Most people don’t realize that when they talk about Social Security, they are really talking about three distinct programs—each one with separate goals and qualifications. To the federal government, these programs are known as OASDI, an acronym for Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance.
- Old Age Insurance is the retirement income support program first established in 1935. Older Americans who have a sound work history can collect Social Security Old Age benefits after retirement.
- Survivors Insurance provides monthly income to some Americans who are the surviving widows and widowers of a spouse who would have qualified for Old Age benefits.
- Disability Insurance gives a regular source of income to some Americans who are living with a long-term disease, handicap, or physical disability that prevents them from working. Most people seeking Social Security Disability Insurance benefits must be able to demonstrate an extensive work history.
All three of these programs are categorical entitlement benefits. That means an individual must apply for federal money and will need to supply documents to show he or she qualifies in the categories the program covers. However, once that proof is accepted, the applicant is entitled to receive benefits from that program for an extended period.
Why SSDI is special
However, the nature of the entitlement program is a little different for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), in contrast to the other two programs. Consider this: the main requirement for Old Age benefits is that the recipient is above a certain age. Because people never grow younger as the years advance, once someone has qualified for those benefits, he will continue receiving them for the rest of his life. The same principle applies for Survivors Insurance: once you qualify because your spouse died, you are forever eligible for benefits.
But that same rule doesn’t work for SSDI recipients. You may be disabled today, but it’s quite possible you will be able to work at a future date. Eligibility for SSDI does not last forever. From time to time, the Social Security Administration requires people receiving SSDI benefits to submit proof that they are still unable to work.
The SSDI program is also unique because the application process is so challenging. Even if you are lucky enough to get quick consideration of your case, under law, you cannot begin to receive benefits until five months have passed from the date you became disabled. However, there is a long backlog of cases awaiting approval, which means your application typically won’t be considered for several months after it is filed.
About two-thirds of all SSDI applications are rejected the first time. Among the most common reasons for denial of SSDI benefits are:
- The applicant failed to document his work history.
- The work history didn’t show enough credits to qualify for benefits.
- The ailment the applicant suffers from isn’t severe enough to meet Social Security Administration rules for a disability.
- The ailment is not expected to last at least a year.
- The ailment is not severe enough to prevent the applicant from working.
- The applicant is currently working.
- The application includes false or unverifiable information.
You can appeal a rejected application, or you can get it right the first time!
The Harrisburg Social Security lawyers at Schmidt Kramer have years of experience in helping disabled workers in Pennsylvania get the benefits they deserve. We can assist you with the application process to make sure all your information is complete and presented in a compelling way to get you the best chance of a successful review. We also help clients to appeal claims that have been rejected—and here, too, we have a great record of getting favorable results for our neighbors in the community.
Need more information? Call us today at 717-888-8888 or (717) 888-8888 toll-free to schedule a FREE and confidential review of your case. Let us convince you that Schmidt Kramer can be a valuable asset when you’re putting in your claim.