First a quick look at what Social Security Disability (SSD) is not. SSD isn't State Disability Insurance (SDI) that is an injured worker's insurance program administered by the Employment Development Department (EDD) of the State of California. And SSD is of course not an exclusive disability insurance plan of the sort which was once a widely available fringe benefit for employees, but has become increasingly rare. On this website, we will discuss these disability plans in the future.
So what's Social Security Disability? Generally, it is a system funded and administered by the federal Social Security Administration to provide disability benefits to two classes or categories of disabled people. To qualify, a person must belong to one class or the other. Unfortunately, its not all disabled person meets the qualification to be in either class. Therefore, there are lots of disabled people who do not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Many do, however, and they're either disabled persons who have worked previously and paid into Social Security from their earnings for a sufficient time period, or they're disabled persons that are without substantial assets.
Those in the very first category receive benefits under Title II of the federal Social Security Act. They're called "Title II" beneficiaries, or "SSDI" (Social Security Disability Insurance) beneficiaries. Title II and SSDI refer to the same beneficiaries.
The 2nd category receives benefits under Title 16 of the Act. These beneficiaries are often called "SSI" (Supplemental Security Income) beneficiaries.
(4) When Medicare benefits will go into effect. Remember a significant section of a handicapped person's benefits is medical care insurance through the federal Medicare program, it doesn't matter how old the disabled person is.
It is important to really have a legal representative help with your Social Security Disability claim. Your security disability attorney will establish that you belong in a class that qualifies, and more importantly, that you meet Social Security's complicated criteria for establishing your disability. Here, having an attorney will make a large difference. A much higher percentage of applicants who've a legal representative assisting them recover benefits, than those with out a representative.
You should know that what an attorney may charge you is controlled by what the law states, and that you will see no fee charged unless you recover your benefits. Fees are not charged "up front." They are always paid from past due benefits, if any, owed for you when the award of benefits is made.
Following the Application has been filed, the Social Security Administration (SSA) investigates the claim. As part of the applying paperwork you will have to identify your doctors. They'll be contacted by letter and asked to provide copies of your medical records. Not totally all doctors cooperate. Those records which can be provided are then reviewed, and predicated on that review, the claim for disability benefits is accepted or denied. A very high percentage of the applications are denied now, so this first denial, while disappointing, should not discourage you from continuing together with your claim.
The first denial is appealed by filing a Request for Reconsideration. Instructions for making this request are given the denial. The exact same medical documents are then reviewed by another person and in nearly all cases, the claim is denied another time. Again, while disappointing to the applicant, you ought to proceed with the claim. Instructions for appealing from the second denial are given the denial letter. This second appeal will soon be in the form of requesting a reading of the case before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
While enough time it will take from the date of the application form to the point of the second denial varies, the normal case will require from two to four months. The second appeal, the request for hearing before an ALJ, starts another clock running, and the file is transferred to a different branch of the determination processors.
If the SSA hasn't already had you examined by way of a medical specialist, you might have a medical examination scheduled now. More medical records might be requested for review, and your case is then placed in line for calendaring an ALJ hearing. This second round of processing takes several months and it will probably total about eight months from the time you request an ALJ hearing to the hearing date itself.
Your experienced social security disability attorney can be particularly helpful through the entire claim process after your first denial. Your doctors might have to be prodded to provide records, additional doctors, therapists, and counselors may need to be contacted. Your attorney will write, and talk for them in person as necessary. Your attorney may ask them to get ready statements about your physical or psychological limitations that consider the specific points that the ALJ will soon be looking for in deciding your claim. Your attorney will prepare you and any witnesses he or she feels are essential for their testimony at the ALJ hearing, and your attorney will accompany you and represent you at the hearing itself.