Should You Apply for Social Security Disability the Moment You are Diagnosed as Disabled?
There is no deadline for filing a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim. However, you might not be sure about filing a claim right when you become disabled. You might be thinking that you will need more medical documentation over more time to have a strong enough case to obtain benefits.
This is one of the reasons you should consider meeting with a disability attorney from our firm for a free legal consultation. Contact our Phoenix Social Security Disability attorneys to schedule your no obligation consultation today. You will not owe us compensation unless you are compensated first.
Why You Should Likely Apply Right Away
As soon as you become disabled, you should apply for disability benefits. Applications can take a long time to process, and you may be waiting up to six months to receive your initial decision, even though the Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that processing typically takes 90 to 120 days.
A huge percentage of initial claims are denied, leaving applicants waiting even longer for benefits as they pursue an appeal. Waiting for disability benefits can put you under financial distress as you are not working. Applying for benefits as soon as possible will help reduce your waiting time as your eligibility determination is made.
Most people filing for disability benefits are eligible to file an application on the day after they stop working or the day after their earnings fall below $1,220 per month, as long as the disabling condition is expected to last at least a year. You may also be eligible to apply for disability benefits if your disability qualifies under the Compassionate Allowance or terminal illness programs.
If you are unable to file immediately, request a protective filing date from the SSA. This informs the SSA that you will be filing for disability benefits soon. Once you file, your protective filing date becomes the date of the application.
Work Credits You Will Need
To be eligible for disability benefits, you must have accumulated the right number of work credits. The SSA issues work credits based on your annual wages from employment or self-employment. Up to four work credits may be earned in a year, with one being issued for every $1,360 in earned wages, up to $5,440 per year.
The amount of work credits required for eligibility changes from one year to the next. Typically, 40 work credits are needed with 20 being earned in the last 10 years of work. This number will vary based on your age at the time you become disabled.
What do I Need to Complete an Application?
You may file an application for disability benefits online. You will need to provide the following information on your application:
- Social Security number
- Employment information, including employer names, dates of employment and the type of work you did
- Total income for each of the last three years
- Your most recent W-2 or copy of your tax return if you are self-employed
- Types of medical treatment you have received
- Names of physicians and hospitals you visited and were treated by/at
- Names and dosages of all medications you are currently taking
- Medical records you are already in possession of
- Testing and laboratory results
You will also need to provide information about your family members, including:
- Social Security numbers
- Proof of age for any family members who may also be eligible for benefits
- Proof of marriage if your spouse is also applying for benefits
- Dates of prior marriages, if relevant
Contact Our Experienced Lawyers for Assistance
If you need assistance with your disability application, contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation. Our disability attorneys will review your case and help you compile the information needed to prove your claim and secure the benefits you deserve.
There are no upfront fees when you work with our law firm. Payment is only owed if we recover compensation on your behalf.