Monday, August 28, 2006

Application for Disability - applying for benefits

Many people put off filing an application for disability benefits simply because they find the disability evaluation process intimidating. And this is understandable. The fear of applying, due to the fear of possibly being denied, can be an imposing psychological factor.

Just the same, though, a person who has a significant medical condition should really get an application for disability benefits filed as soon as possible, chiefly because, even after an application has been completed the following is likely to occur:

1. The application for social security disability or SSI disability will probably take several months. The social security administration, via its field offices, will often tell people to expect a notice of decision within 120 days. However, the simple truth is that there are no deadlines for social security applications based on disability. In other words, the processing of an application may take a couple of weeks (very unlikely), or six months. There is really no way to know. This is quite different, of course, from medicaid. Medicaid claims (that are based on disability) have to be decided within 90 days of the date of application.

2. The application for social security disability or SSI stands, in most states, about a 70% percent chance of being denied, meaning that, for most applicants, it will be necessary to begin filing appeals. And, ultimately, for a person who has been denied on a disability application, the goal should be to get their claim heard by an administrative law judge at a disability hearing. However, this won't be possible until A. an application for disability has been turned down and B. a first appeal (known as a reconsideration or review) has also been denied.

Because the social security process can be an extremely long and drawn-out one, a person who is considering filing for disability should not hesitate to get an application for disability started. How do you do that?

Contact the social security office closest to where you live. You can actually get your social security disability application started online. However, if you want to ask questions about the process (and there's a good chance that you will), filing an application for disability online will not give you this opportunity. Arranging for an in-person interview at the social security office, though, will allow you the chance to ask whatever questions you may have about the process. And, if you would prefer a direct method of making an application (in other words, not using the internet), but might have difficulty getting to the social security office, you can always ask that your interview be conducted over the phone. This is often a convenient way to get an application started and, if you choose to have a telephone interview, the social security office will typically accomodate this request.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog