If you have a disability that won’t allow you to work for a long time, you may be eligible to receive monetary support from the Social Security Administration (SSA) every month. To apply for these benefits, you must comply with legal requirements and deliver all the necessary paperwork. The SSA commonly rejects applications, so you must not worry if this happens to you. You can appeal the SSA’s decision and fight for the benefits you deserve in different ways.
What SSI and SSDI are
You could receive benefits under the Social Security Income (SSI) or the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The SSI program pays benefits for people with limited resources regardless of work history. The SSDI gives benefits to people who worked and paid social security taxes. To receive either benefit, you must have a qualifying disability. The SSA considers a condition disabling if it does not allow you to work and it has lasted – or is expected to last – at least a year.
What you will need
You must apply for your benefits as soon as possible. The earlier you apply, the sooner you can receive benefits. You can apply for either program online, in person, or by telephone. If you do it online, you won’t have to wait for an appointment. In your application, you will need to include some information about you, your medical condition and your work history, such as:
- Your social security number and proof of age
- Name, addresses and phone numbers of doctors, caseworkers, hospitals and clinics that have been taking care of you
- Names and dosages of the medication you are taking
- Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospital, clinics and caseworkers
- Laboratory and test results
- A summary of where you worked and what kind of work you did
- A history of your education and training
You must wait to file your application until you have all the required information. Failure to include something can result in a rejection.
After you file your application, the SSA will send it to medical and vocational experts who will analyze your case. The experts will contact your doctors and other people who have been treating you. They may also ask you to go for an independent medical examination. After gathering all relevant information about your case, the SSA will make a decision. Usually, the SSA takes around 3 to 5 months to accept or reject an application.
Exercising your rights
You have the right to appeal the SSA´s decision if they reject your application. You must do this within 60 days after receiving their response. If you request an appeal online, another person at the SSA will review your case and accept your application if they find that they made a mistake by rejecting it. There are four different levels of appeal, so there are other steps you can take if the SSA rejects your application for a second time. It is your right to get your benefits, and you have the power to fight for them.