SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY SELF HELP FOR FIRST-TIME APPLICANTS
A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
Applying for and receiving Social Security Disability Benefits is a multi-step process. Here at David Gantt Law Office, we handle Social Security Disability cases from the point of first denial. Essentially we are appellate lawyers. We help Social Security Disability applicants who have been denied benefits to seek reconsideration and have their matter heard by a judge. Though rare, some disability applicants are approved at their first application. This page is meant to be a roadmap of how the system works through the point of your first denial, and what you can expect from there.
In the vast majority of cases, acquiring Social Security Disability benefits is a three-part process, with each part having multiple steps. Essentially the three parts are application, followed by a first and then second appeal. Those three steps are more completely described below in "The Claim Process" Section of this page.
Social Security Disability is a national disability insurance funded by your tax payments.
Supplemental Security Income is a national insurance that is based on income. You may qualify for SSI while you are applying for disability.
Preparing to File Your Claim
Preparation and organization are key factors in helping applicants maintain focus. We suggest creating a reference folder that includes things the Social Security interviewer will want to know, and things that will need to be included in the forms you must complete. Having the following information handy will be beneficial to you while applying for Social Security Benefits.
Creating A Reference Folder. While your Social Security interviewer will provide you a list, you will want to have the following items on hand, both for the initial telephone conversation and personal interview, if required. You should put these items together before starting your initial application and to maintain copies of this information in a file with your Social Security Disability correspondence. You will be asked for this same information several different times during your application process. Click the tabs below to get specific lists about what your folder should include, including personal information about you, information about your work, and information about your medical care. The more organized you are the less stressful the process is apt to be.
Things to add to your SSD Folder
Information Pertinent to Your History
- Your date and place of birth and Social Security number
- The name, Social Security number and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse.
- You should also know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death (if appropriate)
- Names and dates of birth of your minor children
- Your bank or other financial institution's Routing Transit Number [more info] and the account number, if you want the benefits electronically deposited
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The Claims Process
Throughout the claims process, keep in mind that if you are granted Social Security disability, the payment formula is based on lifetime earnings and FICA taxes you have paid. Some factors that influence a determination of disability include your age, blindness, and illiteracy and/or higher education.
Starting the Process
You can apply online here: https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib.
Completing this application survey online triggers the Social Security Administration to make contact with you.
Set an appointment with an interviewer by calling the office nearest your home:
- Asheville: 866-572-8361
- Hendersonville: 866-964-5053
- Franklin: 866-562-0738
For your appointment, you will need a photo ID to gain access to the Social Security Administration building.
What Happens Next:
Once your initial interview has been completed, your claim for benefits is forwarded to Disability Determination Services and assigned to a claims examiner. The claims examiner:
- will obtain and review your medical records
- may schedule a disability examination with a Social Security retained physician
- will make a determination of disability based on a rigorous set of Social Security guidelines, which do not include claims examiner discretion of any kind
In most cases (as high as 90%) applicants will receive a denial of benefits, even when other medical professionals have assigned disability ratings. Upon receipt of your denial of benefits call David Gantt Law Office at 828-252-2852.
Timeframe for Application Phase: 3-6 months
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