To begin receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you must complete an application and attach all requested documentation. You must meet all conditions of disability outlined by the program before you can collect Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. These include the following:
- Your disability prevents you from doing the work you did prior to your illness or injury.
- Your disability prevents you from training for another line of work.
- You have been disabled for at least one year, you are expected to be disabled for more than one year, or your disability is expected to cause your death.
SSDI imposes this definition of disability in order to prevent people from fraudulently receiving benefits to which they are not entitled. The program also makes the assumption that people who are sick or injured short-term have access to resources such as a savings account, worker’s compensation benefits or insurance policies.
What to Do if Your Claim is Denied
Approximately two-thirds of initial applications for SSDI are denied. The reasons range from not meeting the definition of disability to paperwork errors. If you receive a denial notice from SSDI, you have up to 60 days to file an appeal. It is important that you appeal your case rather than submitting a new application as it is considered a duplicate application and may be denied again.
To improve your chances of getting approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you should consider hiring an attorney starting with your first appeal. Look for an attorney in the Chicago area who has several years of experience with filing SSDI appeals on behalf of clients. When you speak to this person, be certain to ask his or her percentage of approved claims when compared to all appeals filed. You should ask about specific procedures used to give your application a better chance of getting approved on appeal. The first time you appeal a denied SSDI application is referred to as reconsideration.
Next Steps After Reconsideration
It is not uncommon for reconsideration appeals to be denied. Fortunately, there are additional steps available to obtain the benefits you deserve. The next step involves a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. The judge at this hearing will have had no part in your initial denial or the reconsideration. You may bring witnesses to the hearing who can testify about your medical condition. The hearing may also be held by video conferencing if the judge deems it to be appropriate in your situation.
If your case is denied by the administrative law judge, you can ask it to be reviewed by the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration. The Appeals Council has the option of reviewing your case or sending it back to an administrative law judge. Your final resource is to prepare a lawsuit and file it in federal court. Regardless of how far you take your case, you have a better chance of success when you work with a SSDI lawyer in Chicago.