Navigating the Complexities of Social Security Disability Applications

Many people face the inability to work at different times in their lives, sometimes because an accident or injury has left them disabled. At Bowden Cyr, PLLC, we help injury victims apply for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits in Minnesota. We also handle denials and appeals.

Call 612-254-6409 to discuss your eligibility for SSDI benefits with one of our qualified Woodbury lawyers.

Are You Eligible for SSDI Benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides assistance to people with disabilities, and possibly their family members, who meet certain criteria for receiving benefits. To avoid an initial denial of benefits or a denial upon appeal, it is important to build a claim for benefits that specifically addresses SSA requirements.

Social Security pays benefits only to people who cannot work because of a medical condition that is expected to last more than one year or result in death. In addition, two earnings requirements must be met to receive benefits: These are a "recent work" test, which is based on age at the time of disability, and a "duration of work" test, which determines if the disabled person worked long enough under Social Security.

The federal government reviews SSDI applications to ensure the work requirements are met and then sends applications to Disability Determination Services offices at the state level. State agents and doctors will evaluate a medical condition to determine if a personal injury qualifies as a disability. They will look at factors such as:

  • How the condition limits your activities
  • What medical tests have shown about the impairment
  • What treatment you have received
  • The severity of your condition
  • Whether you are working
  • Whether you can do the work you did before
  • Whether you can do any other type of work

In addition to ensuring that an application is complete and on point, it is important to apply for benefits as soon as possible after becoming disabled. The process to approve an application can take a long time, and you likely need your benefits to support yourself and your family.

How Can You Apply for Benefits?

You can apply for disability benefits online at the Social Security Administration website, by phone, or at any Social Security office. Be prepared to give the agent the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all doctors, hospitals, or clinics where you have received treatment for your condition; a list of all prescription medications you are currently taking or have taken for your condition; and the names of the doctors prescribing these drugs. You will also need to give the names and addresses of all previous employers for the past 15 years.

Understanding the Denials and Appeals Process

If your SSDI claim is denied, you have the right to appeal. The first step in the appeals process is submitting a request for reconsideration, which you have 60 days to file after receiving a denial notice. A second denial is common at the reconsideration stage.

The next step is to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ hearing is where most disability claims are won, and it is your first opportunity to really make your case directly to a decision-maker. Unfortunately, it currently takes about 18 months to get an ALJ hearing, which is yet another reason to apply for SSDI as soon as possible.

If the administrative law judge denies your claim, you may continue with the appeals process if appropriate. You can appeal to the Appeals Council, which is still within the SSA, and if you are denied by the Appeals Council, you may file a civil action in U.S. District Court. A Social Security Disability claim can go all the way to the Supreme Court.

We have experience handling SSDI denials and appeals and have helped many clients receive benefits after initial denials.

Contact Us for Help Pursuing SSDI Benefits

If you or a family member have suffered an accident or injury, our attorneys can assist you in every aspect of recovery, from handling claims against insurance companies and at-fault parties to helping you receive Social Security Disability benefits from the federal government. For a free initial consultation to discuss your unique situation, please call 612-254-6409. You may also schedule your appointment online.