SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. Most employees in Clearwater do not think about this insurance program, but they pay premiums through their payroll taxes throughout their working lives.
If you become disabled and lose the ability to work, however, SSDI can suddenly become the focus of your attention. The SSDI program is designed to support employees who have worked hard and paid taxes but find themselves unable to continue with employment. These benefits can make up for income lost due to disability.
However, demonstrating that a worker qualifies for SSDI can be a challenge. Many employees find it helpful to work with a knowledgeable Clearwater SSDI lawyer from the start of the process to help document their qualifications as completely as possible. A personal injury attorney could also help if it becomes necessary to appeal the denial of a claim or discontinuance of benefits.
Applying for Benefits
The SSDI program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Most people seeking benefits may apply online.
Applicants may also call to schedule an appointment to have their information taken over the phone or in person at a nearby Social Security office. SSDI lawyers in Clearwater know that it may take the agency three to five months to review the application.
Information Needed to Apply
Applicants will need to submit certain information for their application to be considered complete, including:
- Identifying information, such as a birth certificate and Social Security number
- The most recent W-2 form (or tax return for those who are self-employed)
- Work history
- Contact information for doctors, hospitals, and clinics visited and dates of visits
- Medical records from hospitals, doctors, therapists, etc.
- Test results
- Types of medication taken and dosages
The SSA will ask for information about the disabling medical condition and how it limits the applicant’s ability to work. This information is crucial to the claim, so a Clearwater SSDI attorney can help submit the evidence in the most persuasive manner possible. If the applicant cannot demonstrate that their disability meets the agency’s standards, SSA will deny benefits.
Eligibility for SSDI
When the SSA reviews an application for disability benefits, they look at two key requirements.
First, the applicant must have acquired a certain number of work credits to qualify. The agency uses a sliding scale to determine how many years of employment are sufficient. An employee who becomes disabled at a younger age will need fewer years of work credit than an employee suffering a disability later in life.
Additionally, the employee must have earned a large percentage of those credits in recent years. Work history will also play a role in determining whether an applicant meets the disability standards, because the agency will consider the type of work done previously and whether the applicant would be able to learn to perform different tasks in the future.
SSA staff will review the record of an applicant in detail to determine whether the applicant is completely disabled and unable to perform gainful employment. An SSDI lawyer in Clearwater could help gather evidence to demonstrate that it is not feasible to expect the applicant to continue in the previous type of work or to adapt to new work.
Work with a Dedicated Clearwater SSDI Attorney
Satisfying the SSA’s standards often requires long-term effort. The agency frequency denies initial claims, in which case applicants may seek a reconsideration of the decision. SSA staff also conduct the reconsideration, so they may again find that the applicant has not met the burden of proof to qualify.
After a reconsideration, an applicant may have a judge review the evidence in a hearing. In many cases, the hearing provides an applicant’s best opportunity to receive benefits, so applicants frequently seek help from a Clearwater SSDI lawyer. The earlier an attorney begins to work on a claim, the easier it can be to develop a record that satisfies agency standards. To get started, call now for a consultation.