No matter what medical condition you are experiencing that has forced you to stop working, getting approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is not easy. The Social Security Administration turns about two out of three initial applications, forcing thousands of people to appeal each year.
However, you can take steps to improve your chances of success the first time around. As shared by Kiplinger, here are five steps to take when preparing your SSDI application:
1. Make sure you are eligible. The SSA strictly defines who is eligible for SSDI payments. The first rule is that your disability must be severe and expected to last at least 12 more months or end in your death. You must also have paid FICA taxes at least five out of the last 10 years, and be under retirement age.
2. File as soon as possible. There is no point in waiting. It can be tough to admit to yourself that it is time to seek financial help, but SSDI comes out of a fund you have helped pay for. If you need it, don’t wait until your savings are used up before applying.
3. Set a budget. It could be months or years before you get the benefits you deserve. Meanwhile, you can avoid financial disaster by making a budget and sticking to it.
4. Don’t go without health insurance. Among other things, you need to have your medical records to support your claim. Cancelling your insurance makes doing that much harder. If you can no longer afford your current insurance, you may qualify for Medicaid or a marketplace exchange plan.
5. Get help. An experienced attorney who focuses on SSDI law will help reduce waiting times and improve your chances of success on appeal.
A serious disability may entitle you to substantial benefits to help replace your lost income. Talk to an SSDI lawyer to learn more.