Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits
You sustain a crippling injury. Or maybe you or your child are diagnosed with a chronic debilitating illness. Or maybe time has caught up with you and you can no longer do what you used to do either physically or mentally or both. Your limitations are mounting and you struggle to perform your job and its every day activities. You are forced to quit or even worse, you are fired. You are not meeting your financial obligations and you fight to keep medical coverage and receive much-needed ongoing treatment. Can you relate?
Types of Disability Benefits
Regardless of the cause of your disabling condition, the federal Social Security Disability Program was enacted to provide you with a critical safety net in your time of need. There are two types of disability benefits:
- Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (“SSD”) which are based upon an individual’s work record and,
- Supplemental Security Income benefits (“SSI”) which are income-based benefits for which no work history is required in order to apply and can be paid to disabled adults and children.
What’s the difference between SSD and SSI? Read our previous blog that discussed the difference between the two disability programs.
Is there a time limit on filing for Disability?
For several reasons it is important to file an application(s) for disability benefits as soon as you think you are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least twelve (12) months or result in death. First, the amount of monetary benefits you receive depends on the filing date. For SSD benefits, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) cannot pay benefits any earlier than one year prior to the filing date (exclusive of an initial five-month waiting period during which by law you are not paid SSD benefits). For SSI benefits, the SSA cannot pay benefits any earlier than the month following the month in which you file your application.
For example, if you file an application on September 10, 2016, SSD benefits can be paid as early as September 2015 (as long as the five-month waiting period was already exhausted) and SSI benefits can be paid as early as October 2016. Thus, the longer you hesitate in filing, the more past-due benefits you may be forfeiting. Of course, the total past-due benefits paid are also contingent upon when the SSA establishes your disability onset date. Second, you do not qualify for the Medicare coverage that is attached to SSD benefits until you receive monetary benefits for a total of twenty-four (24) months so a delay in filing can also delay your receipt of medical insurance coverage.
How do you apply for Disability Benefits?
You can apply for SSD benefits three different ways:
- Online at the SSA’s website here
- By calling the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213, or
- By calling or visiting your local Social Security office which you can locate on the SSA’s website. The SSA advises to make an appointment to apply in person before visiting your local office.
Information needed to apply for Disability Benefits
In order to apply, you will need information at your fingertips including:
- General information about you,
- Information about your medical condition(s) including contact information for all of your treatment providers,
- Information about your work/school history
Applying online is advantageous as you can apply immediately without having to wait for an appointment, you can apply at home, and you can avoid a trip to your local office. You cannot apply for SSI online and you must schedule an appointment with your local office to file same or call SSA to apply by phone. If you are applying for SSD and SSI, it is wise to file for SSD online as soon as possible and in doing so, indicate that you would also like to file for SSI which will trigger an SSA representative to contact you for any additional information needed to process the SSI application.
At Balin Law we are here to assist you at every step of this difficult process, including filing the SSD application online on your behalf.
We’ve helped thousands of Ohioan’s get the disability benefits they deserve. Call us toll-free at 1-866-492-2546 to schedule a free consultation and get your questions answered at one of our nine conveniently located offices throughout Northern Ohio. Do not delay, call us today!