Filing for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income

December 27, 2016

Ever since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the government has been helping individuals who need assistance. Among those individuals who need assistance are individuals with disabilities. Nevertheless, they do not receive assistance automatically; they have to file for Social Security Disability (SSD) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

When should you file for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income?

You should file for SSD and/or SSI as soon as you become disabled. You should not procrastinate; putting off what you can do today until tomorrow is hardly the best course of action. In addition, filing for SSD or SSI is a long and often confusing process. The SSA handles thousands of other cases, and months may pass by before the SSA gets to your case. The sooner you file for SSD or SSI, the sooner the SSA likely will get to your case.

These questions can help you decide when to file for SSD or SSI:

  • Is your disability severe and permanent?
  • Does your disability greatly hinder your ability to partake in ordinary, everyday activities?
  • Have you had your disability for a whole calendar year?
  • If you have not had your disability for a whole calendar year, is your disability expected to last for at least one whole calendar year, according to proper medical information and other evidence (like job history or academic history)?
  • If you are younger than eighteen years old, if you have had your disability for at least one whole calendar year, and if your disability has been deemed severe, has your disability hindered your ability to partake in age-appropriate activities like school assignments?

How do you file for SSD or SSI?

There is more than one method to file for SSD or SSI: You can fill out an electronic, over-the-phone, or in-person application. If you decide to do it online, remember to:

  • Look at the SSA’s online disability checklist
  • Fil out the entire application
  • Complete the adult disability report
  • Sign the Authorization to Disclose Information form, which authorizes the SSA to request and gain access to your medical records and other information

Occasionally, filing for SSD or SSI over the phone or in person is the better option than to filing for SSD or SSI online; this option is particularly beneficial if you have trouble using computers, smartphones, and the like. In addition, filing for SSD or SSI in person or by phone enables people to ask and answer questions in real time.

Why should you file for SSD or SSI?

Filing for SSD or SSI often results in a favorable outcome if your case is approved. That means you will get the help you need! In addition, if you have a severe and permanent physical and/or mental disability and that disability prevents you from working or going to school, your income and/or academic level will decrease. A decreased income or academic level usually is very undesirable.

But not everyone will file for these benefits. For instance, some people are not certain whether their situation is the right time to begin filing for SSD or SSI. In some instances, people are uncertain whether their disability is significant enough or has lasted long enough to meet the SSA’s criteria. In other instances, people with disabilities are still working, but they are worried their disability will become worse and cause them to stop working completely. In other instances, people have been working for a reduced amount of time than previously or normally, but they are uncertain whether their present income level allows them to qualify for SSD or SSI. In cases concerning disabled children, adult applicants may wonder whether disabled children are eligible for SSD or SSI, and if disabled children are indeed eligible for SSD or SSI, adult applicants wonder:

  • What sort of benefits the children will receive
  • How long the children will have said benefits
  • What sort of information the SSA requires in order to handle cases of disabled children

In addition, some people are afraid of the whole filing process while others doubt whether filing for SSD or SSI even will make their situation better. Moreover, some people do not file for SSD or SSI because they fear denial, as in some instances, the SSA denies claimants access to benefits, based on non-severe impairment (NSI) criteria.

If you or a loved one needs help collecting Social Security Disability benefits in Philadelphia, talk to a Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates. To learn more, please call 888.PITT.LAW or contact us to schedule an appointment at any of our office locations serving Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.