Most Americans have heard of Social Security but they typically associate it with the payments that people who have retired can receive. However, the Social Security program was designed not only to assist the elderly. If a worker is injured on the job and their injury is serious enough to prevent them from returning to work, they can file a claim for Social Security Disability.
How Do I Know If I’m Eligible?
A claim for Social Security will only be approved if the applicant is totally disabled. The administration considers an applicant totally disabled if:
- They cannot do work that they did before the injury.
- It is determined that the medical condition prevents the applicant from seeking other forms of employment.
- The disability is expected to last at least a year or if it is anticipated that it will ultimately lead to death.
In order to determine this, the administration reviews the answers to the following questions:
- Is the applicant working?
- Is the medical condition they suffer from severe?
- Is the medical condition found on the pre-approved list of disabling conditions?
- Can the applicant return to the same type of work that they previously performed?
- Is there another type of work that they can use their skills in?
While these questions may seem simple, proving total disability is extremely difficult and on average, more than 60% of all claims are denied. Although an applicant can appeal, there is a backlog and it takes nearly two years for the appeal to be handled.
Why It’s Important To Consult An Attorney
While many injured workers try to initially work through this complicated system on their own, the reality is that it is always best to contact an attorney. Something as simple as a mistake on a claim form can result in a denial and an experienced attorney is very familiar with the common mistakes made on a claim form and how to avoid them.
Take this into consideration – only 69% of the nearly 2.5 million applications submitted every year make it to the initial review stage and of those, only 38% of those are initially approved. This means that a large majority of the applicants are forced to fight for their benefits by filing an appeal.
In the event that the case needs to be appealed, you can rest easy knowing that an attorney will have reviewed the facts carefully, collected additional evidence, and will present the case to the group reviewing the appeal, proving that you meet the requirements.
What Information Is Needed During The Appeal Process?
According to the Social Security Administration, the information required includes:
- The Date of Denial Decision.
- Representative’s name, address, and phone number.
- The name, address, and phone number of a personal contact who is aware of the applications medical condition.
- Medical records showing a full description of the medical condition causing the disability and information on any new medical conditions.
- The contact information of all medical providers.
- Information on all treatments and tests that the applicant has undergone.
- Prescription information.
- A full description of the way that the injury has changed the applicant’s ability to work and regular activities.
What Happens If I’m Only Partially Disabled?
Social Security Disability is only available if the applicant is totally disabled. However, benefits for partial disability may be available through workers’ compensation. You can learn more about that here.