Do You Qualify for Disability?
If you do not qualify for disability benefits, you need to know if there is anything you can do to qualify. We can answer your questions about that. To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must have worked a certain number of years (10 years for full coverage, less for partial benefits, depending on your age). You also have to have a qualifying disability. For more detailed information, please see our SSDI page.
To be eligible for SSI benefits, you do not need to have worked, but you must be disabled, blind, or over 65, with few resources. For more detailed information, please see our SSI page.
If you want information customized to your situation, we can provide you with a free disability benefits evaluation.
How to Apply for Disability
There are three ways to apply for disability. You can complete an application online, file an application by phone, or visit one of the 57 local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices in Ohio.
There is a five month waiting period for disability benefits. You cannot collect disability benefits until the beginning of the sixth month after your disability begins. However, since it takes 3-5 months to get a decision on your application, it is best if you make your application as soon as you know you will be disabled for a year or more.
If You Are Denied Disability Benefits
In Ohio, nearly 70% of applications for benefits are denied initially. That means that appeals are a normal part of the process for most applicants. The initial stage of appeal is a reconsideration appeal. Basically, you have a chance to correct or add information to your application, then ask that the SSA reconsider it. It will be given to someone other than the people who gave you a denial initially.
If you do not get approved for benefits at this point, you can request a hearing. You will then have the chance to present your claim to a judge. You are allowed to have a representative at this hearing who can help you practice your testimony and, during the hearing, ask you important questions that will reveal the full extent of your disability.
Hearings can be held in person or via video conferencing.
How an Attorney Can Help
A disability benefits attorney can help you at all stages of the disability benefits process. In preparing your initial application, your attorney can help you assemble complete and convincing medical records related to your disability to give you the best chance of getting approved at the initial step. An attorney can also help you request a reconsideration appeal or hearing, as well as figuring out what additional information might be necessary at this step. In preparing for your hearing, your attorney can help you understand what to say and what not to say. He can coach you so your account of your disability is truthful, accurate, and convincing. Your attorney can also come with you to your hearing, not only for moral support, but for asking important questions that allow you to reveal more information about your disability.
For more information on how an attorney can help during the application process, please contact us today.