Initial Claim

Social Security Lawyer Assisting Disabled Workers Pursue Benefits

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program offered by the federal government for workers who need financial help when a long-term illness prevents them from engaging in gainful employment. Applying for benefits is a process that can take several months. It requires you to provide a large amount of information, including medical records, test results, tax returns, and numerous completed forms, among other documents. Social Security lawyer Russell J. Goldsmith has been assisting applicants for over 28 years. Our team has substantial experience dealing with any issues that may arise. Our clients are important to us, and we are dedicated to protecting their interests while providing ethical and honest legal representation.

Filing the Initial SSDI Application

An application for SSDI benefits may be made online or by making an appointment for someone to take your claim over the phone or at the local Social Security office. You may seek legal representation to assist you with the application if you choose. You will be required to provide your social security number, a copy of your birth certificate, military service records (if applicable), tax forms, information regarding any worker’s compensation claim that you have filed, employment history, and other information, in addition to a signed release for medical records from your doctors.

Meeting the Earnings Requirement

Once the application and all supporting documentation have been filed, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will make some initial determinations regarding the earnings requirement, which is one of the two main prongs that determines eligibility for SSDI benefits. Generally, most applicants must meet the criteria for two different tests based on work history and age. The “recent work” test requires an applicant to work for a certain length of time prior to becoming disabled, based on his or her age. For example, if you become disabled at age 31 or older, you must have worked for five out of the last 10 years immediately preceding your disability. Younger people will have shorter requirements, and some blind people need not meet this test.

The “duration of work” test requires that the applicant has worked for a certain length of time at a job covered by Social Security, at any period in his or her life. That length of time is also based on age and is available as a table published by the SSA. After the SSA evaluates any current work activities and determines that the applicant has met these basic requirements, the SSA will forward the applicant’s information to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office in her state. DDS then will take over the remaining stage of the review process, which is known as the medical requirement.

Meeting the Medical Requirement

For the applicant to receive SSDI benefits, DDS must determine that he or she is disabled. The claimant’s medical condition will be considered a disability under federal law if he or she is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity as the result of a medically determinable severe physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for at least one year, or that is expected to result in the individual’s death.

DDS makes its decisions after gathering information from an applicant’s doctors and questioning them about the condition from which an applicant is suffering. This agency considers factors such as whether the applicant is working, whether his or her medical condition is severe, whether the condition is on a specific list that establishes it to be a disability by law, and whether the medical condition prevents the applicant from doing his or her prior work or any other work. It is important to note that DDS will evaluate whether you can perform not just your most recent job but also any other work that your condition may permit you to handle. In making this decision, the agency typically considers your medical condition, age, education, and experience, and any other skills.

Consult a Lawyer for Your Government Benefits Claim

Enlisting the aid of a knowledgeable SSDI attorney can help to ensure that your application is complete, which in turn may result in receiving a decision sooner. At the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith, we offer a free consultation to discuss your options. Contact us by phone at (800) 773-8622 or online.

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