Helping You Understand The Social Security Disability Process

It can be overwhelming to find out that you just cannot work with your current mental or medical health condition. In an ideal world, it would take one form and one visit to confirm that you need help to pay bills and stay afloat. The truth is, the Social Security Disability (SSD) process is often not straightforward and can take time. The good news is, by working with a professional who knows the process and nuances, your chances for an approved claim improve and the process may be smoother.

I am California SSD attorney Cory DeLellis. My team and I are committed to helping you have a smooth and successful SSD application. We know you want to move forward with your life. We are here to help you every step of the way.

What You Need To Know About The Process

There are many things that a seasoned SSD attorney knows about the process, pitfalls, and correct wording and documentation. Here are a few of the most common issues people have when applying for SSD and how to avoid them:

  • The process typically takes months. Different states have longer wait times. In California, the process can take longer, between 18 months and three years.
  • Your condition must prevent you from earning the substantial gainful activity (SGA) amount.
  • You must not have been able to earn this amount while doing past work or current work for at least a year (12 months).
  • The SGA is a monthly amount set by the government. It is the amount a person needs to be “self-supporting.”
  • If you work part time but earn a high wage, you may surpass the SGA threshold.
  • Your past 15 years of working are reviewed by the claims representative.
  • The majority of first applications are denied. Between 80% and 90% of all appeals are denied.
  • If your employer provides you with special considerations these will be verified by the Social Security representative.
  • If you have a terminal illness then your application can go through the TERI process. This takes 30 days or less, usually.

In short, to qualify for SSD, which is a federal process, you must have a severe condition (mental or physical) that prevents you from working most of the time for at least a year (12 consecutive months). There are considerations that may qualify you for a faster process, such as the compassionate allowance process. This process is for people who are not terminal but who need immediate assistance.

The No.1 Mistake Applicants Make

The biggest mistake applicants make is not getting treatment for their injury/ongoing health issue. If you have a mental health issue or a physical impairment that prevents you from working, the best thing you can do is see a medical professional and get documentation of the issue. If you do not have documentation, it is likely your application will be denied. You will also want to continue treatment as any gap in treatment can lead Social Security reviewers to think your condition is improving. If your condition improves significantly, this would mean you are able to work. The thing to remember is that an application can be denied once, twice or three times, and still get approval if you stick with the process. We can also help you understand the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) process.

Applying Before And After Age 50

If you are under 50 years old, the application process may be a bit more challenging. Why? Because you have to show that there is not ANY job that you can do. This can be difficult. However, any physical or mental health problem may make you eligible for SSD benefits.

The pandemic caused mental health issues such as depression and anxiety to skyrocket. Either of these may qualify you for SSD benefits if they are disabling and prevent you from being able to work enough to provide for yourself.

After age 50, different rules apply to make your claim easier to get approved or to appeal. After retirement age, full benefits come into play.

Let’s Find Out What Your Application Needs