Ways & How

how to qualify for disability benefits

how to qualify for disability benefits

Some people are unable to process their disability benefits, and eventually fail to collect the supposed proceeds. This is because they are simply misguided on how to qualify for disability benefits. Disability is not something you should be afraid of; if you are a working person, the probability of becoming disabled before you retire is actually high. There are various programs for granting disability benefits, such as the Supplemental Security Income Program or SSI, the Non-Grant Medical Assistance or NGMA, and the Social Security Disability Insurance Program or SSDI. For the purposes of this article, let us discuss the SSDI program.

  1. Set of facts that must be established. It must be expressly established that you can no longer perform your work on account of a serious medical condition that affects either your physical or mental attributes. The subject disability, as established, should be expected to last for at least 12 straight months or the same may result in an untimely demise.

    Remember that the Federal Law is very stringent in examining the qualification of any applicant before the benefits can be granted.

    To help you on this, you can visit the website of the Social Security Administration and use its screening tool to initially determine whether or not you are qualified.

  2. Meet the required earnings tests. These tests are the “duration of work test,” which reflect the fact that you have actually worked for a considerable period of time as prescribed by the Social Security, and the “recent work test,” which is primarily based on your age bracket at the very instance that you got disabled. These tests do not apply to all workers.

  3. Know the time when you should apply. As soon you get disabled, apply right away for your disability benefits. Do not delay your application because the processing aspect can last from three to five months.

  4. Prepare the necessary information needed. These are your Social Security Numbers, Certificate of Live Birth or Baptismal Certificate, summary statement of your work and where you actually worked, copy of your recent Wage and Tax Statement (W-2 Form), if self employed a copy of your Federal Tax Return for the immediately preceding year, laboratory results and medical records, names and addresses of your doctors and health care providers, and the names and addresses of the hospitals you have been into.

    All of the above-enumerated data are evidentiary matters that should form part of your claim.

  5. Proceed with your application. There are two modes of applying for your disability benefits. First, visit the Division of Disability Determination Services or DDDS and ask for an application form and fill it. Also complete the required Adult Disability Report. Proceed to the office of the Social Security and file your appropriate claim in there.

    Another available option is for you to visit the website of the Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityonline, and follow the step-by-step instructions provided in there.

  6. Attend to the other forms you need to accomplish. One form pertains to the data concerning your medical condition and its direct relation to your performance in work. The other form pertains to the permission accorded to your doctors and other health care providers so they may relate to all pertinent information concerning the status of your health condition.

  7. Wait until your application is reviewed. At this stage, the state agency responsible is the Disability Determination Services or DDS. The staff of the agency will review the facts of your application and will inquire from the doctors concerns about your disability status in relation to your working ability. In case further information is needed, the agency may ask you to go through another special examination which you must comply.

  8. Wait for the decision. Your application can either be duly approved or duly disapproved. If approved, you will receive a letter from the agency stating the amount granted as your benefit and when you will start receiving payment. If disapproved, you will still get a letter explaining the cause of disapproval. You will also be informed of the further recourse available to you, and that is to appeal your case.

  9. If you disagree with the decision of the agency, appeal your case. The process on appeal is provided in Publication No. 05-10041 (The Appeals Process), and your right to an attorney to represent you in your appeal is provided in Publication No. 05-10075. Also available is Publication No. 05-10153, which is about your possible benefits and how to report any changes thereon. All these publications are available in the office of the Social Security.

  10. Wait again for the decision. Once approved, you will get a letter informing you of the specific amount of benefits you will receive on a monthly basis. This is primarily based on your lifetime average revenues.

The real advantage of knowing how to qualify for disability benefits is that you can go through the process smoothly. The steps we discussed are not that hard to follow as long as you understand each point. By this time, you can be certain that you can have your claim processed and eventually receive the corresponding benefits.


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