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Social Security Disability 101 + Approval Secrets

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Over nine million Americans receive Social Security Disability, but it is still a mysterious program to many living with disabilities. Find out some quick information here and visit ssa.gov if you believe you might qualify. 

BONUS: A SECRET TIP TO GETTING APPROVED ON EACH PAGE.

WHAT IS SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY

Social security disability insurance is financial support for workers with disabilities, paid monthly by the government. You receive these benefits until you are able to return to work or until retirement age. If you reach retirement age while on social security insurance, the amount automatically converts to retirement benefits.

TIP #1: Get a doctor to write a letter stating how your medical conditions affect your ability to work full-time and submit it to the disability examiner.

HOW MUCH ARE THE BENEFITS?

The current average monthly disability benefit is $1,234 a month.

TIP #2: Make sure you apply for both SSDI and SSI because you could get double the amount of backpay.

WHERE DOES SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY MONEY COME FROM?

Social Security Disability is a program under the Social Security Administration and is covered by FICA deductions that come out of workers paychecks.

TIP #3: You are allowed to work part-time while waiting for disability as long as it is under $1,260 a month.

DO I QUALIFY?

You could qualify if..

  • You have a terminal illness or medical condition that prevents you from doing work for at least one year
  • You are legally disabled (see legal definition of disabled)
  • At least five of the last ten years you have worked in jobs covered by Social Security
  • You are of working age (between 18 and retirement age)

TIP #4: Mental health conditions are just as disabling as physical health conditions.

HOW DO I APPLY?

You can apply for Social Security Disability Benefits online (https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/). The initial application includes filling out forms about yourself and your medical condition. These can be completed on your own or you can hire a professional representative from a social security law firm to assist you.

TIP #5: Go to the doctor and often! 90% of what they look at when determining if you’re disabled is your medical records. Make sure to tell the doctor all of your symptoms.

SHOULD I GET HELP FROM A SOCIAL SECURITY PROFESSIONAL?

The process can be completed on your own, but a majority of applications are initially denied (~60% are denied). Proving the legal definition of disabled can be tricky. Once an application is denied, an appeal can be completed and having a professionals help could be beneficial. If you hire someone, these services are usually free until your application is approved and then a portion of your benefits is distributed to the law firm to pay for the work done. If you are denied after the appeal, then no fees are paid (make sure you understand the full agreement with firm you hire before proceeding).

TIP #6: Most everyone is denied initially and they want you to give up instead of appeal the decision.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

The application and appeal can take up to a year and once approved, you still have to wait a couple months before receiving benefits. The good news is you do receive back pay for the months since the initial application.

TIP #7: You can apply for social security disability as many times as you want.

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