While nobody leaves their home assuming they are going to suffer a traumatic injury, an accident can happen at any time. Some people are involved in serious accidents on the way to work while other people might suffer an injury on the job. If you are injured, it might impact your ability to maintain gainful employment, which in turn might leave you wondering how you are going to provide for your family. That is where social security disability (SSD) benefits can be helpful.

There are a few common questions people often have about the social security disability process and benefits of receiving SSD. Here you’ll find the answers to those questions and more.

FAQs About Social Security Disability [Infographic]

In this infographic, you’ll find the short answers to our featured questions about social security disability. For more information on each subject, scroll past the infographic to learn more.

social security disability infographic

FAQs About Social Security Disability

How is a disability defined by the Social Security Administration?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a set of criteria to define a disability. In general, a disability is any injury that prevents someone from engaging in an activity that is otherwise required to maintain gainful employment. Furthermore, this disability must be expected to last for at least 12 months. Someone will be considered disabled if they cannot do the work they did before, cannot adjust to a new job, and will be disabled for a period of at least one year.

What documentation do I need to file for social security disability benefits?

Here are the documents you may need to provide in order to complete your application for social security disability benefits:

  • Your birth certificate or other proof of birth
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status
  • U.S. military discharge paper(s) if you served before 1968
  • Your W-2 and/or self-employment tax returns for last year
  • A completed Adult Disability Report
  • Your medical records, doctors’ reports, and recent medical test results
  • Any pay stubs, award letters, settlement agreements, or other proof of temporary or permanent workers’ compensation-type benefits that you have received

How long does it take to get my first social security check?

The amount of time it takes for someone to start receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration will vary from case to case. That said, it typically takes between 30 and 90 days to receive your initial decision from the SSA. If you have been denied, it is possible to file an appeal within 65 days of the denial. It will then take another 30 to 90 days to get a final decision from the Social Security Administration. Depending on your medical condition as well as the documentation provided, the process may take anywhere from one to three months.

When can I file for social security disability benefits?

There is a mandatory 5-month waiting period after your disability begins before you can start receiving social security benefits.

Why might an application for SSD benefits be denied?

There are a few reasons why an application for social security disability might be denied. Most commonly, you might be denied if you do not have enough medical documentation to support the disability claim, if you are not seeking treatment from a medical doctor, if your disability is not going to last for more than a year, or if your application was not completed correctly.

Individuals who have their initial application denied can file an appeal. On appeal, about one in six individuals will likely be successful in having the disability accepted. It can be helpful to work with a disability lawyer to boost your chances of having the appeal for social security disability benefits go through.

How much money will I get in social security benefits?

The amount of money you receive for your disability depends on several factors: your work history, the amount of income you received from your last job, and the current financial situations of everyone else in the household.

The average payment for social security disability insurance (SSDI) is $1,258 per month. These benefits are based on your average lifetime earnings, not on household income or the severity of your disability.

How long do social security disability benefits last?

The Social Security Administration assigns review schedules based on the likelihood of someone’s disability improving. Generally, disabilities that are expected to improve will be reviewed 6 to 18 months from the initial disability award. Moderate injuries might be reviewed a few years after the disability award. Cases where the disability is not expected to improve will be reviewed about seven years down the road.

What does “residual functional capacity” mean?

Your “residual functional capacity” is the maximum amount of work you can perform in spite of your disability.

How is my residual functional capacity determined?

A disability examiner will work with a medical consultant to complete a Residual Functional Capacity Assessment of your claim in order to determine your functional limitations and job restrictions. It can be helpful to have your own doctors fill out this form instead, given that they will be more familiar with your disability and medical history.

Should I work with a disability lawyer?

The process of applying for disability benefits can be challenging, but working with a team of experienced social security lawyers can significantly increase the chances of your application being successful. At Lawyer Friend® we are proud to help people who have been hurt or injured apply for the benefits they deserve. Our experienced team of social security lawyers has an unparalleled track record of success. We would be honored to guide you through the process of applying for disability benefits as well. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

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