Social Security benefits can be extremely important for those who are living with disabilities in Florida and cannot work and earn an income.
Two types of Social Security benefits are available for disabled people: SSD (Social Security Disability Insurance) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income).
Despite how essential these benefits are in many people’s lives, hundreds of claims are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA) every year.
If you are disabled and are in need of benefits, here are some tips for increasing your chances of your SSD claim being approved, including hiring an experienced Orlando Social Security disability attorney.
The Rates of Social Security Disability Claim Denials
First, let’s look at the rates of denied SSD claims. According to an Annual Statistical Report from the SSA, the SSD benefits award rate in 2010 (the most recent year for which data is available) was 34.8 percent.
There were 688,348 medical denials and an additional 12,418 subsequent non-medical denials.
For a person who is trying to apply for SSD benefits, these numbers do not look good. They demonstrate how tough it can be to have a claim approved. For this reason, following the tips for increasing your chances of your claim being approved, including hiring an attorney, is extremely important
Understand Your Social Security Credits
While you do not need credits to apply for SSI, you will need Social Security credits to apply for SSD benefits. If you do not have credits, then your SSD claim will be denied.
According to the Social Security Administration, credits are the “building blocks” that are used to find out whether or not you have worked long enough — and paid into the Social Security insurance system long enough — in order to recover benefits.
You earn credits simply by working and paying your Social Security taxes every year.
If you are above age 31 but below age 42, you need 20 work credits; if you are above age 42, you need 22 work credits; and if you are above age 46, you need 24 work credits. The older that you are, the more credits that you will need to qualify for SSD benefits.
Make Sure You Have a Qualifying Disability
Not all disabilities are covered under the SSD program. In fact, your disability must meet the criteria listed in the SSA’s Blue Book, or Listing of Impairments – Adult Listings, or else you must go through another process for proving your disability.
If you are an adult, make sure you thoroughly read through the relevant Blue Book section before filing your claim. If you do not see your disability listed, or if you do not meet all criteria listed, your claim could be denied.
You will also need to make sure that you have the medical evidence necessary to prove that your disability meets the criteria. Of course, an attorney can help you to track down and compile that information.
Make Sure All Application Documents are Included
The application process for applying for SSD benefits is extremely comprehensive. You will need to provide detailed information about your work history, your disability, your medical records, your personal information, your income level and more.
If you leave anything out – even what seems to be the smallest detail – your claim could be denied.
Know How to Approach Your SSD Hearing
If you are appealing a denied SSD benefits application, you are probably wondering, “What are my chances of winning an SSD hearing?”
When you do everything right to get ready for the hearing, it certainly will improve your chances. However, a small mistake can quickly result in a hearing failure.
In addition to reading our section on What You Need to Know about Social Security Disability Hearings, follow these tips for your SSD benefits hearing:
Gather new medical evidence and submit it in a timely manner.
Submit a brief (or have one prepared by your attorney) detailing why you should be awarded SSD benefits.
Dress appropriately, remain professional and be polite to the administrative law judge hearing your case.
Be prepared to answer questions.
Present witnesses who can testify on your behalf.
Make sure you have expert witnesses who can back you up.
Do not provide additional information other than answers to questions that you are directly asked.
Filing your appeal on time and requesting a hearing is also incredibly important. An attorney can help you to make sure that your appeal is filed within the time limit required. If your SSD benefits claim is again denied, even after your hearing, hope is not yet completely lost. You can still appeal the decision and request an appeals council review.
Hire an Experienced Orlando Social Security Disability Benefits Attorney
Because the SSD benefits claims process can be intense and riddled with legal hurdles, one of the best things that you can do is to hire an attorney who is experienced in Social Security disability law and the claims process.
A Social Security disability attorney likely knows exactly what the SSA is looking for on your application and can help you to make sure that your application is completed accurately, completely and in keeping with SSA criteria.
If your claim is denied, hiring a disability benefits attorney may be even more important, as going through the appeals process and a disability hearing without a legal representative can be a very trying experience. Read more about Your Lawyer’s Role in Your SSD Benefits Case on our website.
When you are disabled and are unable to work and earn an income, receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income can be life changing.
At Frank M. Eidson, P.A., you will find that we are ready to sit down with you to discuss your disability and the possibility of recovering benefits today.