Slepian Smith, PLLC

Careful preparation of SSDI application boosts approval chances

It is well-known that many applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (or for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI) are denied, often because the Social Security Administration decides that a claimant’s medical condition does not meet the federal definition of disability.

While it is true that applications are often denied initially and several levels of further review may be requested later, it can take a long time to wind through the appeals process — months or even years — so having the application approved right away is preferred. Timely approval means the SSA will pay cash disability benefits sooner at a time that is likely financially difficult since the claimant cannot work and may have high medical bills.

Normally, benefits begin five months after approval. In addition, eligibility for Medicare takes effect two years from the start of benefits. Starting the clock running on this two-year period is another reason to file a robust, correctly filled-out application to try to get approval right away.

An experienced attorney’s assistance with an SSDI or SSI application can be helpful. A lawyer who regularly represents disabled claimants will understand how to complete a thorough, accurate application. In addition, legal counsel can facilitate the creation of a detailed, comprehensive medical record with the agency that demonstrates the severity of the applicant’s mental and physical impairments and how they impact the claimant’s functioning.

It is important to note that the definition of disability for SSDI and SSI purposes means the disability is expected to last a year or result in death. The disability need not already have lasted a year. Eligibility can be approved so long as the medical impairment is expected to last a year into the future or be fatal. So, a potential claimant should not wait for a year to pass before applying.

Even if an application is denied, an attorney can be brought in at any point in the review and appeal process.

 

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