Frequent readers of our blog don’t need to be reminded about the number of problems that can arise when applying for benefits. We realize though that not everyone is a frequent reader and might be new to this blog. That’s why we wanted to focus this week’s post on disability benefits and point out a few key things that people should consider when applying for benefits. In the end, we hope that it will clear up some people’s trepidation about applying for benefits and encourage them to take the step towards receiving benefits in the future.
The first thing to consider is your work history and how your impairment could affect your chances of continuing or returning to work. The Social Security Administration has specific criteria for work history as well as disability duration that can affect how much a beneficiary receives and if they’re even eligible. And while disability benefits can be collected even if a person returns to work, there is a specific criterion that must be met here as well so as not to lose eligibility down the road.
The next thing to consider is what to do if your application is denied. A large percentage of first applications are rejected simply because of SSA scrutiny but applicants have the right to appeal and can do so with or without the help of an attorney. It’s important to point out that the appeal process can be daunting and can take a considerable amount of time before coming to a decision about benefits. Having an attorney to guide you through this process can help minimize some of this time and help you get access to the benefits you need.
The last thing to consider is whether disability benefits would be worth it in your situation. Only you can answer that question. For some people the answer may be no; but for others, the answer is most definitely yes. That’s because, in their situation, they may need benefits to help them make ends meet or pay for medical treatments. This can become nearly impossible if their disability has forced them out of work. So while the path to benefits may be paved with obstacles, those who have made it to the other side will often tell you that it was all worth it in the end.
Source: The Chicago Tribune, “Applying for Social Security disability is a complicated process, but worth it,” Elliot Raphaelson, Oct. 15, 2013