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How To Apply For Disability Insurance

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How to file a Disability Insurance claim Using SDI Online.

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How To Apply For Long Term Disability Benefits

This article was written by Jennifer Mueller, JD. Jennifer Mueller is an in-house legal expert at wikiHow. Jennifer reviews, fact-checks, and evaluates wikiHow’s legal content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. She received her JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 18,857 times.

If you have become disabled and can no longer work, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits. Private insurers and the federal government typically define long-term disability as one your doctors believe will last a year or longer, or will be fatal. Because it can take months before your application is approved and you start receiving benefits, you should apply for long-term disability benefits as soon as possible after your doctor diagnoses your disability and confirms your inability to work.XTrustworthy SourceUS Social Security AdministrationIndependent U.S. government agency that administers Social Security and related informationGo to source

How Much Work Do You Need

In addition to meeting our definition of disability, you must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits.

Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits each year.

The amount needed for a work credit changes from year to year. In 2021, for example, you earn one credit for each $1,470 in wages or self-employment income. When youve earned $5,880, youve earned your four credits for the year.

The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.

For more information on whether you qualify, refer to How You Earn Credits.

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Determine When The Waiting Period Ends

All long-term disability plans have something called a waiting period. You can only qualify for long-term disability benefits if you are off work for an extended time. The waiting period is simply the length of time you must be off work for your disability to be considered long term. This is in contrast to a short-term or temporary disability.

There is no standard length for a waiting period. It can be different from plan to plan and can range from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. The majority of long-term disability plans fall in the 17- to 22-week range. Your waiting period will be set out in your insurance policy or group benefits booklet.

You can start your application before the waiting period ends. You want to apply early so your benefits can be approved and start immediately once the waiting period ends. The benefits administrator needs time to process your application. This can take 4 weeks or more. If you wait until the waiting period ends, then there could be a delay until your payments actually start. The delay may be a month or more. So, we recommend starting your application at least 4 weeks before the waiting period is over.

Apply Using A Paper Application

FREE 8+ Sample Disability Application Forms in PDF

If you are applying by paper, you must complete 1 of the following forms that applies to your situation:

Please mail the form to us or drop it off at a Service Canada office.

Information on completing the application form

  • Read all instructions, which include steps for completing your application, changes that may affect your benefits, an address page, a checklist and other information about disability benefits
  • Write/type your Social Insurance Number at the top of each page in the form and sign all areas that require your signature
  • If you are a parent or guardian, you can request the child-rearing provision and the children’s benefit
  • If you are unable to fill out the forms, a family member or a friend can help you. Make sure that you sign where necessary
  • Keep photocopies of everything you submit. If you call us, write down the name of the person you speak to and the date and time of your conversation. Keep all the information in one place

If someone is helping you with your application

You must provide consent for someone to help you with your application. You can do this 2 ways:

  • through your My Service Canada Account
  • This does not give the person helping you authority to:

    • submit your application
    • apply for benefits on your behalf
    • change your payment address
    • request or change the withholding of tax for you

    If you need to apply or act on someone’s behalf

    If someone cannot manage their own affairs, another person or agency may act on their behalf.

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    Apply For Benefits Online

    You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. Follow these easy steps to apply online for disability:

    • To start your application, go to our Apply for Benefits page, and read and agree to the Terms of Service. Click Next.
    • On that page, review the Getting Ready section to make sure you have the information you need to apply.
    • Select Start A New Application.
    • We will ask a few questions about who is filling out the application.
    • You will then sign into your mySocial Security account, or you will be prompted to create one.
    • Complete the application.

    You can use the online application to apply for disability benefits if you:

    • Are age 18 or older.
    • Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.
    • Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death and
    • Have not been denied for disability in the last 60 days.
    • Note: If your application was recently denied, our application is a starting point to request a review of the determination we made.

    You may be able to file online for SSI at the same time that you file for SSDI benefits. Once you complete the online process above, a Social Security representative will contact you if we need additional information.

    What Can I Expect At My Hearing With The Administrative Law Judge

    Having an attorney represent you at this level is a very, very good idea. An attorney who has handled many disability cases before an administrative law judge will know what issues to focus on and what sort of evidence is needed to win your case. With most hearings, you will only have about one hour to persuade the judge you are disabled. Do not expect the judge to tell you at the hearing what their decision will be. This rarely happens. On average, you can expect to wait about two to three months before receiving the judges decision.

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    Wait For A Decision On Your Claim

    Once you have submitted your application and fulfilled any further requests for information, you just have to wait for the claims representative to make a decision. They will either approve or deny your claim. Normally it takes up to 30 days for the claim representative to make this decision, but it can take longer in some cases. If you have been waiting months for a decision, something strange is going on and you should take the appropriate steps to get to the bottom of it.

    Consult A Disability Insurance Lawyer

    How to Apply for Disability Benefits with Lincoln Financial

    Many claimants hold off on consulting a lawyer, assuming that they can handle their application on their own. At Bryant Legal Group, we meet many of these claimants after theyve been denied, and we often find they made mistakes that we could have helped them avoid.

    Knowledge is power. We always suggest you meet with an experienced disability insurance lawyer early on in your claim. That way, youll understand the laws that impact your eligibility for benefits, the procedures you have to follow, and your likelihood of success. And even if you decide to handle your short-term disability application on your own, youll know where to turn if you need help with an appeal.

    RELATED: 5 Essential Questions You Should Ask a Disability Insurance Lawyer

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    Fact: Ssdi Is Designed To Be A Long

    You can apply only if the disability is expected to be long-term 12 months or longer or if the condition is so severe that its viewed as terminal. The program is meant for those with the most severe impairments in the country, Jarrett says.

