4 Steps To Success In Getting SSI Disability Benefits
While the vast majority of individuals seeking disability benefits will qualify because of their work history, many applicants will pursue a claim under the needs-based program overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA): Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Like almost any dealings with the government, you probably realize that there is a lengthy application process. Unfortunately, it is at this first stage that many applicants fall short. They are denied disability benefits due only to minor oversights and understandable mistakes.
If you are applying for SSI for yourself or a loved one, you know that errors can only lead to delays. It takes in-depth knowledge of the laws and SSA regulations to boost your chances of prompt approval. While your first move should be retaining a Maryland Social Security disability lawyer for help with the process, a summary of the basic steps is useful.
- Assess Medical Requirements.
The foundation of an SSI claim is your ailment or health issue, and it is known as the medical requirement. You must be able to show that you suffer from a disabling medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months, and that it either prevents you from working OR imposes an extreme limitation on what you can earn. The SSA Blue Book includes a listing of impairments, and a diagnosis that meets or equals one of these items will typically satisfy the medical requirement.
- Determine Non-Medical Eligibility.
As a needs-based program, SSI is dedicated to providing financial support for those with limited assets and/or income. If you possess property valued at more than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple, you may not qualify. The income limit for 2021 is $794, increasing to $841 as of January 1, 2022. However, not all income is counted under complicated SSA rules.
- Collect Medical Evidence.
Once you know the medical requirements for SSI, you must gather evidence to prove your condition. All information should be geared toward a listing in the Blue Book, so medical records will be critical. These documents will include details on:
- Diagnosis of your condition;
- Your prognosis for recovery; and
- All strategies and procedures that health care providers have attempted to treat your medical condition, and whether they were successful.
You can also request your treating physician to draft a letter to support your claim or complete a residual capacity form, outlining your condition and limitations.
- Follow Up as Necessary.
Throughout the SSI application process, make sure to forward any new medical evidence that will help SSA evaluate your claim. If you receive a denial, you may need to pursue additional options for reconsideration or a disability hearing.
Trust a Maryland SSI Attorney Every Step of the Way
Understanding how the application process works is helpful, and getting it right the first time ensures you get your rightful SSI benefits as soon as possible. Please contact the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC for additional information. We can schedule a free case review to discuss details on the SSI disability program.