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SSD: What You Need to Know

April 20, 2017

Learn how HoganWillig can help you with your application or appeal for Social Security Disability.

Imagine having a steady job, being able to support yourself, and then disaster strikes; either you fall gravely ill or succumb to a serious injury leaving you unable to work. What would you do? How would you afford living expenses, the roof over your head, or food to eat? For many Americans, if they are unable to work due to an injury or ailment, there’s a benefits program in place meant to help hardworking citizens survive during trying times: Social Security Disability (SSD).

Social Security Disability is a program to help wage-earning individuals survive while they are out of work due to an illness or injury. Those who have been paying into Social Security Disability for at least 5 of the past 10 years may be eligible. The injury or illness must be one that will keep the wage earner out of work for 12 months or more according to attorney Paul Pochepan of HoganWillig.

Both physical and mental impairments may meet the criteria for SSD approval.

According to Paul Pochepan, “The question is whether the impairment is severe enough to keep the individual from working any job on a full-time basis? Being diagnosed with a severe impairment in and of itself is not enough to be awarded disability benefits. The impairment must significantly interfere with one’s daily functioning and ability to work.”

It’s also extremely important to have medical records and evidence supporting your claim of your inability to work. Sammy F. Iraci III, PT, offers Functional Capacity Exams (FCE). These exams are essential for determining impairment levels and loss of wage earning capacity. To learn more about these exams and Sammy F. Iraci’s practice, Family Care Physical Therapy, click here!

If a person meets all the aforementioned criteria, they may apply online or contact their local SSA office to apply by phone. It generally takes between 2 to 4 months to receive a decision on the initial application.

According to Pochepan, who has over 25 years of experience handling SSD claims, roughly 70% of applicants will receive an initial denial. This number has increased in recent years due to stricter standards.

If denied, the appeals process can take two years or more, unfortunately, leaving many without an income and facing financial hardship.

“I can help someone at any point in the process, the earlier on the better. We can help a claimant from the start, we can jump in and help with the appeal, or maybe they already appealed and are awaiting a hearing date. I can help someone at any stage of this process.”

Once someone is approved for Social Security Disability, they are subject to a continuing disability review process. It’s up to them to continue with regular treatment for their disabling impairment(s). If a claimant is reviewed by Social Security, and it’s apparent they have made medical improvements, they will receive a termination letter and benefits may cease if not appealed in a timely fashion, Pochepan said.

If the termination is timely appealed, the claimant will continue receiving benefits pending the outcome of this appeal but must be aware that they will ultimately be responsible for paying back these benefits if the termination is upheld.

All in all, the application and appeals process of Social Security Disability can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate. It doesn’t have to be, though, and you don’t have to go through it alone.

Contact HoganWillig to see how we can help you with your SSD claim today!

Or, take this brief evaluation survey and one of our attorneys will contact you upon completion.

Phone: 800-636-5255