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SSA 411: Filing a Claim for Disability

There are few things more harrowing in modern life than losing the ability to work due to illness or disease. Those who receive career-ending workplace injuries should contact a reputable attorney, such as those on offer in the Illinois Law Offices of Dworkin and Maciariello, because they might just be eligible for workers compensation. However, those who do qualify for workers comp also often qualify for Social Security Disability. In fact,nearly three million people each year file a claim for SSA, and many of these folks do so because they were injured on the job.

The key is in knowing how to go about the process. All the requisite info is online, so it’s just a matter of undertaking the proper steps. Here’s how.

Get the Info

The process of completing a SSD application is not one that can or should be done in a freewheeling manner—good prep work is a must. It’s vital to first gather the requisite data necessary to file the claim. The good news is the SSA offers an online “starter kit” of sorts that covers all the forms and materials a person needs to present when applying online.

Complete the online application

Once all the pre-planning has been taken care of, it’s now time to fill out the actual online form. The next thing to do is fire up the computer and navigate to the Social Security Disability page of the SSA website. The average time for a typical applicant to complete the process is 30 minutes. Once this is completed, the applicant will need to provide certain documents: a work history form, a medical history form and a signed medical release form. The SSA accepts photocopies, which can be mailed directly to the office. However, if the office requests a birth certificate, as they have sometimes been known to do, the original copy must be provided.

Participate in the interview

Unfortunately, the one part of the process that has remained from the pre-Internet days is the applicant interview. Those who complete an application for SSD benefits will then have to schedule an interview, which usually takes place at the local office of the applicant. But in some cases the interview can be conducted over the phone.

Keep time in mind

As mentioned above, bureaucracy isn’t dead. The applicant is not only going to have to consider the time it takes to fill out the form (30 minutes), but the time it takes to process the application as well. Typically, applicants will receive word about whether or not they have been approved or denied in three or four months. Those who are approved will be provided the total amount of the award as well as how much he or she will be receiving each month. Those applications that are denied will come with written reasons as to exactly why the SSA made their decision.

There are many cases where the applicant, even after following the above steps to the letter, has his or her application rejected. In this case an appeal may be warranted. However, it is highly recommended that the applicant retain the services of an attorney qualified in disability law. This ups the chances of filing a successful claim considerably.


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