    Other private programs pay out for short-term or partial disability, but Social Security disability insurance does not. Yet some states may award temporary funds to people who cant work because of illness not caused by work. You can contact your states Department of Labor to see if you quality for temporary disability benefits.

    Disability Application Starter Kit

    To assist you in creating your application, Social Security has developed a Disability Starter Kit that provides information about the documents and information that you will be requested to provide. Because an application can be complicated and lengthy, this is a good place to start and to keep you organized. The kit also explains how Social Securitys disability programs work and what decision-making processes are used to determine your eligibility.

    Social Security offers two kits, one for adults and another for children. The adult Disability Starter Kit can be found here. And the child Disability Starter Kit can be found here.

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    How Long Does It Take

    It usually takes five months for the SSA to approve a Social Security Disability claim. If you waited more than that amount of time for your disability claim to be processed, you are entitled to receive back pay. This would be paid to you as a lump sum of the total amount of monthly disability benefits you would have received if your payments had begun after five months. If you have questions on how this process works, an attorney experienced with SSDI claims can give you the information you need.

    The Basics About Disability Benefits

    Download Application For Disability Insurance Benefits for ...

    The SSDI program pays benefits to you and certain if you are insured. This means that you worked long enough and recently enough – and paid Social Security taxes on your earnings. The program pays benefits to adults and children with disabilities who have limited income and resources.

    While these two programs are different, the medical requirements are the same. If you meet the non-medical requirements, monthly benefits are paid if you have a medical condition expected to last at least one year or result in death.

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    Does Illinois Law Apply To My Short

    If you have a privately purchased short-term disability policy, Illinois law will govern your claim. In that case, if the insurance company denies your benefits, you can immediately file a lawsuit and request a jury trial.

    However, many short-term disability claims are covered by ERISA . This is a federal law that applies to most employer-sponsored disability insurance plans, and it has its own specific rules and procedures. If you have an ERISA plan, youll need to submit an administrative appeal before filing your lawsuit in federal court.

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    What Counts As Disability

    Any time your doctor certifies that you cannot do your job, you are disabled in the eyes of EDD. You don’t have to be unable to do any type of work, you just have to be unable to do the regular and customary duties of your job.

    Pregnancy. You can generally receive SDI two to four weeks before you are due to give childbirth and for four weeks after your child is born .

    Elective surgery. Recovery from elective and cosmetic surgeries is covered by SDI, as long as your doctor certifies that you are disabled.

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    Other Ways You Can Apply

    Apply With Your Local Office

    You can do most of your business with Social Security online. If you cannot use these online services, your local Social Security office can help you apply. Although our offices are closed to the public, employees from those offices are assisting people by telephone. You can find the phone number for your local office by using our Office Locator and looking under Social Security Office Information. The toll-free Office number is your local office.

    Apply By Phone

    If You Do Not Live in the U.S. Or One of Its Territories

    Contact the if you live outside the U.S. or a U.S. territory and wish to apply for retirement benefits.

    Mailing Your Documents

    If you mail any documents to us, you must include the Social Security number so that we can match them with the correct application. Do not write anything on the original documents. Please write the Social Security number on a separate sheet of paper and include it in the mailing envelope along with the documents.

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    Myth: Why Bother Ill Just Be Denied

    Not true for everyone, says William Jarrett, a spokesperson for the Social Security Administration. While Jarrett says standards are strict, and the process is rigorous, the SSA wants to be certain the person is truly disabled and unable to work. And the rejection rate is high, he says.

    The allowance rates for disability claims in fiscal year 2013, the most recent data available, was around 33 percent, he says. That means 33 percent of the applications received in fiscal year 2013 were approved.

    In my experience, people rarely get it the first time they apply, says Melissa Proudian, an attorney in Fresno, California, whose primary focus is on Social Security disability cases. But if youre denied the first time around, you can appeal.

    And if the administration determines that you have a true, severe disability, they pay out.

    Wait For The Insurance Companys Decision

    The final step in applying for long-term disability is to wait for the insurance companys decision. The representative may tell you over the phone, but usually, you will get an email or letter. It usually takes 30 to 60 days to get a decision. However, it can take longer if the employer or medical form gets delayed, or if you are delayed in filling the insurance companys other requests for information.

    If the insurance company approves your application, make sure to read the letter carefully. Sometimes, it may only be a temporary approval. Sometimes, approval is conditional. You might need to get them other outstanding information by a deadline.

    If the insurance company denies your application, then you have the right to ask them to reconsider. This is called doing an appeal. I strongly recommend you consult with us or another disability law firm before going ahead with your appeal. Each appeal needs to be done strategically in order to maximize your chances of success. The right approach for you will be different from what others should do. This is because no two situations are exactly the same.

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    Benefits For People With Disabilities

    The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.

    Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are insured, meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.

    pays benefits based on financial need.

    When you apply for either program, we will collect medical and other information from you and make a decision about whether or not you meet Social Securitys definition of disability. Periodically, we will need updated information about your condition. You may receive a Disability Update Report . This form can now be completed online.

    Use the Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool to find out which programs may be able to pay you benefits.

    If your application has recently been denied, the Internet Appeal is a starting point to request a review of our decision about your eligibility for disability benefits.

    If your application is denied for:

    The Right Attorney Can Save You Valuable Time

    Download Instructions for Form SSA

    Regrettably, the SSDI appeals process can take anywhere from six months to two years, or longer. Rest assured, Jackson Law Firm, PLLC offers the steadfast legal guidance you deserve for as long as it takes to process or appeal your disability claim.

    Once your application for disability benefits is granted, we can deliver the vigorous advocacy required to garner all the Social Security benefits you are entitled to, including financial assistance for applicable family members and the maximum amount of back pay possible in your case.

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