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How to get approved for Social Security Disability

If you’ve become injured or disabled, and you are unable to work and hold down a job due to those problems, then you might be wondering how you’re going to earn money to pay your bills and take care of your family. You’ve no doubt heard that the government has programs in place to help people in predicaments like this, and the most prominent is Social Security Disability, or SSDI. If you’ve heard of SSDI, but don’t know how to go about getting approved for it, read on for some basic information.

What is SSDI?

SSDI is a program run by the Social Security department that is designed to help people who are unable to work due to physical or mental illness, injury or disability. These do not have to be problems that were caused by work — they can be caused by anything. The cause of the condition is, to a certain degree, irrelevant. There are two things that to do matter, however:

  • In order to qualify, the person in question must be unable to hold down a job due to the physical or mental condition in question.
  • This condition must be expected to persist for at least a year.

How does someone get approved for these benefits?

To get approved for SSDI, it all boils down to being able to prove the existence of a disability. This is done first by providing thorough and comprehensive medical records that show an individual is suffering from a condition that would make it impossible to work and bring in a steady income, and then by showing that this condition will not end or abate any time soon.

This proof can be done in one of two ways.

The first way an individual can get approved for benefits is by proving that he or she suffers from one of a long list of federally-recognized disabilities. To do this, the SSA provides guidance in the form of a document known as the Blue Book. This “book” lays out detailed descriptions of various physical conditions that can let a person automatically be approved for SSDI benefits. By showing medical evidence that the person in question suffers from one of these pre-approved disabilities, he or she can easily make the case that they are disabled and deserve benefits.

The second way is a little more complicated. If a person is injured or disabled, but doesn’t suffer from one of the specific conditions listed in the Blue Book, then he or she needs to show that whatever condition they are suffering is preventing them from being able to hold down a steady job or make enough of an income (a threshold known as Substantial Gainful Activity). This proof comes in the form of medical documentation, including a physician’s statement that speaks to the individual’s future prognosis.

Once the information has been submitted, then all that person can do is wait. Unfortunately, a majority of applicants (70%) are turned down the first time they apply. Luckily, there is also an appeals process that an applicant can go through if he or she thinks they were wrongfully denied benefits.

Another good piece of news is that you can improve your chances by enlisting the services of disability representative who are well-versed in SSDI cases and how to apply. If you would like to know more about applying for SSDI benefits, and having a disability representative help you as you make your case, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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