What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?
SSDI is Social Security Disability Insurance, and SSI is Supplemental Security Income. To qualify for SSDI, a person must be "insured". One achieves insured status by working at least five of the previous ten years from the date of application. SSI os available to those with little or no work history and that have few or no assets. It is possible to qualify for both at the same time.
What is considered a disability?
The Social Security Administration defines a disability as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental impairment, and such impairment is expected to last 12 months or more or result in death.
My doctor says I am disabled, so i automatically qualify, right?
Your doctor cannot find you disabled. That is a legal question that is reserved for the Commissioner of the Social Security Agency. Your doctor can offer his medical opinion on your abilities and the Judge will apply the guidelines to your situation given your medical restrictions and determine if you are legally disabled.
How does the disability process work?
For most people there are three steps to the process. The first is the filing of an initial claim, and it can take two or three months to get an answer. If denied, you can ask for Reconsideration, and this typically takes another two or three months. If denied, you can then ask for a Hearing in front of a judge. The current waiting time is between 12 and 15 months for a Hearing.
Can I speed this process up?
Yes and no. The SSA provides for a "fast track" for hearings, but with some exceptions you must not be expected to live long enough to wait the normal time. There are many people seeking benefits and not enough resources to make this an in and out process. Ask your doctor to have all of your records and progress notes available, and when SSA schedules hearings those whose files are complete will be ready to go.
Questions? I will answer those specific to your situation. Call Jeffrey A. Bivens, PC at (815) 399-2299 for your free consultation at 4855 E. State St., Rockford, IL 61108