What is Social Security Disability or (SSI)
Under the federal Social Security Disability Act, “disability” means the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
Who is eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?
If you work long enough at a job which is covered under the provisions of the Social Security Act, and become disabled, you are probably eligible for disability benefits.
According to the Social Security Administration, a “Disability” can be physical, or emotional, or some combination of both. In order to win benefits, you must have a disability severe enough to keep you from working in any regular paying job for at least 12 consecutive months.
The test for eligibility is not whether you can go back to a job you’ve lost. Nor is it whether you’ve been able to find a job recently. The test is whether you are physically and emotionally CAPABLE of doing a job that is generally available in the every day work place.
Furthermore, to obtain Social Security Disability benefits, you must have a doctor state that you are disabled “by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory findings”. Unfortunately, many genuinely disabling conditions are difficult to diagnose by objective testing. In cases like that, it’s up to your representative or legal help to present your doctor’s reports properly, and to convince the government that you deserve your benefits.
How Long does it take and what will DDS decide?
The process of the Disability Determination Services (DDS) evaluation can take up to six months, and sometimes longer, before a decision regarding your claim is made. Due to the high rate of denials, an applicant should prepare for a claim to be denied. The DDS denies THE MAJORITY of all claims based upon the initial evaluation. HOWEVER, WITH AN ADVOCATE OR ATTORNEY YOUR CHANCES CAN BE GREATLY INCREASED.
The DDS will send you a letter regarding their determination. In the case of an approved claim, the letter will indicate the amount of benefits you will receive and the date payments will begin. In the case of a denial the letter will provide an explanation for withholding benefits and provide you with a method of appeal. Once denied, most applicants choose to seek legal representation or an advocacy service due to the increased complexity of the appeal process. Contact Sprague & Hixson for a Free 30 Minute Consultation.