It can be difficult navigating the Social Security disability process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) awards disability benefits under two programs: SSDI and SSI. SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance and is funded by deductions to payroll checks. SSI, Supplemental Security Income, is awarded to low-income individuals, the elderly, and the blind. SSI benefits are funded jointly by the state and federal governments. Anyone who applies for disability must meet SSA’s definition of disability.
The SSA defines disability as being severely impaired and unable to perform “substantial gainful activity.” Substantial gainful activity is the ability to make $1170 per month. Initial applications for Disability Benefits in Ottawa County are sent to a state disability office. The state office, Disability Determination Services, reviews each application and investigates. The main job of disability claims examiners is to review the evidence. Unfortunately, many applicants do not have sufficient medical evidence.
That is why it helps to hire an attorney. Attorneys work with clients to gather the necessary medical evidence. For instance, the attorney may have the client’s doctor complete a Residual Functional Capacities Form. The form spells out what an applicant is physically or mentally able to do. Likewise, claims examiners also seek the service of vocational experts. These experts look at a person’s skill set and the alleged impairment. Afterward, they determine whether the applicant can perform any job.
Those who are denied here may file an appeal. The first appeal is called a Request For Reconsideration. Basically, Disability Determination Services reviews the file again. However, a new claims examiner is assigned. If the applicant is denied again, a Request For Hearing should be filed. Unfortunately, due to the heavy load of cases, it may take a year to get a court date. At the hearing, an administrative law judge listens to all the evidence. In fact, this is the first opportunity for the applicant to speak. Finally, they are able to say how their disability affects them. The attorney may also call other witnesses. Likewise, SSA generally has the vocational expert testify. Attorneys help many clients obtain benefits at the hearing level. For more information, contact to.
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