When a medical condition puts you out of a job, the Social Security Administration (SSA) might be able to provide you with some assistance via financial benefits. As you may have heard, getting approved for benefits is not easy. It's also a slow process, and you may have wondered why it can take so long to be approved. The approval process involves several layers of verification and determinations, so take a look at an overview of the approval process to provide you with an idea of what is actually going on behind the walls of the SSA.
Establishing Your Financial Eligibility
The first order of business is to see if you qualify for benefits based on how much work you've performed. The SSA uses your time in work and the amount you've earned during a most recent period to establish your financial eligibility. The SSA refers to this as work credits, and if you pass this test, you will move on the next qualifier — SGA.
Determining Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
It can be all but impossible to get by without earning an income, but you cannot be holding down a job if you are to qualify for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). Additionally, you should be able to show that you either have not been able to do any work for a year or that you expect to be unable to do so for a year or any combination of those. If it is determined that you are not performing SGA, it's on to Disability Determination Services (DDS).
Determining Medical Eligibility
This part of the process is divided up depending on your illness and your previous job. This final part of the process is where so many applicants end up being denied due to not providing good medical evidence of their condition. Here's what to know about this final and most important part of the SSA approval process:
1. Not all medical conditions are eligible for coverage for benefits.
2. You must have medical records and doctor's notes to prove your condition. Your treatment dates must correspond with the dates you indicated you become disabled on the application, and you must show a continuing pattern of seeing your doctor.
3. If you are determined to be unable to do your most recent job, you might now be considered for doing other work. You must be prepared to show (at your appeal hearing) that other types of work are not possible for you.
There are too many potential snags that prevent most people from being approved on their initial application. If you need to appeal your denial, speak to a Social Security attorney for expert assistance in getting your benefits approved.