People in Atlanta who want to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits have several options for filing a claim. As part of the application process, you will need to demonstrate that you satisfy the eligibility requirements, so it is wise to have information collected and prepared before applying.
Unfortunately, applicants for SSDI frequently receive notice that they have been denied benefits. Accordingly, appealing one or more denials is part of the Atlanta SSDI application process for many people. An experienced SSDI lawyer would be familiar with claims procedures and can assist with preparing an application or the appeals process.
The first step in the Atlanta SSDI application process is to determine whether an applicant qualifies for benefits. SSDI is operated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and funded by contributions from employees as part of Social Security taxes. To be eligible for SSDI benefits, a worker must have paid these taxes for a certain number of years depending on their age at the time of becoming disabled.
Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that they suffer from a medical condition which causes long-term disabling effects. Qualifying conditions must be expected to last at least a year or to cause death and make it impossible for an employee to work. Spouses and children of disabled workers may also be able to apply for derivative benefits if they meet the requirements.
Disabled workers may file an application for SSDI benefits online. However, children of disabled workers do not currently have that option. Those seeking SSDI can also start an application over the phone or apply in person at a local SSA office. The agency recommends making an appointment before filing in person or by phone.
It is at this stage that applicants should provide evidence to document their disability. As part of the Atlanta SSDI application process, it is necessary to give details about not only the medical condition itself but also how the condition impact’s the applicant’s ability to perform job tasks such as sitting, standing, and concentrating. For this reason, gathering sufficient medical evidence is crucial for demonstrating a claimant’s eligibility.
The SSA denies initial applications so often that appeals have become a regular part of the SSDI application process in Atlanta. If agency staff members deny a claim for benefits, the applicant may request a reconsideration of their decision, which involves a review by SSA staff who are bound by the same standards as those who made the original decision.
If the agency denies the application after reconsideration, the claimant may seek an hearing in front of an administrative law judge. An administrative hearing is not as formal as a courtroom trial, but applicants often retain an attorney to ensure that they make the most of the opportunity.
When an administrative law judge delivers an unsatisfactory opinion, a disabled worker may request another review by the Appeals Council. If the Council declines to review or change the opinion of the judge, the applicant may file an appeal in federal court.
Most applicants find the Atlanta SSDI application process complicated and often extremely frustrating. The SSA is looking for very specific information and thorough evidence, and an applicant who fails to produce documentation to meet the agency’s standards will likely be denied.
Advice and assistance from a well-versed hearing claims advocate can make the process of filing an application or appealing a denial substantially less stressful. An attorney can represent you during a hearing and present evidence on your behalf to achieve a successful outcome. Call our intake team today to learn more about how to apply for SSDI benefits.