If you are unable to work due to a serious health condition, you probably have many questions about your Social Security disability benefits. After all, you still need to have some form of income, even if you can no longer work.
If you’re no longer earning a regular income, the time it takes to be approved for benefits can make a world of difference. Luckily, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does have programs in place that makes it possible to get a faster initial decision on your disability application. If you have a condition that is terminal, such as cancer, your application will likely be fast tracked. However, your condition does not necessarily need to be terminal in order to receive an expedited application.
Quick Disability Determination
The SSA uses an electronic system known as Quick Disability Determination (QDD) to screen applicants that have filed for disability benefits online. Applying online is a desirable option for many candidates who are not physically able to make it into the Social Security office.
QDD scans your application for key words and phrases that would generally make the applicant a good candidate for approval. After scanning for key words, the system checks to make sure all required documents are included (this is why it pays to have your paperwork in order, especially medical records from your healthcare provider).
The cases that successfully meet all these requirements are marked for an expedited approval process. If you are not able to file online and must make a trip to the SSA office, your application will be checked by a Social Security claims representative, who also has the ability to stamp the application for expedited status.
If your disability has made you in danger of becoming homeless, you may also qualify. If you have one of several severe impairments, physical or intellectual, this could be considered a “presumptive disability” and can qualify you for six months of benefits while you wait for your benefits claim to be processed.
Applicants should keep in mind that even with an expedited approval process, all Social Security disability insurance claims could take some time to come in. Your benefit checks will not come until it has been at least five months from the date the SSA decides your disability began. However, this determination is based on the information you provide, so make sure you have all your paperwork together in order to get a more favorable outcome.
The Compassionate Allowances Program
The SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program is another fast-track process that quickly identifies qualifying conditions and diseases that meet the SSA’s standards for disability. Applicants for both DIB and SSI are scanned for Compassionate Allowances.
The SSA uses research from the National Institutes of Health, counsel from medical experts, and input from the disabled community to determine which conditions should be added to the Compassionate Allowances program. As it currently stands, there are 240 conditions outlined in the program, which includes certain cancers and rare diseases that affect children. If you have one of these conditions, your wait time for benefits can be greatly reduced from months to a matter of days.
Veteran’s Benefits and DIB Processing
Did you know if you are a veteran you may also qualify for additional benefits? If you suffered a disability while serving your country, seek out assistance from the Veterans Benefits Association. They can offer you financial compensation and healthcare if you are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability caused or made worse by your service; however, if your condition has worsened over time, you may find that this monthly compensation is no longer enough.
If you are a veteran and need financial assistance in addition to your benefits from the VA, you are still eligible for Social Security disability insurance. Be advised that they are separate programs and if you do qualify for VA benefits, this is not a guarantee you will be approved for disability insurance.
In a normal situation, a veteran could spend anywhere between three to five months waiting on a decision from the Social Security disability department to hear a decision. But if you are already living on a limited income, this is less than ideal. Veterans who have a 100 percent P&T (permanent and total) disability rating could potentially see faster results.
It’s important to know what your options are and how you can make the most out of the situation regarding your benefits. A disability lawyer can provide help if you need help beginning the process.
Help from a Local Disability Benefits Attorney
This is quite a significant amount of information to process and it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed. But don’t worry – there are people out there that would be happy to answer your questions and point you in the right direction.
Applying for benefits can be complicated, but soliciting the assistance of effective legal counsel can help you understand which benefits program is right for you. Even if you are initially denied for coverage, your fight isn’t over. Your attorney can help you file an appeal if you are denied.
At Hensley Legal Group, we have your best interests at heart and will work hard to guide you through your Social Security disability process. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim.