Understanding Social Security Disability

At the Disability and Injury Law Offices of David R. Machek, we know that Social Security Disability benefits can be a financial lifesaver for people who, due to illness or injury, are unable to work for a living. However, the process of applying for these benefits is far from easy.

Here are some things everyone should know about the Social Security Disability benefits application process:

Social Security Disability Vs. Supplemental Security Income

The Social Security Administration has two programs that provide benefits for disabled people: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each has different eligibility requirements, and the process of applying for the benefits under the two systems is different.

Similar to Social Security retirement benefits, SSD benefits are based upon your work history and tax payments. If you have worked a set number of hours over a 10-year period, you are considered to have paid into the system, and you may be eligible for these benefits. The dollar amount of SSD benefits is based upon your Social Security earnings record.

SSI is a safety net for those who do not have the work history to make them eligible for SSD. For example, those who are under 18, over 65 or are receiving welfare benefits, may be eligible for SSI. The dollar amount of SSI benefits is based on your income and resources, up to a specified amount.

Documenting Your Health Issues

The Social Security Administration has a long list of medical conditions that may qualify you for SSD, but you must provide evidence that you have one or more qualifying conditions. For this reason, it is important to seek out medical treatment and keep documentation of all your physical and mental health issues.

List all your qualifying conditions on your application. When you apply for benefits, the Social Security Administration will consider all your medical issues in total. One of your conditions alone may not be sufficient to make you eligible, but several of them together might.

If At First You Don't Succeed

Applying for SSD benefits is a long process. The Social Security Administration denies most initial applications. Fortunately, applicants can take advantage of a robust system of appeals to continue fighting for the benefits they need and deserve.

If your application has been turned down, you can request a hearing to appeal the decision. And, if you are turned down a second time, there are more chances to appeal after that. It's important to have the help of a skilled attorney at many stages in this slow process, and especially during the appeals. To learn more, see our page about appeals.

Contact Us

If you apply for SSD benefits, you will find many technical requirements and roadblocks along the way. A skilled lawyer with experience in Social Security Disability can help you avoid or overcome these hurdles.

At the Disability and Injury Law Offices of David R. Machek, we help clients at many different stages in the application process. Call our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, office at 215-385-5353 or contact us by email. We represent people throughout the Delaware Valley area including Philadelphia, Montgomery and Bucks counties and communities such as Harrisburg, South Jersey and Dover, Delaware.

We know the financial pressures facing our clients, and we do not charge any fees unless or until they are successful in their claim.