Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program of federal government benefits for people who have become too disabled to work. It isn’t welfare; only those people who have paid into the Social Security system for a number of years are eligible. The application process is a tough one, designed to screen out people who still have the ability to work. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that people who are legitimately disabled are told they don’t qualify for assistance.
For those unlucky people who find their applications denied, there are several layers of appeals available that can reverse earlier decisions and awarded SSDI benefits. Too often, though, applicants are discouraged by the difficulty of filing and moving forward with an appeal.
The result? A lot of disabled people in our communities aren’t getting the help they desperately need.
Avoid these four basic mistakes
Don’t let the system wear you down. If you are a Pennsylvania resident who has become disabled, you may be eligible to claim a monthly Social Security Disability Insurance payment. If you’ve already been turned down for SSDI, you need to appeal.
The best approach is to make it hard for your SSDI application to be rejected in the first place. Many SSDI applicants in Philadelphia make critical errors from the start—errors that will doom their chances. Whatever you do, don’t make these mistakes when you file your initial claim:
- File your claim when you’re still working full time. MISTAKE. A lot of people try to do this, believing they can ease out of their job and start collecting disability benefits in Pennsylvania immediately. The people who review your application will just laugh when they receive it. “How can this guy claim he’s too disabled to work while he’s still holding down a job?” they will say. And then they will stamp your application: REJECTED.
- Apply without being able to document your work history. MISTAKE. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must be able to prove that you have been working productively and paying into the Social Security system for a number of years. You will need proof of how many years you have worked over your entire lifetime and evidence that you have been working recently. The precise details of the proof you must supply varies depending on your age when you file your claim.
- File your claim when you don’t have a qualifying diagnosis. MISTAKE. To be eligible for SSDI, you must be unable to work because you have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. This can be a physical or a mental impairment, but you must be able to show evidence that you have been diagnosed and treated for this serious condition. If you cannot, your claim will be rejected.
- Apply without someone checking your work. MISTAKE. If you were preparing your own tax return, you wouldn’t drop it in the mail without having a smart friend check your arithmetic, would you? Likewise, you need to have someone who is familiar with the federal disability system look over your SSDI claim to make sure you have done everything correctly.
You don’t have to stand against the Social Security bureaucracy alone!
Whether you are filing an initial application for SSDI benefits or hoping to appeal a denial of your claim, Schmidt Kramer has Social Security lawyers in Harrisburg ready to help you get the disability benefits you have earned. We are dedicated to helping disabled individuals in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania receive the disability benefits they deserve. Call us today at 888-476-0807 to schedule a case review by one of our Harrisburg disability attorneys at absolutely no cost to you.