance in filing an application.
During the interview, expect to share the following information:
- Social Security number
- Birth certificate
- Names and contact information for all doctors and hospitals where you receive treatment
- Dates and locations of all treatments you receive
- Prescription records and dosages of any medications you take
- Recent work history and job descriptions
Your lawyer can help by making sure the Social Security Administration has the appropriate information about your medical providers.
You Can Fight a Wrongful Social Security Disability Denial
If your claim for Social Security disability coverage is denied, you are entitled to file an appeal. Just like during your original application process, you are entitled to have a lawyer by your side during the appeals process. The process of appealing a denial has four distinct steps:
- Reconsideration: a thorough review of your original claim, submitted paperwork, and any additional evidence you submit
- Hearing: an opportunity to have a Judge review your claim and its supporting paperwork along with new evidence
- Appeals Council: an appeal of a denial following a hearing that could result in a final determination or in a return to the hearing process
- Federal Court: the final step in the appeals process is to file a lawsuit asking a federal court to review the denial of your claim
For your appeal to be considered by the Social Security Administration, you must file your claim for reconsideration within 60 days of the date you are notified that your claim is denied. You have the right to legal representation during the appeals process.
You Are Entitled to Have a Lawyer By Your Side When Applying for Benefits
The benefits of Social Security disability can help you and your family financially. You can learn to navigate the application process and determine when you may receive a determination about your claim. Learn about filing an appeal if your claim is denied.
You are not alone. A Berger and Green lawyer cannot expedite the application process, but we can help you apply for Social Security disability benefits and request a hearing date if there is sufficient time to do so. Call Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400.