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How To File A Social Security Disability Claim

by Jamie Nichols

When people think about social security benefits, they usually think about the assisted income offered to elderly citizens. However, there are other social security claims that can help people of any age. One such program is the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This government assistance may be rewarded to certain individuals who are disabled, regardless of their age. Here's how to determine whether or not you qualify for this service and how you can file a claim.

Determine if your disability is eligible.

Though there is not necessarily an age requirement to receive SSDI, there are certain criteria the claimant must meet. The first requirement you must meet is having earned a certain amount of work credits, as well as worked at least 5 out of the last 10 years. You also need to fulfill these 3 requirements: you are physically or mentally impaired, the disability prevents you from doing gainful work, and your disability must last for at least 12 months.

  • Physical and Mental Disabilities: To be considered, you must have a disability that is medically determinable, which means a doctor can diagnose your disability. There are also certain disabilities that automatically meet the government's disability criteria.
  • Gainful Work: This requirement is the most subjective because it is where Social Security will determine not only if you are unable to perform your most recent job, but also whether or not you could adequately perform any job. There are a number of factors that go into determining this, such as disability, age, and education.
  • Lasting Disability: In order for a disability to be classified as lasting, you must have doctor support stating the disability will last for at least 12 months or is fatal.

Decide if you want legal representation.

After you've determined you fit the criteria for SSDI, you need to decide if you want to hire a lawyer to represent you or you want to go it alone. The benefit to representing yourself is that you won't have to pay any legal fees. The downside to this is that your odds of winning an SSDI hearing without a lawyer are greatly decreased. This is because a lawyer does not only help you obtain necessary documents, but they will also coach you on what questions you will be asked to answer and they can better cross examine any vocational experts called upon.

File the right documents.

Once you have hired a lawyer or have decided to represent yourself, you must gather all of your medical records relevant to your case. You will then have to file an application with Social Security. If you are denied, you must file an appeal or reconsideration request. If your claim is still denied, then you may file a request for a hearing.

If your claim reaches this point, then it may be best to hire an attorney to help you through the muddy waters of the legal system. A legal office like Espy Metcalf & Espy PC At Law can give you more information.