After suffering a disabling injury or illness, you may grow increasingly concerned with how to make ends meet. When your disability prevents you from working for at least a year or longer, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can provide much-needed financial relief.
However, applying for these benefits can be complex, time-consuming and frustrating. The Social Security Administration (SSA) rejects the majority of first-time claims. Due to such a high denial rate, New Yorkers should consider the following tips to submit a strong SSDI claim:
Carefully consider the eligibility requirements
According to Investopedia, the SSA considers five key conditions, in addition to others depending on the application, to determine eligibility:
- Whether you are currently working
- Whether the disabling condition is severe enough
- Whether the disabling condition is on an extensive list of qualified conditions
- Whether the disabling condition interferes with your previous work
- Whether you can engage in any other type of work
Determine your eligibility by carefully reviewing the SSA’s definition of a disability and evaluating these conditions.
Follow the orders of your doctor
The SSA considers the medical care you have received and how closely you have followed the orders of your doctors. Whether your doctor ordered specific treatment or recommended regular checkups, closely follow such orders to show your diligence in complying with the recommendations of those familiar with your condition.
Comply with “substantial gainful activity” guidelines
Earning an income in any way while working on your application or waiting for a decision can be damaging to your claim. Whether the SSA considers your substantial gainful activity (SGA) to be unacceptable will depend on the amount you earn monthly from the position. For 2019, the SSA states the monthly SGA limit as $2,040 for blind individuals and $1,220 for non-blind individuals.
Gather comprehensive medical proof
Comprehensive medical proof that shows the severity of your condition is paramount in your application. This should show your history of doctor’s visits, the diagnosis, treatment options and even a written opinion submitted by your doctor. Gathering this information can be time consuming, so it is best to get started immediately.
Don’t lose hope if your claim is denied
Lastly, many first-time applicants lose hope after the denial of their claim. However, don’t assume you have no options after a denial. You may appeal the original decision within 60 days to fight for the benefits you need and deserve.