Someone who is blind, disabled or aged with limited income and resources may find themselves in dire financial straits. The Supplemental Security Income program available through the Social Security Administration provides a minimum level of income in the form of monthly cash benefits to pay for food and shelter, but you must first get through an application process and meet strict eligibility guidelines.
As you struggle with health and financial issues, the time it takes for Social Security to make a decision on your application feels like an eternity. The disability advocates at London Eligibility understand your stress and anxiety and offer skilled assistance with the application process and, if necessary, representation to appeal an adverse determination.
The following information about the process and tips on what can be done to expedite it should answer some of the questions you have, including how long it takes to get SSI. Use it and the advice of your disability advocate to ease some of the stress and anxiety you may be experiencing.
Do not get the Social Security disability programs confused
Two programs exist to pay SSD benefits to people who cannot work because of a disability or blindness, but each has different requirements you must meet in order to qualify for benefits. You can avoid needless processing delays and denial of your application by knowing in advance whether you meet the guidelines.
Social Security Disability Insurance is one of the SSD programs offering benefits to qualified individuals whose disability prevents them from working, but you need to have worked at jobs or through self-employment and paid Social Security taxes on the income. You do not need an earnings record from jobs or self-employment to qualify for SSI; however, there are limits on income and the value of resources that you do not have with SSDI.
Both SSDI and SSI use the same definition of “disabled” to determine whether adults meet the medical criteria for eligibility. You must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity as would be required to perform work-related tasks. The impairments must be expected to last for at least 12 months or cause death, so temporary disability that might qualify for state disability programs would not meet the standard to qualify for SSDI and SSI.
One important distinction between the two programs as far as when payments begin after your application is approved is that payments through SSI begin immediately. You must be disabled for at least five months before receiving your first SSDI payment.
How long is the application process?
Social Security evaluates all aspects of your application to determine whether you meet eligibility guidelines. Making certain that your application is correctly filled out and that all information provided is accurate helps prevent delays caused by Social Security having to request additional information.
Keep in mind that medical records play a huge part in the process used by the Social Security Administration to determine whether you meet the medical criteria to qualify for benefits. Simply because your doctor says that you are disabled or blind still requires a careful review by the SSA of all medical records supporting your claim.
Those records must contain sufficient documentation for the SSA to approve your claim. The records should include the following:
1). Notes of clinical examinations and findings.
2). X-rays and other diagnostic testing results.
3). Results of blood work and other laboratory testing.
4). Statements of diagnosis and prognosis prepared by your treating physician or medical provider.
5). Psychiatric and psychological testing and evaluation results for individuals disabled because of a mental impairment.
Incomplete medical records or the failure of medical providers to respond to Social Security requests for your records delays the approval process. Your SSI disability advocate at London Eligibility contacts your medical providers to ensure that the records needed to support your claim for Social Security disability benefits are provided to the SSA in a timely manner.
It is telling to note that the SSA website states that it takes three to five months to review and make a determination on a typical application for SSD benefits. It also cautions applicants about delays in the process caused by an inability to obtain an applicant’s medical records. Keep in mind that appeals of an adverse decision take longer.
What can you do to expedite the process?
You can avoid delays in the processing of your claim for SSD benefits in several ways, including:
1). Review with your disability advocate the eligibility requirements to make certain that you qualify for SSI.
2). Instead of waiting for Social Security to request medical records and other documents, a disability advocate at London Eligibility submits them with the application.
3). Keep all appointments scheduled with your doctors and follow the treatment plan they recommend for you.
4). Be honest and truthful when preparing the application and in all interactions that you have with your disability advocate and with Social Security.
If your initial application for SSD benefits is denied, you have the right to appeal the determination, but you must act quickly because there are deadlines for filing for a review.
A disability advocate can help
Applying for SSDI and SSI benefits can be a lengthy and confusing process unless work with someone who understands Social Security laws and regulations. Let a disability advocate at London Eligibility review your claim and help with your application or appeal. Contact us today for a free consultation.