Getting Social Security benefits is an important step toward supporting yourself if you’re living with a disability. It may not be easy to live without those benefits, especially if you can no longer work to support yourself at all or have no financial support of other types.
Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is compensation paid to you based on how long you’ve worked and paid into the system. You need to be able to:
- Meet the work history requirements
- Prove that you’re disabled
- Meet all eligibility requirements
SSDI is intended to cover the basic costs of living with a disabling condition that lasts for one year or longer. The moment you become disabled, you should be looking into applying for disability benefits.
How can you qualify for SSDI?
To qualify for SSDI, you need to apply as soon as you become disabled. Your attorney can help you fill out the initial paperwork, but keep in mind that there is a five month waiting period. Your benefit payments cannot start until the sixth month following your disability. This waiting period begins the first full month after the Social Security Administration determines that you’re disabled.
How can you prove that you are? You’ll need a lot of evidence. When you apply, you should provide documentation of your injuries and disability. Some common documentation includes:
- Medical letters from your providers
- Medical test results
- Medical test imaging documents
- Information about the accident, if you are injured, or illness, if you are unwell
You should also look to see if your specific disability is listed in the Listing of Impairments. The listings are not the only way to prove a disability, but the so-called “blue book” does have specific requirements to prove certain disabilities. Follow those requirements to prove that you have a disability or one equal to a condition in the book.
It can be difficult to get SSDI, but with the right help, you can put together information and prepare your case. Your attorney can work closely with you on the application and assist you if you later need to appeal a decision that is not in your favor.