Applying for Disability Benefits (SSDI) Online in Pennsylvania
When a serious medical condition prevents you from working, the lack of income can lead to an incredibly stressful and frustrating financial situation. However, there may be good news: you could qualify to receive monthly disability benefits called Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, through the Social Security Administration.
These monthly SSDI payments range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, which you can use to help cover the costs of groceries, utility bills, prescription medications, and other daily expenses. The average SSDI payment for 2015 is $1,165, while maximum payments can be as high as $2,663. However, you’ll need to submit an SSDI claim first.
In this article, our Philadelphia and Bucks County social security attorneys will explain the steps to applying for SSDI online, including basic eligibility requirements, issues that can disqualify you from consideration, and the documents you’ll need when you file.
To start exploring your options in a free and confidential legal consultation, call the law offices of Young, Marr & Associates at (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania today. We proudly serve residents of Pennsylvania.
SSA Requirements for Disability Benefits
Not all applicants will qualify to receive monthly SSDI benefits. Before your claim can be approved by the SSA, you’ll need to meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Your medical condition cannot be mild and easy to control: on the contrary, it must be considered severely disabling. If you can suppress or effectively manage your illness with treatment, the SSA medical examiners will not find that you are genuinely disabled — even if your doctor disagrees. Remember, the SSA’s objective is to ensure that benefits are awarded only to people who are unable to maintain consistent employment. If the SSA thinks you can work around your medical condition, your application will be rejected.
- If you are working, your monthly earnings must not exceed a certain limit. This limit is expressed as “SGA” or your “Substantial Gainful Activity.” The 2015 income limit for SSDI applicants is $1,090 per month. If you are able to earn more than this amount per month, the SSA will conclude that you are not truly disabled by your condition. However, there is a special exception for blind applicants, who are permitted earnings of up to $1,820 per month in 2015.
- Whatever it may be, your condition must be long-term. This means it must:
- Have lasted for one year (12 months).
- Be expected to last for at least one year (12 months).
- Be expected to result in death.
If you have an advanced terminal illness, or a rare disease which does not appear in the Listing of Impairments, your claim could be eligible for expedited processing. If you have a designated “Compassionate Allowances” condition, your application may be fast-tracked ahead of other, less urgent cases.
If you have a short-term injury or illness, such as a broken arm, you will probably have more success applying for worker’s compensation or other forms of assistance.
The requirements listed above apply to every SSDI applicant, with some exceptions for individuals with extremely severe conditions. However, there is also a second, more specific set of medical criteria, which vary depending on what sort of condition you have. In addition to meeting the general prerequisites supplied above, applicants must also either match or equal the medical requirements noted under the appropriate condition in the “Blue Book” or Listing of Impairments.
Submitting a Disability Claim Online
Do the following statements apply to you?
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You are not currently receiving benefits.
- You have not been rejected by the SSA during the past 60 days.
If all three of the above statements are true, you’re ready to start the application process. (If you have been denied during the past two months, ask our Pennsylvania disability lawyers about appealing the denial by requesting Reconsideration.)
But before you get started, take a moment to collect the data you’ll need to fill out your application. You’ll need the following information:
- Social Security Statement and SSN.
- Recent pay stubs and/or tax returns.
- Your routing number and bank account number.
- Up-to-date medical records, including the dates and descriptions of any surgeries, lab tests, etc. you may have undergone, as well as prescriptions you’re currently taking.
- Your doctor’s contact information. The SSA may need to contact him or her to request medical records and ask questions about your treatment history.
- Any extra information regarding divorce, military service, and other benefits you’ve received, such as worker’s compensation.
Once you’re prepared with all the documentation you need, navigate to the SSA’s secure application form, titled Apply Online for Disability Benefits. If this is your first time applying, select the option to “Start a New Application” and simply follow the prompts.
It can take some time to complete the application from start to finish, typically a minimum of one to two hours. However, you don’t have to finish your submission in a single sitting. To finish the application over the course of multiple sessions, just click on “Save” and come back whenever you have more time. If you’re returning to a partially completed submission, select the option to “Return to Saved Application Process” instead of the “Start a New Application” option.
The SSA should provide you with confirmation once your submission materials have been received. This is not an approval or denial of your actual claim.
Philadelphia + Bucks County Disability Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
If you need help filing for SSDI, or if your claim was denied and you’d like to begin the appeals process, our social security lawyers are ready to assist. To arrange for your free, private case evaluation, call Young, Marr & Associates right away at (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania.