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SSA Disability - Who wins SSDI benefits quickest?

If you are disabled and have not been able to work and if your condition is so severe that it is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months you may be considering filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Unfortunately, the most common misconception that I have found over the years is that SSDI is like SSA retirement: it is a guaranteed benefit that a claimant will receive as soon as they need it. This assumption is incorrect. SSDI is more like an insurance policy. Workers pay “premiums” (contributions paid through employment taxes) and if you are no longer able to work the Social Security Administration will determine if you are truly disabled, according to their definition, and if they determine you are they will give you SSDI.

What most claimants find is that they have to wait weeks, months or years before they may be awarded SSDI benefits. Other claimants are never awarded SSDI benefits. Waiting is the most difficult part of the disability process, and many claimants who did not anticipate the wait may find themselves in dire straits before the process is completed.

How do I improve my chances of winning SSDI?

There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you will not be denied. First, understand the SSDI process.

  1. Check to see if you have sufficient work credits.

  2. Make sure your condition is severe.

  3. Do not work more or make more than you are allowed to make while you are applying.

  4. Make sure your condition will last 12 continuous months.

  5. Make sure you have adequate medical records to prove you cannot work.

  6. Review what conditions and symptoms the SSA considers automatically disabling.

Now, if you have done all of the above you may also want to review information about which claimants are immediately approved and which ones may have to fight for months to win benefits.

Which claimants win benefits immediately?

The first thing I tell all SSDI applicants is to review the SSA Listing of Impairments. This listing contains a number of conditions and symptoms that the SSA considers automatically disabling. Review the list, find your condition and then make sure that your medical records contain information about your symptoms. If your condition and symptoms “meet or exceed a listing” and you meet all of the nonmedical requirements of SSDI, than you will be approved for benefits immediately.

The SSA also has a listing called the Compassionate Allowance list. This is also a list of conditions that the SSA will consider automatically disabling. If you have a condition on this list you will also immediately win SSDI benefits (assuming you meet the nonmedical requirements of the SSDI program).

What is the worst thing you can do? Avoid the doctor, have no recent medical records, not understand the process or what you have to do to win benefits and keep applying over and over again without understanding what you will need to do to win your SSDI case.
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