You’ve paid into the system, and now you’re looking for the help they promised. While you may be in dire need of financial aid to get by with a disability, it’s not always so easy to get assistance.
The average award was just over $1,200 per month in 2018, according to the most recently reported data from the Social Security Administration (SSA). That’s a good chunk of help, but not everyone makes it through the Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) application process. Checking all the boxes can be crucial to getting the help you need, so you’ll want to know where many fall short.
Staking your claim
Putting together a successful application depends on more than filling out the right paperwork:
- Medical evidence: You need firm proof that you aren’t able to work, and that often comes in the form of medical records. Just because you’re seeing a doctor for pain, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed help. You may need to ask your physician to show that your disability explicitly interferes with your ability to perform your job.
- Lacking treatment: Tying your disability to your work is the start, not the finish. If your doctor has prescribed a path to recovery, then you’ll need to follow it. The SSA may not look kindly on your claim if you’ve stopped going to your appointments or you’re not taking your medication.
- Continuing work: The SSA is going to be suspicious if you’re still at work when you apply. Even if you need the income to stay afloat, it’s hard to also argue that you’re unable to work. And if you go over the acceptable levels of gainful activity, you might go over set limits for income that go along with SSDI.
It can be hard to get the help you need when you’re unable to work. Understanding what can take you out of the running is essential when much-needed benefits are on the line.