It’s true, social security disability insurance (SSDI) can be confusing. You might not be sure if you qualify or what the process even entails. Before you start the process, check out the top 10 things you need to know before you apply.
1. Contact a social security disability attorney
Our number one tip is to hire a social security disability attorney. A disability lawyer will be a useful resource to you because they know the system, can keep the paperwork organized, and will aid you in the appeals process. Hiring a social security disability attorney will give you the best chance of receiving benefits.
2. Work history and income
Your work history and income are big determinants in deciding if you are eligible for SSDI. First, you need to have worked for a certain amount of time, generally 5-10 years, where you were paying towards Social Security (FICA) taxes. Second, you need to demonstrate that you need aid and are currently earning less than a certain amount.
3. Medical eligibility
Benefits are only available to those who have a severe, long-term, total disability. Your condition needs to interfere with basic work activities and it has to be expected to last at least one year.
4. Most people have to appeal
More likely than not, you will need to appeal. That’s when a social security disability attorney comes in handy. You need to request a review within 60 days of when you received the denial letter. Then, if you’re denied again, you can appeal by requesting a hearing with an administrative law judge.
5. Spouse’s income won’t impact your eligibility
There’s good news yet. Your spouse’s income and work history will not impact your eligibility to receive benefits. But if your household income is over a certain amount, you may need to pay taxes on your benefits.
6. Apply as soon as possible
Once you become disabled, apply as soon as possible! The process of getting approved for SSDI usually takes six months to one year and navigating it can be confusing, so you don’t want to wait.
7. Mandatory wait period, backpay, and retroactive pay
You won’t qualify to receive benefits until you’re disabled for 5 months; this is called your mandatory wait period. You might receive back payments, starting with the sixth month after your disability began until the date you’re approved. Or, if you haven’t applied until much later than your disability onset date, then you can receive retroactive pay. Ask your social security disability attorney about these benefits!
You may not have to pay taxes on your benefits, but if your household income is over a certain amount, then you might need to. It’s always good to check, so you can plan accordingly.
9. Family may receive benefits
A spouse, divorced spouse, child, or disabled child may be eligible to receive partial benefits. If you have a disabled child that you take care of, even if they’re an adult, you may earn credits to qualify for SSDI.
10. There’s a review once every 1-3 years
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will continue to review your eligibility once every 1-3 years.
Kenneth G. Marks is an aggressive Social Security Disability attorney who will fight for you!
300 Spectrum Center Drive, Suite 1550
Irvine, California, 92618
Phone: 949.748.6470, Fax: 949.748.6474
Please let the Law Offices of Kenneth G. Marks know how we can help.