Most people do not think about disability until they or a loved one becomes disabled and are unable to work or care for themselves. While most people do not think that disability is that prevalent of an issue, unfortunately, our Social Security Disability lawyer in NYC knows that disabilities are much more common than most people believe. For instance, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA) an insured worker born in 2000 has a 25% chance of becoming disabled before retirement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that there are approximately 61 million adults living in the United States with a disability.
The majority of these individuals and their families will rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to obtain the benefits they need to pay bills and monthly rent/mortgage. Delays in obtaining benefits can create severe economic hardships for a family, including difficult financial situations that could result in the loss of a home, apartment, or services like cell phone, internet, electricity, or heat.
Knowing how to obtain disability benefits in a timely fashion is important to protect you and your family. This is why our experienced Social Security Disability lawyers in NYC at O’Connor Law want you to know how to avoid Social Security Disability application delays.
The most important way to avoid delays with disability applications is knowing the difference between Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Applying to the wrong one could result in the outright denial of your application, or could result in a request to amend or change your application which could put you to the back of the queue.
SSI is a benefits program that offers older adults and individuals with disabilities (regardless of age) who have very limited income, assets, and resources, with basic financial assistance that is usually enough for housing and certain utilities. The benefits are low and for basic necessities.
In contrast, SSDI is a benefits program that supports individuals who are disabled and have a qualifying work history. The work history must be for a certain amount of “credits” that are earned over the course of several years of work. SSDI pays more than SSI, and oftentimes individuals may be eligible for both programs.
If you apply for SSDI without a work history, your application will be denied and you may either have the option of changing your application, or you may have to start again. Applying to the right benefits program is an obvious and essential way to reduce the delay in obtaining your benefits.
Although SSDI benefits require an individual to be disabled for at least a year, that does not mean that you have to wait for the full year to elapse. Rather, an individual may apply after six months of disability if a physician opines that your disability will continue for at least another six months. This can help an individual obtain the important benefits that he or she needs sooner.
Obtaining medical records has always been difficult, but that task has only been magnified during the pandemic. Many hospital and physician offices are delayed in responding to medical record requests, and when they do respond, the requests may be a mess. Gathering the medical records and compiling them in order of relevance and chronology is important to help support your claim.
Even proper applications may receive requests for information from the SSA. While some may be basic, others may be more difficult and involved. This is particularly true when you need to prove a work history for SSDI benefits. Timely responding to the SSA is crucial to obtaining the benefits that you need. Failing to respond fast enough could even result in a denial of your application, forcing you to restart the process.
While there is no requirement to hire a lawyer to complete your disability application, having an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in NYC like one of ours at O’Connor Law can help ensure that you do not have self-inflicted delays in obtaining benefits. We can help you apply for the proper disability program you may be entitled to, timely apply when you are first eligible, gather and compile medical evidence, respond to SSA requests for information, and handle all other facets of your disability application.
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