Indianapolis, Lafayette & Franklin Social Security Disability Blog

The timeline of a disability benefit claim

Indiana residents may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if they have a qualifying medical or physical condition. Whether a person qualifies will depend on the medical evidence that they provide. An examiner will check to see if the condition will last for at least 12 months and make it impossible to earn a gainful living. The examiner will also look at any work that the applicant has done in the past 15 years.

If the applicant has the skills or education necessary to perform other work, a denial may be issued. Generally speaking, it doesn't take long for a person to hear back if an application is not approved. This is because an individual only has 65 days to appeal the decision. Initial applications are denied about 70 percent of the time while reconsideration appeals are denied over 80 percent of the time.

How to prepare for your SSDI application

If you cannot work due to an injury or illness that results in a significant impairment, you may want to obtain Social Security benefits. But this can be an intimidating pursuit. Filing paperwork and dealing with a government agency may be daunting, but it is easier when you have the right help.

Most people do not even know where to start when it comes to applying for disability benefits, so you are not alone. Here are the first steps to take as you get ready to apply.

Disability benefits and EODs

Indiana residents who submit an initial claim for Social Security Disability benefits and who have their claim approved will then have their established date of onset calculated. The EOD is the date which the Social Security Administration determines to be when the applicant's disability began.

The EOD can be used to determine exactly how far back disability benefits should be calculated. However, it is important to note that the issue can become confusing due to the differences in the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability programs. How far back the benefits can be calculated is also affected by the differences in which claim approvals are handled at application stage or reconsideration appeal stage and how the claim approvals are handled at the disability hearing stage.

SSD decisions after medical examinations

Some Indiana residents who are applying for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration may be required to undergo an examination by a Social Security physician. The exams are arranged by disability examiners so that they have current medical information about claimants who have no medical records or no current records. A consultative medical examination may also be required if the severity of a claimant's condition has to be verified. When claimants have their examinations scheduled has no bearing on when they will get their disability benefits.

After they have completed their consultative examination, a decision regarding their benefits will be made soon after. Simply undergoing an examination by the Social Security medical examiner does not guarantee an approval of the benefits. Most of the people who apply for disability benefits and who undergo a consultative examination will receive a denial; this is because the majority of initial disability claims are rejected whether or not the claimant attends an examination.

Determining when to file for disability benefits

People who have a mental or physical disability can find it very difficult to find work to support themselves financially. Indiana residents who are disabled can file to receive disability benefits from Social Security if their medical condition negatively affects their ability to work. This applies to previous tasks individuals have done as well as other types of work for which their education, job skills and training makes them qualified.

When making decisions regarding whether to provide disability benefits to claimants, the Social Security Administration considers whether there is an ability to perform previous work or other types of work activity. The medical records of the claimants are gathered in order to review both their medical history and work history. Previous work may include any work that was performed within the last 15 years before a claimant became disabled and for which the claimant was able to perform long enough to be able to learn the responsibilities of the job.

Can a brain injury qualify you for disability benefits?

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits is not an easy feat, especially when you have a brain-related injury that leaves you impaired.

If you sustained a traumatic brain injury at work or in an accident, you may still suffer debilitating side effects. Do these lingering issues qualify you to receive SSDI benefits? To see what your eligibility is before you start the application process, see if you have any of these disabilities.

How guardianships work

The courts in Indiana can establish guardianships that permit one party to make decisions on behalf of another party. Guardianships are typically established when individuals become incapacitated or disabled and unable to make decisions regarding their own welfare.

Without guardianships in place, the assets of someone who is comatose or in some other way debilitated could depreciate in value if they are not properly managed. Guardians would also be responsible for ensuring that bills, such as insurance or utilities, are paid so that excessive liabilities do not accumulate.

Many disability claimants face an uphill battle

For those who suffer a disabling medical condition, holding a job can be difficult. Many people with disabilities struggle with the daily challenges for months or even years before it finally becomes too much and they apply for Social Security disability benefits. However, the approval numbers for first-time applicants in Indiana and other states are well below 50 percent. This makes it imperative to be precise in filing a complete SSDI application with all the required supporting documentation.

An SSDI threshold requirement is eligibility as determined by earning work credits. For most individuals, this means working five of the last 10 years. Additionally, if a claimant is still working, they cannot be working too many hours or earn too much money. A denial based on any of these reasons is considered a technical denial. However, disability experts, report that the majority of denials are based on a medical record that is insufficient to meet the Social Security Administration's definition of disability.

Finances can be a factor in a disability benefits case

A threshold requirement for Social Security Disability Insurance eligibility is that the applicant must have a sufficient number of work credits. The amount needed to earn one work credit changes from year to year, but as a general rule, a person will be eligible if he or she has worked five of the last 10 years before acquitting the condition or conditions leading to the claim of disability. However, many Indiana residents stop working some time before filing a claim. This places some in the position of not being able to afford to have a treating doctor.

While the regulations do not demand an applicant to provide medical records in the initial filing, the disability examiner will need medical history treatment notes among other elements before a decision can be rendered. Where no records are submitted, the Social Security Administration will order a consultative examination to provide information regarding the claimant's condition. While this provides the SSA with what the regulations require, it seldom benefits the claimant who is seeking a thorough, objective evaluation.

Appealing the termination of disability benefits

Some Indiana Social Security recipients may face periodic continuing reviews and other types of scrutiny directed toward their disability benefits. In most cases, reviews occur automatically every three to seven years to determine if a recipient is once again medically able to work. While people whose disabilities are considered permanent by Social Security tend to have seven-year review dates, these can come more frequently for others. In other cases, reports that a person was engaging in some type of work may spark a more sudden review of a disability case.

In such instances, the recipient may receive a notice that their disability benefits will be halted because the agency has decided that they are able to return to work. Recipients who receive this type of notice have a right to appeal the decision; they have 60 days after receiving the notice to file an appeal, just like applicants whose benefits claims are initially denied. In some cases, people who appeal the termination of their disability benefits can be successful in receiving Social Security disability once again through a hearing at a state disability agency or before an administrative law judge.

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