Social Security Disability Benefits Guide
According to some statistical studies, over one in four of today's 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67. When thinking about it, it is a very troublesome idea that you may be unable to support the family you may have and will not be able to have an income due to a disability. In many countries, this issue is addressed by some sort of social security. In the U.S if you have Social Security, you may be able to cover yourself but there are some important things you need to know.
What is Social Security and What are Disability Benefits?
The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt in 1935 following the great depression and is considered to be one of his largest contributions to American society. Social Security is the foundation of economic security that millions of Americans rely on to this day and is also the subject of much political debate. Most people receive a social security number at birth by simply checking a box on the birth certificate form.
Social Security works as a pay as you go program, workers pay money every month a part of their salary and can access their fund when they retire or otherwise need to access the money for example in the case of a disability. On average about one in four families receive some sort of income from Social Security.
One of these incomes is disability payments. Social Security pays disability benefits to people who can’t work because of a medical condition that is expected to last for more than a year or result in death. The average amount of money that will be paid to workers who have become disabled is $1,172 a month. If the disabled worker has a spouse they are eligible for $2,278 a month.
You are not automatically eligible for disability benefits if your doctor says so, you need to pass the strict application that Social Security has by law.
Social Security has two separate disability benefits programs one for insured workers, their disabled surviving spouses, and children (disabled before age 22) of disabled, retired, or deceased workers. The other program is called Supplemental Security Income which is meant for people who have disabilities with little or no income and financial resources.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
It is prudent to apply to the Social Security for Disability status as soon as you become disabled as the benefits will only begin to enter your account after the 6th full month of disability. Normally it will take from 3 to 5 months after completing the application to receive a decision from Social Security. However, the faster you provide all the information necessary for the application, the faster you will get a decision.
The decision is made by a state agency that will review your request. They will contact your doctors, view medical records and interview you as well. In some cases, as part of the process, the state will ask you to come in for a medical test. There are a few ways you can apply for Social Security Disability benefits, either online, in person, or on the phone.
The information you will need to have handy when filling out the application is quite extensive, and the process may take up to two hours to complete. The information you need to have on hand is:
- Date and Place of Birth
- Marriage and Divorce (Including dates, places, and names)
- Names and Dates of Birth of Children who are under the age of 18
- U.S. Military Service (If relevant)
- Employer Details for Current Year and Prior 2 Years (as well as total income)
- Self-Employment Details for Current Year and Prior 2 Years
- Direct Deposit Account
- Alternate Contact
- List of your Medical Conditions
- Information/Records About Doctors, Hospitals
- Information About Other Medical Records
- Job History
- Education and Training
To apply online you will need to visit the apply for the benefits page of the Social Security website. After accepting the terms and conditions of the online application you will be asked to either login into an existing account or create a new one. In order to create a new account, you will need to confirm some data that they have as well as have an email address, a Social Security number, a US mailing address and be above the age of 18. After login to your account, you can now start the application process.
Apply on the Phone
You can apply for disability by calling Social Security’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. A representative will then make you a phone appointment or set you up with an appointment at any Social Security office.
Apply in Person
There is no way to sent an appointment online to meet with a representative at the Social Security office in order to file for benefits, but you can just show up and wait in line. You can locate the nearest office to you by entering your ZIP code into the Social Security branch finder tool.
How to Appeal a Decision
If your application was denied, you have to wait 6 months before you apply again, but you can appeal a decision online within 60 days of the decision. There are four types of appeals. The first is to have someone else look at your application who did not look at it before, this is useful if you believe they made a mistake when looking over your application.
If you have appealed the decision, but still received a negative reply you can appeal to an administrative law judge who had no part in your case before who will make a decision in a hearing.
If you received a denial by the administrative law judge you can submit a request to the Appeals Council who may review your application. The Appeals Council looks at all requests and decides whether to review them or not.
If you do not think the Appeals Council's decision was correct or if they decided not to review your case, you can file a civil suit in a federal district court. This is the final step in the appeals process and if denied, there is no further action you can take aside from reapplying.