People often talk about the challenges of dealing with government departments. Even applying for much-needed benefits like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a nightmare of forms with hard-to-understand instructions. But you might wonder if applying for SSDI is really that hard, or is the idea just an urban myth? Yes, the process is that hard. And that’s what we’ll look at in this article, with a solution included at the end.
The High Rejection Rate for People Applying for SSDI
The denial rate in 2016, the last year available, is 63 percent. That means the majority of people who apply for SSDI do not receive benefits. The Social Security Administration (Social Security) can deny benefits based on medical reasons or technical reasons.
The term “technical reasons” for denials include:
- You make too much money to be considered disabled.
- Your work history does not meet the requirements.
- You did not earn enough work credits.
When an application is denied for medical reasons, it means there was not enough medical evidence to prove your disabling condition.
Qualifying Is Not Guaranteed
Not everyone with a severe medical condition is eligible for SSDI benefits. To qualify, you must:
- Have earned enough work credits,
- Have a disabling condition that has lasted for at least 12 months, is expected to last for at least 12 months, or is expected to be terminal.
If you don’t meet these qualifications, your application probably will be denied.
The Long List of Required Documentation
It may seem like SSDI wouldn’t be a real government program if it didn’t place a significant burden on people applying for it.
When applying for SSDI, you will need to send documents regarding your:
- Date and place of birth,
- Marital status, including any divorces;
- Children, if any;
- U.S. military service;
- Employer and work history;
- Healthcare providers;
- Medical records; and
- Education and training.
After submitting your application and documents, you will meet with a Social Security caseworker to discuss your claim.
You Will Be Interviewed
In fact, the Social Security caseworker will interview you. Usually, this happens in person or by telephone.
The caseworker will go over your application and supporting documents. You will be asked to provide much of the same information contained in your application but may have to provide additional details. While they usually try to make you as comfortable as possible, it is still a nerve-wracking experience for many people. It’s easy to make mistakes or fail to provide all the information needed to get approved for benefits.
Applying for SSDI Does Not Mean You Will Be Approved
As noted above, the approval rate for first-time applicants is less than 50%. So, just making it through the process may not be enough. If you do receive a denial of benefits letter, you then have to decide whether to appeal the decision.
The application and appeal processes can be long and frustrating, but it usually helps to have someone on your side. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.