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Don’t make the 5 deadly mistakes that can destroy your Social Security disability case. Social Security disability is available to people in Illinois who have a medical impairment that restricts their ability to perform work. Benefits are provided through a federal insurance program that imposes strict requirements and regulations on disability applicants who file for monthly benefits.

Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability in Illinois?

In Illinois, any person who becomes disabled from illness or injury is permitted to file a disability claim for benefits either through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both federal programs are the largest programs that assist people with disabilities. The main difference between the SSDI program and the SSI program is eligibility for benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits, while Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits are available to low-income individuals who have previously worked or never worked.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Eligibility for SSDI is based on a person’s work history. The worker must accumulate a certain number of work credits and make payments towards Social Security taxes. The SSDI program is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons. Approved SSDI benefits are payable to disabled or blind workers under 65 years old, adults disabled since childhood, a worker’s spouse or widower, and a worker’s children.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Eligibility for SSI is based on financial needs rather than work history. Low-income people are eligible for SSI benefits whether they have a prior work history or no work history at all. The SSI program is financed through general tax revenues. To be eligible for SSI benefits, a person must be a United States citizen or national and have limited income and resources for living requirements. Approved SSI benefits are payable to low-income adults who are 65 years old or older, adults who are disabled or blind, and children who are disabled or blind.

Steps for Filing for Disability

The first step in applying for Social Security disability benefits is filing an application with the Social Security Administration (SSA). You can apply for disability benefits online, by phone, by mail, or in person at any Social Security field office in your area.

In Illinois, Social Security disability claims are handled by the Bureau of Disability Determination Services (DDS), the state department that makes the initial determinations about a claimant’s eligibility. When an application is submitted, DDS reviews the application and gathers the applicant’s medical information. Following a claim review, DDS may schedule a consultative examination (CE) for the applicant. This is a medical examination that’s performed by a licensed physician who’s hired by the Social Security Administration.

How a Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help You

According to statistics, more than 50% of disability claims are denied by the SSA due to common Social Security mistakes. The majority of disability claims are denied for the following reasons:

  • Incorrect or incomplete personal information
  • Incorrect or incomplete work history
  • Lack of medical history and medical records
  • Proof of other temporary or permanent benefits
  • Failure to follow medical advice
  • Failure to file a claim within the required time limit

It’s important to follow SSA guidelines to prevent mistakes in your application. Errors and omissions in required information, lack of proper medical history and records, and missed timeline requirements will slow down your claim or cause your claim to be denied. Working with a Chicago Social Security disability attorney who can oversee the filing process will make things easier and help your claim get approved for benefits. Your attorney can help you file your application, follow up with the SSA office on questions, and file an appeal if your claim is denied.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Disability

When filing an application for Social Security disability, pay close attention to the required information and the filing guidelines. Knowing how to fill out an SSDI application form will prevent errors and speed up the process. Most claims are denied due to general errors, lack of required information, and missed filing deadlines. Take a look at 5 deadly mistakes that can destroy your Social Security disability case.

Failing to Meet the Basic Eligibility Requirements

When you file an application for Social Security disability benefits, you must meet the basic eligibility requirements. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s strict definition of disability, as defined in the SSA list of medical conditions. SSDI benefits are not payable for part-time disability or short-term disability.

Inadequate Medical Documentation

Approval for SSDI benefits requires medical evidence showing an impairment that prevents the applicant from working. Medical records from a licensed physician showing a medical diagnosis due to the impairment, medical exams and treatments, prescription medications, and a prognosis for returning to work are required by the SSA.

Failing to Follow Treatment Plans

Medical records and treatment plans for improvement in your condition are essential for SSDI benefits. Failure to follow your doctor’s treatment plans will result in a denied SSDI claim. Not participating in medical treatment plans will indicate the possibility of a fraudulent claim and a lack of interest to improve and get back to work. SSA disability benefits are not meant to be permanent. They are paid to help through a recovery period, and they stop when work resumes.

Ineffective Communication With the Social Security Administration

During the application process for disability benefits, it’s important to stay in contact with the SSA. If you receive mail or phone calls asking for follow-up information, respond right away. Delayed communications will slow down the claim process, delay approval of benefits, and possibly cause Social Security payment errors.

Mishandling the Appeals Process

If your SSDI claim is denied by the SSA, you can file an appeal to request a reconsideration of your claim. To optimize the appeal process and get the best results for approval, get your guide to the SSDI appeal process before your appeal begins.

What Is the Appeals Process for Social Security Disability in Illinois?

Filing for Social Security disability in Illinois is often a complicated and lengthy process because of strict federal regulations imposed by the Social Security Administration. Whether you file a claim for SSDI or SSI benefits, a disability attorney with experience and knowledge of the Social Security system can increase your approval odds by handling your appeals process.

How Long Does the Appeals Process Typically Take?

If your disability claim is denied by the SSA, your disability attorney can file three different types of appeals to get the denied claim overturned and get your disability benefits approved. The appeals process can take up to 8 or 9 months, depending on how many appeals you file and the court’s availability to hear your case.

Request for Reconsideration

If your initial disability claim is denied, you will get a notice from the SSA. To file a written Request for Reconsideration, you must file within 65 days from the date on the notice. During this process, the SSA will require proof of your medical condition through medical records that show your disability impairment, medical exams and treatments, prescription medication, and hospital records if you were admitted for treatment.

Request for Administrative Legal Hearing

If your Request for Reconsideration is denied, you will get a second notice from the SSA. You will have 65 days from the date on this notice to request a hearing to be held before an administrative law judge (ALJ). These judges are hired by the SSA to conduct hearings for disability claims. During the hearing, the ALJ may call on medical or vocational experts to testify on pertinent matters in your case.

Request for Review by the Appeals Council

If your ALJ hearing is not favorable, you will receive another notice. At this point, you can file one more appeal for a Request for Review by the Appeals Council. You must file your appeal within 65 days from the date of the ALJ notice, but your chances for approval may be more difficult. These appeals are usually related to ALJ errors, ALJ decisions not supported by substantial evidence, and some type of abuse or discretion in the ALJ hearing process.

How to Increase Your Chances of Approval

When you file an appeal for denied Social Security disability benefits, working with a disability attorney can increase your chances of approval. The SSA will ask questions and require documented medical proof of your impairment. If your initial claim is denied, and you need to file an appeal, you need an experienced attorney on your side to deal with the court system.