4 Application Stages When Filing For SSDI/SSI Benefits In Maryland
As you are looking into applying for either of the Social Security Administration (SSA) disability programs, you have probably already discovered that the process is complex. For both the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability programs, you must show that you suffer from a disabling medical condition that prevents you from working. The Social Security Administration (SSA) also imposes separate eligibility rules for each program. To qualify for SSDI, you must have a sufficient work history in recent years. For SSI, a needs-based program, your net worth must be under a designated threshold.
These rules may seem straightforward, but the specifics are where some applicants get discouraged and often denied benefits by SSA. Fortunately, there are four separate stages of an SSDI/SSI application where you have the opportunity to present new evidence, clarify information, or correct errors. A Maryland Social Security disability lawyer will help you navigate the different stages as follows:
- SSDI/SSI Application: Regardless of the program, you will be required to complete all forms and submit them to SSA with supporting documentation. You can apply in-person, via phone, or online, and your attorney will handle logistical considerations. It is important to refer to the Listing of Impairments, i.e., the Blue Book, to assess whether you meet the medical criteria. Be prepared for a denial, as most applicants are rejected at the initial application stage. However, this does not close your claim; you must simply move on to the next stage.
- Request for Reconsideration: Within 60 days after you receive notice from the SSA that your application was denied, you can seek additional review. Your application and all supporting paperwork will be scrutinized, and it is possible that you will get approval this time around. If you have any new information that addresses the reasons SSA listed for rejecting your claim, you should submit it.
- Social Security Disability Hearings: After a denial for reconsideration, you also have 60 days to request a hearing before an administrative law judge from SSA. A disability hearing is similar to a trial, so you will have the chance to make arguments, present evidence, and question witnesses. Your odds of being approved are highest at this stage, where you can present the most convincing, persuasive evidence.
- The SSA Appeals Council: There is an additional stage after a disability hearing if you received a denial after the disability hearing, but it may be worthwhile to consider filing a new application. The SSA Appeals Council tends to follow the decision made by the SSA administrative law judge.
Trust a Maryland SSDI/SSI Attorney Throughout the Process
Applying for Social Security disability benefits might seem as simple as filling out forms, but you can see how the process can be complicated. To learn more about these stages, please contact the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC to schedule a no-cost consultation. A skilled SSDI/SSI lawyer can meet with you at our Maryland offices in Glen Burnie, Owings Mills, Ellicott City, or Annapolis.