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Social Security Disability: Understanding The Process And Procedures



Social Security Disability is a government program that provides funds to people who have spent their lives working and paying Social Security taxes. If you have become disabled and can no longer work, SSD is designed to ensure that you will have enough money to provide for your needs. It is easy to apply for SSD, but some of the requirements are complicated. An experienced disability attorney can help you navigate the process and get the funds you are entitled to.

Qualifying For SSD

The Social Security office guidebook, Listing of Impairments, catalogues the physical and mental health conditions that can qualify you for SSD. In order to satisfy the requirements, you must provide substantial documentation of your condition from a licensed professional who has evaluated or treated you. If you cannot provide adequate evidence from the proper sources, the SSD office can arrange for you to be examined by qualified professionals.

If you are denied SSD after this exam, you can appeal by providing additional proof that your condition keeps you from working.

If You Are Denied SSD

Most people who apply for SSD are denied. This is not a failure. It is the first step in a longer process. You still have a very good chance of being approved.

  • Within 60 days of being denied, file an appeal. If you can provide more medical evidence from acceptable sources, you might be approved. Most people are denied again at this level, however
  • Within 60 days of being denied at appeal, file a request for a hearing before a judge. Many people are approved at this stage, especially if they have a disability rights lawyer to help them through the process. The judge may decide against you, but you can challenge the ruling.
  • Within 60 days of being denied SSD by the judge, file a request to have the Appeals Council review your case.

You stand a much better chance of receiving funds if you have a disability lawyer by your side. He or she can help you gather and arrange documentation, and explain how the appeals process works. You'll have someone with you to argue your case before the judge and to present convincing evidence before the Appeals Council.