Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

If your illness or injury is so severe that you can no longer work, you’ll require rest, care, and the means to live comfortably. The last thing you need is for your Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) claim to be denied. 

The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies a shockingly high percentage of applications from people who are eligible; only 40% of applications are approved each year.

Because the system is so complicated, many people give up after a denial. But if your claim has been denied, it doesn’t have to be the end of the road. It’s possible to appeal the SSA’s decision. We are ready, willing, and able to help you navigate the system and receive the insurance you deserve.

SSDI Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for SSDI, you have to have suffered a “total disability,” meaning that you’re completely unable to return to work for at least one year. Your injury or illness must also prevent you from adjusting to another kind of work.

The SSA defines disability as a medical, psychological, or psychiatric impairment. We’ll help you figure out where your condition falls under this umbrella.

You also need to have earned a certain amount of what the SSA calls “Social Security work credits.” To have enough work credits, you must have worked at least five of the last ten years before you became disabled.

Appealing an SSA Denial

Most people who apply for SSDI will be denied the first time. You can and should appeal. We’ll help you at each step of the process.

The first thing you’ll do is submit a request for reconsideration. Once that’s received, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) will choose a medical expert and examiner who wasn’t involved at all in processing your initial application. They’ll conduct their own full review of your case. Only about five to ten percent of all claims are approved at this point.

The next step is your best chance. If your request for reconsideration is denied, you can ask for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ) within 60 days. Half of SSDI applicants are approved at this hearing.

If your application is denied at the disability hearing, you’ll take your case to the Appeals Council. Typically, the Council only reviews a case if they believe the ALJ made a mistake. When they do review a case, they only approve two to three percent of cases.

If, after all these steps, your application has not yet been approved, you can take your case to federal court. If the federal court reviews your case and finds there was an error, they’ll send the application back to the SSA to reconsider it.

We know this process can sound intimidating to someone who’s never gone through it. The good news is, we do this all the time, and we’re here to help.

We Will Guide You

If you’ve been denied SSDI, you might feel like you’re trapped, or like no one’s listening. Our team has a message for you: don’t give up. We have decades of experience navigating the system, and we want to give you a fighting chance. 

The attorneys at O’Donnell Law Offices are ready to walk you through the appeals process, prepare you for your disability hearing, and advise you every step of the way. Call us today at (570) 821-5717 for your free consultation.

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