Not true, according to Proudian. The SSDI decision is a legal one, not a medical one – a key point that people often misunderstand, she says. But the doctor who treats you and provides details about your condition must be a credible medical professional, and must provide honest, detailed information. Once that information and other details are filed, the decision is up to the Social Security Administration, she says.
You may be, but it’s not automatic. According to the Social Security Administration, your medical condition will be reviewed periodically. If your condition is expected to improve, the first review is typically 6 to 18 months after the date you first became disabled. If improvement is possible but unpredictable, the reviews are usually done every three years. If you’re not expected to improve, reviews are typically done every seven years.
Myth: The best first step when applying for Social Security disability insurance is to immediately hire a lawyer.
The best first step is to talk to your doctor. « Have a candid conversation with your doctor, » Calder advises. « Does he or she think you are disabled? » That information is key.
Pay close attention to what the doctor tells you. For instance, if you’re told to try another medicine, use a wheelchair to help alleviate your MS symptoms, or get more physical therapy, your doctor may think that additional treatment will be enough to keep you on the job.
Fact: Having objective, detailed, complete documentation of your disability will increase the likelihood you’ll get SSDI.
The more thorough the information you give, the better. The Social Security Administration provides a lengthy list of what you need in its guidebook on disability insurance. Collect as much of this information as you can before you apply, experts say.
Fact: SSDI payments don’t kick in immediately.
Processing can take three to five months, according to the Social Security Administration. When your request is approved, you will receive a letter with the effective date. Your first payment will be for the sixth full month following your disability effective date, according to Social Security.
For example, if you get a letter that approves your claim and sets a disability effective date of January 15, your first payment will be for the month of July. But you’ll actually get that payment in August, since payments are made one month after the month they cover.
Fact: The chance that a worker will become severely disabled while working is higher than people think.
One in four 20-year-old workers who are insured for disability benefits will become disabled before getting to retirement age, according to the Social Security Administration.
Fact: SSDI is designed to be a long-term program.
You can apply only if the disability is expected to be long-term – 12 months or longer – or if the condition is so severe that it’s viewed as terminal. The program is meant for those with »the most severe impairments in the country, » Jarrett says.
Other private programs pay out for short-term or partial disability, but Social Security disability insurance does not. Yet some states may award temporary funds to people who can’t work because of illness not caused by work. You can contact your state’s Department of Labor to see if you quality for temporary disability benefits.
Fact: Help is available to guide you in applying for Social Security disability insurance.
For starters, read the Social Security disability insurance booklet online. It includes a list of all the information the agency needs to begin processing your application.
Patient advocacy groups like the National MS Society also offer guidance, and Calder says that their guidebook is helpful for people with other health conditions, too, since many of the application steps are the same.