Social Security Disability If you are seriously and permanently disabled, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. In order to qualify for Social Security disability, you must be considered totally disabled from performing and substantial, gainful work, and must be disabled or expected to be disabled for at least 12 months. The Social Security Administration (SSA) may consider other sources of income, such as pension and worker’s compensation benefits, in determining the amount of a disability entitlement. The local Social Security office will supply all necessary applications and provide assistance in completing all forms for Social Security Disability. In the event that you are turned down by the SSA, you may request a reconsideration of their decision within 60 days. If the reconsideration is denied, you should consult our attorneys within 60 days to determine if it would be feasible to request a hearing before a United States Administrative Law Judge who will review the entire file and conduct a hearing. How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits The easiest way to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits is via the internet. Social Security maintains an excellent website, www.ssa.gov, which is extremely comprehensive. Your first step is to review the Adult Disability Starter Kit. This kit answers common questions about how to apply for benefits and includes a worksheet which tells you what information you will need to start the process. Once you have gathered the necessary information, you can fill out the application online to apply. You must also fill out an online disability report which includes information about your disability, your treatment, your health care providers and current medications. What if my application is denied? 90% of all initial applications for social security disability benefits are rejected by the Social Security Administration. Initial applications are reviewed by employees of Social Security, not by a Social Security judge. Once an applicant receives a denial of benefits, he or she has 60 days to appeal the decision. This must be done in writing and the applicant must request a hearing before a Social Security judge. If your application for benefits has been denied, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney and have them represent you in your appeal. Over 60% of those applicants who retain an attorney for their appeal are eventually awarded social security disability benefits. Social Security Disability vs. Supplemental Security Income Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not the same as social security disability (SSD). SSI is designed to pay a monthly benefit to people with limited income who are disabled, blind, or ages 65 or older. Many people who are eligible for SSI may also be entitled to receive SSD benefits. In fact, the application for SSI is also an application for SSD benefits and is administered by the social security administration. Unlike SSD benefits, SSI benefits are not based on work history. SSI benefits are financed by the U.S. Treasury (in other words personal, corporate or other taxes). SSI benefits are not paid for by your contributions to social security through your employer so there is no requirement that you “pay in to the system” to qualify for this benefit. In most states a person who receives SSI benefits can also qualify for Medicaid for health care coverage. Social Security Disability for Children If your child is under the age of 18 and has a condition(s) which results in “marked and severe functional limitations” for at least one year, they may qualify for supplemental security income (SSI). SSI is governed by the Social Security Agency and in some instances the disability may be severe enough to trigger immediate payments. Some of the more common conditions which qualify children for SSI are: HIV infection; blindness; deafness; Cerebral Palsy; Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy; severe mental retardation; and birth weight below 2 pounds, 10 ounces.