Unraveling Social Security Disability Law

Posted on: 12 November 2015

No one plans to become disabled, but unexpected medical issues and accidents can leave formerly healthy individuals unable to return to work. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits exist to help cover lost wages for those who have gained enough work credits to qualify. Social Security law is complex and requirements can be confusing; having the guidance of an attorney well versed in Social Security law can help clear some of the confusion and red tape associated with the application process.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Compassionate Allowance Conditions

Many different conditions can qualify an individual for Social Security Disability. The majority of them life changing. All conditions require medical documentation and proof of disability, but some are considered compassionate allowance conditions due to their serious and terminal probability. These conditions may require less documentation as there is usually no question about the diagnosis and outcome.  It is important to remember that regardless of the quickness of approval, there is a five-month waiting period from date of disability to first payment being processed.

Mental Health and Disability

It is important to remember that mental health issues can be disabling but may be harder to prove for a disability claim. The very nature of mental illnesses means that patients often cycle and have periods of stability in between periods of incapacitation.  It is extra important to have documentation and diagnoses from qualified medical providers to verify existing conditions.

Social Security Disability and Medicare

Many people think that qualifying for Social Security Disability payments means that Medicare is automatically approved. While this is true in a limited number of conditions, all others, regardless of life expectancy require a two-year waiting period for those under the age of 65. There is an automatic waiver of the two-year wait for those diagnosed with ALS or end stage renal disease.  Those receiving SSI may qualify for Medicaid.

Social Security Disability vs. Social Security Supplemental Income

Social Security has two different programs for those who are disabled and/or low income. SSDI is a program that is based on a person's continued disability. SSI adds a "needs based" qualifier that requires that recipients have limited income and resources. Not everyone who qualifies for SSDI will quality for SSI.

The application for Social Security Disability can usually be completed online with follow up either by telephone interviews or in office visits. Individuals who receive an initial denial may want to consult with a Social Security Disability attorney, such as Connor Law, before filing an appeal.