Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are not guaranteed for life. The program provides benefits to disabled workers and to their dependents. For those who can no longer work due to a disability, SSDI is designed to replace a portion of their lost income.
The Social Security Administration defines social security disability insurance (SSDI) as a social insurance program under which workers earn coverage for benefits, by working and paying Social Security taxes on their earnings.
The Disability Approval Process
By law, Social Security has a very strict definition of disability. To be eligible, you must be unable to do any substantial work because of your medication condition AND your medical condition must have lasted or be expected to last at least one year.
Benefits can be approved at the initial application stage, the reconsideration stage or the hearing stage.
Most applications are denied at the initial application stage. If that is the case, you can request a reconsideration during the appeals process. If that reconsideration is denied, you can advance to the hearing stage of the process where an administrative law judge (ALJ) will hear your claim personally.
Our law firm helps clients at every step of the process from initial application through a hearing, but many do not. It’s important to clarify how your disability representative works before allowing them to represent you.
You’re Approved! What’s Next?
If your claim is approved at any step in the process, the Social Security Administration will notify you and your chosen representative accordingly. At that time, you’ll learn more about how much money you will receive each month and if you are entitled to any back pay. Back pay is awarded as a benefit to successful claimants who are able to establish that they were disabled before they were awarded benefits.
Once the monthly benefit amount and back pay are calculated, you should begin receiving payments on a monthly basis. But, that’s not the end of the process. By law, every claimant receiving benefits is subject to a periodic review process called the Continuing Disability Review (CDR).
The SSA must conduct this review at least once every three years, unless you have a condition which is expected to improve sooner. Individuals who have conditions that are not expected to improve can expect their claim to be reviewed once every five to seven years.
During this review, SSA may ask you questions such as …
Have you improved?
Have you returned to work?
Do you continue to seek treatment?
They will also review your income, resources and living arrangements to ensure that you continue to meet the non-medical program requirements.
In some cases, benefits continue as normal. In others, SSA may determine that you are no longer disabled and cease benefits. If that happens, claimants can challenge the finding through the cessation claim appeal process.
Since the disability process can be long and frustrating, we recommend working with a qualified attorney who can represent you from day one and help you should problems arise in future.