For residents of Baltimore, Maryland and throughout the United States, Social Security benefits are a helpful but confusing topic. Many people are unsure about whether they qualify and how to submit an application. Hiring a disability benefits attorney can be a practical solution, and the person you hire can guide you through the process from application and appeals, to approval. He or she can answer questions you have, but a general understanding of the process is helpful.
Qualifying for Social Security Benefits
Social Security benefits are divided into two very similar programs. The first is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is based on credits earned for employment. The second is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and is based on financial need. For either program, the application must include the same information. An individual must first provide a medical cause, either mental or physical, for disability. This must affect his or her ability to work and earn income, either in the most recent field of work or another area. This medical information is provided by a physician. It must be presented in a neutral yet detailed format.
The Social Security Benefits Application Process
The initial application is fairly simple. It requires a large amount of personal information, including health and employment details. The key at this stage is to be thorough and provide as much supporting material as is available. Although this can be completed independently, some people choose to hire a disability benefits attorney to assist with the application. An attorney can help make sure the application is completed thoroughly, is accurate, and that all supporting documents are provided. The initial application may be granted or denied. Following a denial, the process can include a reconsideration appeal, a hearing, an appeal before the appeals council, and a federal court case.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
The majority of initial applications are denied. This biggest mistake someone can make at this stage is accepting that denial, but many people do just that. Pursing the claim through the reconsideration stage to the hearing significantly increases chances of success. This is often due to the case being fully developed, all medical evidence submitted, a pre-hearing brief written, and for the deciding judge to see the claimant in person. In some cases, the second biggest mistake is to submit a new application, rather than to appeal. In most cases, the result will be the same, as the same people will consider the application again.
Baltimore Social Security benefits that are available to the disabled are the same as those Social Security disability benefits in any other state. The application and appeals process can be lengthy and stressful, causing many disabled persons to simply give up. However, with the support of a qualified disability benefits attorney, the process can go smoother and the odds of success, particularly at the hearing level, increased.