Navigating The Three-Step Process Of Applying For Social Security Disability Payments

Illness or injury can destroy your life in more ways than just the obvious. It's difficult enough to deal with a disability that prevents you from working, but when your social security disability claim is denied as well, your future can feel hopeless indeed. It doesn't have to stay this way, however. Thanks to the services offered by social security attorneys, you can get the help and support that's due you when an illness or injury prevents you from holding down a steady job. Social security attorneys are your best option for navigating the social security disability claim and appeal processes. Read this article to learn more. 

First, You Must Meet the Requirements

According to the Social Security Administration, you are defined as disabled if your illness or injury prevents you from performing the work you previously performed, if it prevents you from performing all other types of work as well, and if it's expected to last more than one year or result in your death. It's not a cheery proposition -- living up to the government's definition of disabled -- but if this describes you, then you're eligible to apply for monthly benefits. 

Once you've met the definition, you must also prove that you earned enough work credits throughout your lifetime to qualify for benefits. This is typically easier to prove for older citizens who've been working for a long period of time, but young people may qualify with as few as six credits.

Secondly, You Must File Your Claim

If you meet the initial eligibility guidelines, you may then file a claim to receive social security disability compensation. You may do this online, over the phone, or in person by appointment. The claim process can take months to approve, however, which makes it tough for someone who is truly disabled. You should recognize this going in and make arrangements accordingly. Social security claims take longer than most other types of claims because of the intense scrutiny the government undertakes to ensure that your situation meets all the requirements. 

As soon as you realize that you are too disabled to continue working, you should file your claim immediately. 

If Your Claim Is Denied, You Must File a Timely Appeal

It's not unusual for an applicant to wait months to hear back on a social security disability claim only to discover that the claim was denied. This can be a major setback to you if you were counting the days until your payments began. This is when it typically becomes necessary to retain a social security attorney to help you file your appeal. You can hire an attorney earlier in the process if you like, but you'll still have the same general wait time plus the added expense. This is why many people who eventually turn to an attorney wait to do so until their claim is actually denied. 

The appeal process must be started within the given time frame that will be stated in your letter of denial. In your appeal, you'll be asked to provide up-to-date medical information and any other information that has a direct bearing on your current condition. Once your appeal is received, the wait time typically reverts back to months. Qualifying for social security disability is a time-consuming process that requires patience and a means of supporting yourself while you wait. You may have to rely on relatives or local agencies to assist you with housing, food and utilities while you undergo the verification process. 

Does hiring a social security attorney increase your odds of being approved and receiving payments? It's difficult to say because every case is different. But it does show that you're serious about pursuing your benefits, and tenacity is always a plus. And your attorney will have insights into the legalese of the process that you won't, which may tilt the odds in your favor. 

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