The United Labor Agency assists clients in filling out online and paper applications pertaining to:
- Social Security Disability (SSD)
- Social Security Income (SSI)
Filing for Disability – What You Need To Know:
The State of Connecticut typically approves one third (30%) of all disability applications submitted; these statistics fluctuate from year to year, but have remained fairly consistent for the last two decades. A denial means that a claimant will need follow up with an appeal and go through that process in order to ultimately win disability benefits.
All SSI and SSD claims, as well as, concurrent claims, begin with filing an initial claim or application either online or through a local Social Security Office. Please note the following:
- An SSD claim cannot be filed online.
- The online process does not allow for a direct disability interview, meaning that the claimant is not able to ask questions regarding the application itself, the process of filing or the appeals process if claim is denied.
- Direct disability interviews also assists claimants by catching any mistakes made on the application.
- While the online application is more convenient, it is important to note that Social Security does allow for a person to file a claim through a local Social Security office and have their disability interview conducted over the phone. This is primarily done for applicants with mobility issues, transportation issues or would prefer to not have their interview done at the Social Security office.
Disability vs. SSI
Eligibility for SSD or SSI is determined by the local Social Security Office; determination is made as to which program the claimant is eligible to file under. Disability is intended for individuals who have worked long enough and have earned enough work credits that qualify for them to receive disability benefits, meeting medical requirements for disability, as well as, non-medical criteria.
Social Security Income is intended for applicants who have never worked or have not worked enough to have enough credits to be eligible for SSD, for people who have lost their insured status because they haven’t worked enough in recent years, or for people who are insured for SSD, but would only be entitled to receive a small benefit amount each month.
The last example is of concurrent claims, a person receiving both SSD and SSI. Amounts granted would be the minimum each program could award, but not surpassing maximum benefits that a person receiving only SSI would receive.
Even if an applicant is eligible to receive SSI, or part of concurrent claim, for medical reasons, they will still need to meet the requirements for the non-medical portion of the application, which includes an asset limit.
For more information please visit the following website: https://www.ssa.gov/
Once a claim has been submitted, and a disability application interview is completed, your case will be transferred to a disability claim examiner at DDS (Disability Determination Services). From there the examiner will review all evidence included with your application. Please note, an examiner may request and schedule additional consultative medical examinations if additional evidence is required in order to make a decision on your claim; please note, the reason why these claims take so longer is because representatives and examiners are attempting to collect all pertinent medical information pertaining to your case – the more information you provide, the easier it is to review the claim. Decisions that are rendered by disability examiners may result in one of two types of approval:
- An approval based on a Social Security listing.
- An approval based on a medical vocation allowance.
A decision on disability application in the state of Connecticut typically takes anywhere from 90-120 days, which falls in line with the national average. Formal notification is sent to the claimant by mail.
If your application is denied you have the right to file a request for reconsideration. This is the first appeal that a claimant may file. However, please be aware that winning reconsideration levels are even less than the rates listed above for winning an initial claim. The process for reconsideration is nearly identical to the initial claims process. Reconsideration decisions for both SSI and SSD are typically made within 30-60 days.
If your initial claim in denied and you would like to file a reconsideration request you must contact Social Security immediately after receiving the notice of denial. The appeal period is 60 days, plus five days that is gifted by SSA to account for mailing delays. If you have legal representation by a disability attorney or a non-attorney representative, they should be the ones contacted initially so that they may file the appeal on your behalf.
Reconsideration denial rates are roughly 90%.
Requesting a Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
A claimant may request a disability hearing upon receiving denial at the reconsideration appeal level. The hearing request is to be submitted either by the claimant or their representative to the Social Security office where the claim was first started. Unlike filing for reconsideration, however, the case is transferred to the ODAR, the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, that has control for the area. Once the case has been transferred it takes a number of months before the claimant will receive a notification that a hearing has been scheduled. Because of the long interval between the conclusion of the reconsideration appeal and the holding of a disability hearing there is a chance that the case file will only have outdated medical records. Since Social Security requires the claimant to present medical evidence that is recent, not older than 90 days, it is the claimant’s, or their representative, to obtain and submit medical record updates. Among the gathering of said evidence, there should be a medical source statement from a physician who is familiar with the claimant or treats the claimant.