The Social Security Disability Claims Process: The Initial Application
This is part of an ongoing series of Social Security Disability posts from Attorney Dennis Liotta, partner and the manager of our law firm's Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability Departments.
To apply for Social Security disability benefits, you must meet an array of criteria, including:
- You cannot continue in your line of work, nor can you adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last at least one year or result in death.
- You must have worked long enough, and recently enough, to have sufficiently contributed to the Social Security system.
- You can apply for disability even if you continue working part time, but your average monthly earnings can't exceed about $830.
- Other factors will be looked at as well, such as your age, education and vocational background.
After you decide that you meet the criteria, you send in your application and wait. On average, it will take about four months to hear back about your claim. If you are like many other people, you will receive a letter in the mail telling you that your claim has been denied. In fact, more than 75 percent of people are automatically denied benefits, regardless of whether or not they qualify for them. It is important for you to understand that the claims process does not end here. In my next post, I will discuss the options that you have if your claim is denied.