Friday, April 09, 2010

Do You Really Have to be Out of Work a Year to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Many people who read the Social Security "five step process" that determines disability will notice that it says to be eligible for SSDI or SSI you need to be out of work for a year or more or be expected to be out of work for a year or more. Let me start by saying, that this does not mean you have to wait a year before you can apply for benefits. However, many times when someone applies as soon as they stop working Social Security often will send back a denial stating that your condition is not expected to keep you out of work for at least a year. In my opinion, this is the decision-maker at SSA taking the easy way out and not making a decision based on the medical evidence. This amounts to a wasted opportunity to win your claim at application. So your next question might be, how do I avoid this type of decision being made on my application. Sometimes, it is better to wait six months after you stop working to apply. I say this because if it takes 3 to 6 months to make a decision then it is a lot more difficult for the decision-maker at Social Security to say your condition is not expected to keep you out of work for at least a year. I do understand it is not always possible to wait six months with no income, particularly if your state does not have state temporary disability available to you. So in the situation where you have to apply as soon as you stop working, there are things you can do to prevent being denied based on not being out of work for at least a year. You can get a report from your doctor explaining your medical condition, that you are disabled, and that he or she expects you to continue to be disabled for at least a year if not permanently. The more detailed the report by the doctor in regards to your limitations from your medical condition that are keeping you from working the better. You should also try to provide Social Security with as much medical information as possible that supports your doctors opinion. I hope this post makes this part of the five step process a little more clear for those of you who are confused by the wording. However, if you have any questions you are always free to e-mail me or call me at 1-877-527-5529. If you need more information on Social Security disability law visit my Ultimate Social Security Disability Guide website.