Disability Benefits-What Are They?
Social Security Disability benefits are provided by a goverment system which is operated by the United States Social Security Administration (or SSA). Persons who are unable to work because of physical or mental disorders can obtain cash payments through this system. Payments are also available to the dependents of these persons.
Disability benefits in the USA are provided through two separate programs. One is named Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This system provides payments to people who have previously worked and made payments into the Social Security trust fund. The second system is called Supplemental Security Income or SSI, and is for individuals who have not paid into the Social Security trust fund and who have limited assets and income. As stated before, both systems also will make payments to dependents of those receiving benefits.
Many people have become discouraged and overwhelmed when applying for or even thinking of appling for disability benefits. Unfortunately, because of the extent of the rules, regulations and bureaucracy of the SSA, these feelings are understandable. However, with a little knowledge, such as supplied on this website, and the right attitude, obtaining benefits for a bona fide disability is straightforward and has been done by many individuals.
What is the right attitude? It requires two main components. The first is persistence, and the second is a commitment to accuracy and completeness. Because of the bureacuracy involved in receiving, considering and approving complaints, any time there is some sort of a problem in the process, it can delay approval or even cause denial of a claim. Being accurate and complete when completing the required forms helps avoid these problems.
Also, there are multiple agencies involved in the process. Even though claims are initially made through Social Security, each state has an agency which makes the medical decision regarding whether or not claims will be approved. Social Security determines if the claim is acceptable as far as administrative reasons (like financial elgibility, work history, etc.) are concerned. These administrative requirements are pretty cut and dried, and in most cases, the claimant either qualifies or he does not.
A claimant will start by applying at the Social Security office, and then after the paperwork makes its way through that system, the claim will be passed to the state agency, where the case is judged on medical benefits. At this point, there is a lot more room for personal opinion and discretion by the examiner. But if necessary facts are not available at any point, chances are that the claim will just be denied. So be sure to provide all answers and as much information as you have, even though you will probably be tired of filling out forms and just want to get the process over.
While applying for disability benefits can be exhausting and confusing, if you approach it in a methodical, optimistic manner you'll have the best chance of being successful in the end.