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Applying for SSDI what do I need to know?

Get information before applying for SSDI


If you no longer can work due to a severe health condition which will last at least 12 continuous months you may be ready to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Recently on our disability forum we had a user ask, “What do I need to know before applying for SSDI?”



The great news is this SSDI applicant who is asking this question is already ahead of thousands of other disability applicants because they have the self-awareness to ask this question. This blog will address five things you should know BEFORE you apply for disability benefits.

1.       Not everyone applying for SSDI will win SSDI benefits

Many applicants are surprised to find that getting SSDI is not as simple as filling out a few forms, applying for SSDI and sitting back and letting the money roll in. Up to 75% of first time applicants are denied SSDI or SSI benefits the first time they apply and may have to appeal their denial to finally win benefits.

2.       It will be tough to win SSDI without great medical care.

The first thing to do before applying for SSDI is to go to the doctor. Talk to them about your plan to apply for benefits and find out what they have to say. They do not have to provide a written note or state that you are disabled but if they do not think you are disabled or that you can work and this information is put into your medical records this can hurt your case. Also talk to them about the tests you will need to take to prove you do not have the ability to work.

3.       You will not win SSDI without sufficient work credits so find out if you are insured.

If you have not worked enough or recently enough and paid employment taxes it will not matter how disabled you are, you will not be approved for SSDI because you will not have enough work credits to be considered insured. You cannot “borrow” work credits from a spouse or purchase work credits. Talk to the SSA BEFORE you do anything else to find out if you are insured for SSDI benefits.

If you are not sure if you have enough work credits contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. They also have a prescreening tool called BEST that you can use online to determine if you meet the most basic nonmedical requirements for SSDI.

4.       Don’t sit back after applying for SSDI and wait for the Social Security Administration to do all of the work.

The biggest mistake SSDI applicants make is waiting for the SSA to do all the work. The SSA has over 3 million disability applicants they deal with each year. If you wait for them to call you, for them to send you forms, for them to tell you what they need to process your case you could be waiting months to get disability benefits. Be proactive.

5.       Talk to a disability lawyer about applying for SSDI


Many applicants ask why they need a lawyer to get what they deserve. First, you don’t deserve anything. SSDI is not an entitlement program. The good news is you might not need a lawyer, but if you do, don’t sit around complaining about it, just find the best one you can to help you with your case.
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