SSDI Claims Process
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a government program designed for individuals who cannot work due to a serious long-term or permanent medical condition. Although SSDI eligibility does require that the applicant has engaged in some previous work, the medical condition suffered need not be work-related or caused by a job. If you are considering applying for benefits, you have the option of retaining legal counsel throughout the process. At Grimes Teich Anderson LLP, our Social Security attorneys can assist people across North and South Carolina with pursuing government benefits. We understand that the SSDI claims process can be challenging, and we are prepared to guide you through it, answering any questions you may have.Overview of the SSDI Claims Process
An application for SSDI benefits may be submitted online, by phone, or in person at a local Social Security office. Initially, the applicant will be required to provide personal information, such as a social security number and address, as well as certain documentation, which may include a birth certificate, tax forms, employment history, and a signed form authorizing the release of medical records from the applicant’s doctors. The Social Security Administration (SSA) may also request additional information as the benefits determination proceeds.
Once the SSA receives a completed application, both the SSA and your local Disability Determination Services (DDS) office will be involved in determining whether you are eligible to receive benefits. If you are denied benefits at any stage, you will have the opportunity to appeal an unfavorable decision. It is also important to note that you have the opportunity to retain legal representation throughout the SSDI claims process.Eligibility Requirements
There are two basic components to SSDI eligibility. First, you must meet the earnings requirement by working in jobs covered by Social Security, both recently and for a certain length of time. Second, you must have a medical condition that meets the legal definition of “disability” under the Social Security Act. The SSA will initially determine whether you have met the earnings requirement based on a published formula that takes into account your work history and age at the time of disability.
If the SSA determines that you have met the earnings requirement, it will transfer your claim to a local DDS office in your state. DDS will then decide whether or not your medical condition is severe enough to qualify as a disability. Under the Social Security Act, an individual is considered disabled if he or she is unable to engage in any manner of substantial gainful activity as a result of a severe, medically determinable physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for a year or longer, or result in death. The impairment must be severe enough that you are unable to either perform your current work or engage in any other substantial and gainful employment.
In making this decision, DDS will first look to its published Listing of Impairments. If your condition is on the list and meets the required criteria of the impairment, it will be deemed severe enough that you are incapable of working. You will then be automatically considered disabled and found eligible for SSDI benefits. If your condition is not on the list, or if it does not meet the listed criteria, DDS will then evaluate your medical impairment to determine your residual functional capacity. DDS will consider whether you are capable of engaging in the kind of work you have previously done, in light of your condition. If not, DDS will then decide whether you would be able to perform any other kind of work that exists in the national economy, in light of your medical impairment, work experience, skills, age, and education.Discuss Your SSDI Claim with an Experienced Carolina Attorney
The skilled SSDI lawyers at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP provide guidance to North and South Carolina residents who are seeking government benefits after a devastating accident or illness. Many of our clients come from cities such as Asheville, Franklin, Rutherfordton, Greenville, and Spartanburg, among others. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at (800) 533-6845.