Columbia, Maryland, is an upstanding, planned community founded in 1967 in Howard County. It was originally designed to accommodate people of all classes, races and religions without segregation. More than 103,000 people call Columbia home, and most residents work hard to support their families and lifestyles. However, when disaster strikes in the form of a disabling injury or illness, it can leave you without the ability to support yourself.
Circumstances that cause disabilities are unpredictable and can occur to anyone at any time. A total of 38 million people in the U.S. are currently living with one or more disabilities that prevent them working. Fortunately, the federal government has an insurance plan in place for U.S. workers that provides benefits should they become disabled: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
What Is SSDI?
SSDI is an insurance program that was placed under the jurisdiction of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 1956. It provides benefits to workers and recent former workers who suffer from a disability that no longer allows them to earn a living.
To receive monthly benefits through the SSDI program, you must meet several qualifying criteria: You must pass the disability test, work-credits test and recent-work test.
For an SSDI application to be approved, you must suffer from a severe condition that doctors expect to last for one year or longer or eventually result in death. In addition, the disability must prevent you from returning to work or adjusting to different work.
Furthermore, you must have the minimum number of work credits, and the work must have been performed recently. Those who are under 24 years of age must have worked 18 months out of the last three years, those who are 24 to 31 must have worked 50 percent of the time since they turned 21 and those who are over 31 need five years of work within the past 10 years.
Social Security Disability in Columbia, MD
While Social Security is open to all U.S. residents who meet the minimum requirements, the system has one major downfall: the application and approval process. Many people find it so physically and mentally taxing that they hire a disability lawyer. Less than 35 percent of all applications are approved after the first review, and the appeals process is so complex that only about 10 percent of appellants ever receive benefits.
The process begins by submitting an application and supporting documentation to your local SSA office. You must answer pages of questions concerning your personal information and submit supporting documentation for all statements made, including your birth certificate, work history, education history, social security number and medical records.
Errors in your application, missing documentation or a failure to follow the complicated procedure can delay an application for months or be a cause for denial. In 2015, the average time from submission to approval was about 480 days.
Getting Help From an Attorney
Going through the SSDI process can be extremely difficult, and some people give up before they even get through the application. However, it is your right as a U.S. resident to get help from an attorney experienced in disability law.
A reliable disability attorney will be able to complete your application without errors and compile all of the required documentation. He or she will even talk directly with your doctors to ensure the documentation is exactly what you need. An attorney is also valuable should your case need to be appealed.
For more information on SSDI benefits and the application process, contact us today.