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SSDI get ready for a fight

Why do I have to fight for my SSDI benefits?

If you have been working, paying employment taxes and generating work credits for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) you might expect those benefits to be available if you do become disabled at some point in your work career. What many claimants do not realize is these benefits are not “entitlement” benefits and you may never qualify to receive them if you cannot convince the SSA that you are disabled and you cannot work. Recently on our disability forum we had a user ask, “Why do I have to fight for my SSDI benefits?”

When are you automatically approve for SSDI?

Claimants often view disability benefits like SSA retirement benefits. If they become disabled they go to the SSA website and three weeks later their check magically appears in their mailbox. Later claimants are often shocked to find out that up to 70% of first time applicants are denied SSDI benefits and others fight weeks, months or years to get their benefits. So what is going on? Why do you have to fight for your benefits?

You have to prove you meet the Requirements for SSDI

The first reason you have to fight for SSDI is you will have to meet the requirements of the SSDI program:

  1. You will have to prove your condition is severe.

  2. You will have to prove your condition is expected to last 12 continuous months.

  3. You will have to prove you are not working too much or making too much money.

  4. You will have to prove you are insured for SSDI benefits.

  5. You will have to prove you cannot retrain for new work.

But what if you feel like you meet all of those requirements? How can the SSA still deny your SSDI claim and expect you to hire a lawyer and fight through multiple denials?

As I mentioned above, SSDI is insurance, which means there are no guarantees. What if you feel like you meet the requirements listed above but you are still denied? The first thing to do is review whether your medical records actually support your case.

Often claimants do not see a doctor or they do not have good medical records. This hurts your case on several levels. First, you could be a very disabled but how would the Social Security Administration (SSA) know how severe your condition is? How are they going to determine whether or not you can work your current job or retrain for new work?

If you meet the nonmedical requirements for SSDI then the SSA will review your current medical records and determine your function capacity to work. If you don’t have any current medical records then the SSA will send you to a consultative examination. These examinations are notoriously short and generally don’t help you win your case.

Why do you have to fight?

Another reason you have to fight for SSDI is that over 3 million people apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) each year. This could be the biggest reason you will find yourself in a “battle.”

What can help you win benefits? The easiest way to win benefits is to make sure you understand the requirements for SSDI. If you don’t meet the nonmedical requirements then don’t bother applying. If you do, make sure your medical records support your claim you are disabled and get ready for the fight.
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