If you have developed a disease or other medical condition and you are not able to work, you may be entitled to apply for and obtain disability benefits through Social Security. There are two different types of Social Security Disability benefits. They are referred to as Social Security Disability (SSD or Title 2) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI or Title 16). You may qualify for both. Some of the common questions that arise are answered below. If you don’t find the answer to your question, call our office and we will be happy to discuss your case, and whether you may qualify for benefits.

What is Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) is funded based on the deductions from your pay. It provides income to disabled people who are unable to work but have worked the required number of qualifying quarters to be insured. Benefits under this program are only granted following an extensive review process to determine your level of disability. When applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) most people also apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) at the same time.

What is Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is different from other social security disability benefits. It is provided to those individuals living in poverty who also are disabled, blind, and/or over 65 years of age. In many instances, individuals receiving SSI also receive or are eligible to receive other social security benefits, Medicaid, and food stamps. Your situation must be evaluated to determine what benefits may be available to you.

How does the Social Security Disability process work?

The Social Security disability determination process can be lengthy. There are generally three levels of review that your claim may have to navigate. They are the initial review level, the reconsideration level, and the hearing or Administrative Law Judge level.

The initial review level occurs when you file your initial application for benefits. The Social Security Administration will gather your medical records and refer your application for review in Columbus. A person in Columbus will review your medical records and apply it to their guidelines and then determine whether you are eligible for benefits. The initial process takes around 3-6 months for a decision. A vast majority of applications filed are denied at this level. Many people seek an attorney after receiving their initial denial.

The next step is to request a Reconsideration of your application. At the reconsideration level, the Social Security Administration will gather any additional medical records and have then have your application reviewed by a different person. A vast majority of reconsiderations are also denied. This process can take an additional 3-6 months to complete.

The third level is called the Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Once this request is made, your file will be sent to the Social Security Office of Adjudication and Review (ODAR) office that services your address. Your file will be reviewed for hearing on a “first come, first served” basis and unfortunately, the wait can be extremely long. A general rule is that you will wait approximately two years after filing the request for hearing. During this waiting period, we will update your file with additional medical records and even seek specific medical opinions from your medical providers to assist in your claim. These records will be sent to the ALJ so that they can be reviewed as soon as possible. If appropriate, we will file a brief or request that your claim be approved based on the record of medical evidence on fie.

At Beirne and Wirthlin Co., L.P.A., we will do everything possible to give you the best chance of getting your claim approved.