The Application Process for Social Security Disability Benefits

A resident of Michigan who is not able to report for work for a year or more due to an injury or illness may apply for a Social Security Disability (SSD) benefit. This way, the worker may still receive some money to make ends meet as he continues with his full recovery.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has dozens of field offices within Michigan where an individual may submit the required documents to apply for an SSD. Going to the field office is advisable if the person wishes to ask questions directly from an employee of the SSA or the claims representative. However, SSD benefits may also be filed online through the SSA portal. This route is convenient if you are already familiar with the application process and have not been denied a claim within the last 60 days.  Unfortunately, the majority of those who file for SSD claims are not aware of what they need to know before submitting the documents. Below is a guide.

  1. Check your Social Security Disability eligibility.

Before going through the process of claiming an SSD, you first have to ensure that you are eligible. These are the conditions for eligibility based on the SSA guidelines:

  • worked at a job covered by Social Security
  • earned at least 40 Social Security work credits, which is at least 10 years of work and continuous contributions
  • a medical condition that qualifies as a disability
  1. Go through the checklist.

Apart from determining eligibility, you also need to be familiar with the personal information you will provide in the application. This might seem standard or basic, but one wrong detail could affect the progress or outcome of your claim.

The SSA has conveniently provided a Checklist for Online Adult Disability Application. It might also help to write down your work and medical history for your own convenience so that no pertinent details will be amiss when you have to be interviewed.

  1. Consider when to apply for SSD.

Ideally, applying for SSD must be done as soon as possible if you know you are eligible. This is important because receiving the benefits won’t begin until six months after the application has been approved and not filed.

The SSA will also have to verify the details you’ve written down. Thus, you need to consider the long waiting period as it may take 90 to 120 days for the claims representatives to review the documents.

  1. Exercise care during the Evaluation Process.

Understand, however, that some applications of SSD claims would only begin rolling after the interview or evaluation process. You will be notified of a schedule for an interview if the documents you’ve submitted may require further verification.

The evaluation process is done in person or through the phone for applicants who have mobility issues. The claims representative will ask a series of questions about your application, as well as your work history and medical history.

Unfortunately, only a third of applicants in Michigan receive approval of their SSD benefits following the evaluation process. The notice will arrive by post or mail from the Disability Determination Services (DDS).

  1. Understand the Appeals Process.

Rejected or denied applications may be subjected to an appeal. In some states, claimants have to file for a Request for Reconsideration. However, the SSA in Michigan has removed this process. Instead, you may file for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) within 60 days of receiving the rejected notice.  The approval rate for applications reviewed during the hearing with the ALJ in Michigan is around 58 percent.

The appeal process may also involve a few more stages, as per the SSA Annual Statistical Report:

  • a review of your application with the Appeals Council
  • a federal court review
  • the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

You might be asked to submit additional evidence during the appeal process or present witnesses to testify and corroborate your claims under oath. In general, the average waiting period during the appeals process may take 16 to 18 months.

Get Help With Your Social Security Disability Application in Michigan

Admittedly, the application process for social security disability benefits may be overwhelming and stressful, especially if you have experienced getting denied. To increase your chances of approval, you must consider getting help from a capable Social Security Disability lawyer in Michigan. Contact The Clark Law Office and talk to our experts about your claims!  We offer free consultations for all social security case and charge no fees unless you win.