What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
When Should You File for SSD or SSI Disability Benefits?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Many potential applicants for social security disability or SSI disability applicants wait far too long before filing for disability benefits. In many instances, these individuals have already ceased working due to a physical or mental impairment, or a combination of physical or mental impairments. In other cases, potential applicants for disability benefits are still in the workforce, but are working reduced hours, earning even below what the social security administration considers to be a supporting wage (known as SGA, or substantial gainful activity).
In either scenario, failing to file for social security disability or SSI at "the right time" will simply result in one very predictable outcome: pushing farther off into the future the receipt date of monthly disability benefits, which the individual may be fully eligible to receive and which may make the difference between some degree of financial stability and financial collapse.
The appropriate time for anyone to file a disability benefits claim with the social security administration is when their physical or mental condition (or both, if they have both mental and physical impairments) have deteriorated to the point that they can demonstrate the following:
1. That they have a severe impairment. This, of course, is a subjective assessment that is proven or disproven by one's medical records. However, very few individuals file for disability on the basis of a non-severe impairment and these individuals typically have their claims quickly denied.
A non-severe impairment can be easily identified by a disability examiner or a social security judge (for a case that is being heard at the hearing level of appeal) and an example of a non-severe impairment might be "a sprained ankle" or a case of dermatitis. A severe impairment, by comparison, might be a broken leg for which there has been a "poor union", resulting in a obvious reduction in the person's ability to effectively ambulate.
2. That the severe is "severe enough" to have prevented the ability to work and earn a substantial and gainful income for a full year. If the claimant has not been out of work (or had their ability to work and earn at least a substantial and gainful income eliminated) for a full year by the time they apply for disability, then the social security administration can evaluate the claimant's medical condition to determine if the severity of their condition will eventually result in a loss of ability to work for a full year.
In brief, anytime a person's condition becomes severe enough that they cannot earn a supportive wage, they should consider filing a claim for disability. And since disability claims take many months to process, they should consider filing the claim as soon as possible.
Initiating a claim, of course, starts easily by simply contacting a local social security office and setting up an appointment for a disability application interview. Individuals who do this can also consider obtaining representation from a disability lawyer if they wish to have the lawyer assist them in getting the claim started.
However, many individuals will simply wait to see if their application is denied before seeking assistance. Does representation make sense at an early stage? For many individuals, it will make as much sense to just wait until a denial notice has been received; however, their are some disability representatives that are effective enough that they can win their claimant's cases at the disability application stage, thus avoiding many months of processing time on appeals.
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Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials