The Social Security Claims Process Explained by a Baltimore SSD Lawyer
If you’re disabled and unable to work, you may be entitled to disability benefits through Social Security. Unfortunately, the process can be complicated and leave you feeling even more overwhelmed than you were before. To make matters worse, many claims are initially denied. The first step to filing a successful claim is understanding the process. If you’re disabled and unsure where to turn for help, a Baltimore SSD lawyer can help you get the benefits you need.
Are You Eligible for Disability Benefits?
The first step in the claims process is to determine whether you are eligible. Ultimately, this will be determined by the SSA, but an understanding of what you need to qualify will help you prepare your claim. In order to be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are disabled and have limited or no income to qualify for SSI benefits
- Your are disabled and have sufficient work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits
For most applicants, the main issue is whether they meet the SSA’s definition of disability:
- Your disability is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death
- You cannot do the work you did before or adjust to doing other work
Again, the SSA will make the final determination of whether you qualify as disabled. However, an experienced Baltimore SSD lawyer will know how to document your claim so that you can get the benefits you need.
Common Reasons Social Security Claims are Denied
Understanding why claims get denied can help you file a successful claim. The most common reasons claims get denied are as follows:
- Your income is too high
- You did not submit sufficient medical documentation
- You did not follow the prescribed medical treatment
- You have been previously denied benefits
- You did not cooperate with requests for information of other requests from the SSA
The Social Security Application Process Explained by a Baltimore SSD Attorney
You should be aware that you can file your claim online, by phone, or in-person at your local Social Security office. Most people choose to file their claims online because it is so convenient. If you choose to file your claim in-person, be aware that you will have to schedule an appointment.
The first step in what can be a long process is to file the actual application, which can involve a tremendous amount of paperwork. You want to apply early because it could take several months to get your benefits. If you’ve recently become disabled, filing your application can be quite difficult as you try to adjust to your new life. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, a Baltimore SSD attorney can help you handle every aspect of your application so that you can get your benefits as soon as possible.
In completing the application, you will need to provide a lot of information:
- Your name
- Your gender
- Your social security number
- Your date and place of birth
- Your citizenship status
- Whether you have previously filed for Social Security benefits or Medicare
- Whether you have received benefits from some other country’s Social Security system
- Your spouse’s name and information
- Information concerning your dependents
- Employment information
The above is not an exhaustive list, but you should be prepared to provide extensive personal information in completing your application.
In addition to providing the information above, you and your Baltimore SSD lawyer may also have to provide the following documentation:
- Birth certificate or other proof of birth
- If you were not born in the United States, documentation of your citizenship or lawful alien status
- Your W-2 and/or self-employment tax returns for the prior year and pay stubs
- Documentation of any workers’ compensation benefits or settlement proceeds you may have received
- An adult disability report that details your disability and how it impacts your daily living and ability to work
- Any medical documentation pertaining to your disability currently in your possession such as doctor’s reports, test results, and other medical records
If you want your benefits to be directly deposited into your bank account (assuming that your claim is approved), you will also need to provide your bank information.
After Your Social Security Claim is Filed
Once the claim is filed, the waiting begins. As your Baltimore SSD attorney can attest, it can take anywhere from six to eight months or more for the SSA to make a decision. In the meantime, they will likely request copies of your medical records from your treating physician and other information as part of their review. You should continue to follow your prescribed treatment and cooperate with any requests the SSA makes concerning your claim.
The Initial Determination
When the SSA reaches a decision, they will issue a document referred to as a “Notice of Initial Determination.” The notice will inform you of whether your claim was approved or denied and the next steps you need to take. Regardless of the decision, this is an important document and you should be sure to keep a copy for your records.
If your claim was approved, then all you need to worry about is receiving your benefits. If your claim was denied, however, you can then appeal the decision but you must do so within 60 days. Because most claims are initially denied, you should strongly consider filing an appeal – the denial does not mean that you are not entitled to benefits or that you have a bad case. That said, working with a Baltimore SSD attorney can greatly improve your chances of a successful appeal.
Call Baltimore SSD Lawyer Emmett B. Irwin Today
For people who are disabled, Social Security benefits can spell the difference between incredible hardship and being able to meet the challenges they face. Baltimore SSD attorney Emmett B. Irwin understands the challenges you’re facing, which is why he works tirelessly to get you the benefits you need. If you’re disabled and need help with your claim, contact The Law Office of Emmett B. Irwin, P.C. to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. We work with clients throughout Maryland and surrounding states.