5 questions about applying for disability benefits

(BPT) – Age and chronic illness can take a toll. A June 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that the most costly health conditions in the U.S. include: heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke and type 2 diabetes. An estimated 117 million people have one or more chronic health conditions.

These health issues also place in the top 10 conditions of former workers who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

Social Security disability is an important alternative for former workers who can no longer work because of a severe health condition. In fact, the average SSDI recipient worked 22 years before they experienced a life-changing disability.

‘More people are living with chronic illness, and many people do OK with treatment and rehabilitation,’ said Mike Stein, assistant vice president of Allsup, a disability benefits representation organization. ‘But other people have to stop working when their health just won’t let them continue.’

About 154 million workers have paid FICA taxes and have disability insurance coverage through the SSDI program. If you know someone who may qualify, check out the Refer a Friend program. Following are answers to the top five common questions about applying for disability benefits.

1) Who applies for disability benefits? People who have experienced a work-disrupting severe health condition that will last for 12 months or longer, or is terminal. They may have a health condition, such as arthritis, a severe spinal condition, cancer, or have experienced a stroke or car accident. On average, former worker recipients are 54 years old. Last year, about 2.3 million former workers with disabilities applied for disability benefits.

2) When should I apply for disability benefits? Generally, you should apply when you cannot work because of your health condition. As soon as you have to stop working, it makes sense to apply for Social Security disability benefits if you have solid medical evidence. If you are uncertain of when to apply, you can find help from a disability representation organization that provides free assessments of your likelihood of qualifying for the program.

3) Why should I apply for disability benefits? Most people apply for disability benefits because they need the monthly income. Plus, there are several additional benefits. You can get extra dependent benefits if you have a child under 18. You can get Medicare after 24 months of receiving cash SSDI benefits. You also protect your retirement benefits, and you can receive incentives to return to work. ‘It’s important not to give up on the idea of returning to work, eventually, because it’s much better for your finances in the long run,’ Stein said.

4) How do I apply for disability benefits? Much like filing taxes, you have different options when applying for disability benefits. You can try it on your own, or enlist the help of a professional representative who understands what the Social Security Administration needs to process your claim. Most people who apply on their own are denied at the application level, and must appeal. Having a representative early in the process can improve your chances of approval and help ensure your application is completed properly. Most people have a representative for their hearing.

5) How much money will I receive? Your monthly benefit will be calculated based on your past work earnings and the amount of FICA taxes you paid on those earnings. You can find online calculators that will help you get an estimate of what you can expect to receive before you apply for SSDI.

Unfortunately, it may take a long time to receive benefits because the Social Security disability program has stringent rules and several steps in the claim review process.

‘Many people make the mistake of waiting to apply for disability,’ Stein explained. ‘They deplete their savings, they borrow from their 401(k) plan, and they make other big sacrifices – before they apply for disability benefits. It makes it that much harder when they have to wait months or even years for Social Security to review their claim.’

An important consideration is applying for disability with a representative, Stein said. ‘If you can receive disability benefits at the very beginning, with your application – you can save yourself many months of time for appeals and possibly avoid a hearing on your disability claim.’

For more information about Social Security disability eligibility and applying for disability benefits, visit

Brandpoint – Free Online Content

* What steps can you take to greatly improve your chances of winning your Social Security disability benefits? After representing hundreds of clients over the past 25+ years, here are my 7 essential tips that will improve the likelihood that you will be approved for SSDI or SSI disability.

In this video I offer the same advice that I give to my law firm clients and to friends or relatives who want to know how the system really works. I hope you find my suggestions helpful.

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    • John Tripp
    • November 20, 2017


    • November 20, 2017

    you need only two thing no lawyer and be 100 % disability that the winner crazy people stop saying you are

    • Katie Lawson
    • November 20, 2017

    I'm in the process of wrapping up my first SOAR claim and I found this video extremely helpful!

    • george johnson
    • November 20, 2017

    Vaccines are the reason for all these autistic kids and other learning disabilities, the drug companies are in bed with the government, pharma drugs make everything worse, you should quit telling people to take them. 20 veterans commit suicide everyday and its because of the pysch drugs, what the hell does some stupid judge know. Check out videos by Dr.John Bergman to learn more.

    • Enzoy Richardson
    • November 20, 2017

    Thank you for this gift

    • michele lira
    • November 20, 2017

    is congested heart failure a disability

    • Rhonda Taylor
    • November 20, 2017

    Benjamin this country

    • benjamin massie
    • November 20, 2017

    so why can some people be on disability and work,and have someone trying to get on disability and try to work and be denied for trying

    • Bobbie
    • November 20, 2017

    Thank you for the videos. I go to my Appeal Hearing on August 7th.

    • wilmar han
    • November 20, 2017

    What if a 53 year old person has medical documentation of his/her disabilities 40% but kept it a secret from their employer because he/she didn't want to get fired and wind up homeless. This person has had excellent attendance up until now. This persons health condition has now worsened. This person also knows it's time to throw in the towel and apply for Disability. If this person would tell their employer the whole truth they would be most likely be fired. This person also has a CDL license and If He/she told the Examining Doctor at their next annual DOT Physical (which is in a week or two) their condition they would lose their CDL license. This person would then be terminated from employment. Would it be better to let the DOT Examining Doctor say that this person is not fit to drive then go to see the Voc Rehab for Adults Dept, show them all their Medical Documentation and see if they will say this person should apply for Disability? I was wondering what they best course of action would be. Do you have any advice or comments for this person?

    • new2
    • November 20, 2017

    Do not expect Social Security to be fair and honest……even when their own rules state you are disabiled… grid rule is 202.06…..age 57…… which states a finding of disabiled….but they will send out a generic letter saying… do not meet our definition of disability…..they DO NOT mention any rule numbers…..but in 2 years you can go to their ALJ….of their picking… you look up all ALJs in your county….we have 18…. in my county….most have approval ratings of 40--65 % but there is 1 at 21% …..guess which one was assigned to my case…..thats right… Coinsidence…..?…..when you see the ALJ….it becomes quite clear…..when you spend most of court time defending yourself of false allegations….that are not true….its been over 6 months…..since ALJ hearing….and still haven't heard anything….even their own rules say…..if grid rule states disabiled…..the ALJ and V.E. cant over ride the grid rule….so we will see….if there is DUE PROCESS….

    • miss lilkev
    • November 20, 2017

    Thank you!!!

    • Memphis Dontbeasnowflake
    • November 20, 2017

    Thank you for the videos I have watched them and they were very informative. I was approved for my disability after five years. The most important thing is to be honest just answer the questions and don't offer any information. The last question I was asked, was if I needed to go to the store, could I drive? My answer was yes, because that was the truth. No I do not drive on a regular basis, but the judge knew that if I had to I could drive. These judges a very intelligent for the most part so when you do answer make sure that you are looking at the judge and just be honest.

    • Twisted Gift
    • November 20, 2017

    I am about to embark on my case. I should've stayed on SSI from back when I was 18. My first goal is to get diagnosed again. Unfortunately, I have had no medical records beyond a few scattered far between. That is my biggest issue. I know I suffer from manic depression, borderline bipolar. I am agoraphobic to an exhausting degree. I am almost constantly stressed about my life.

    As far as proving I'm a fight, I've fought with my demons for 15 years trying to avoid taking this path. Unfortunately, I just cannot maintain relationships whether personal or professional. I could never fit in anywhere. My longest employment was for 1 year but that stretch was broken up by 2 months after I quit one Pizza Hut and then later found a job at another Pizza Hut. Most of my jobs, about 90%, were less than a month. 75% of that was shorter than a week.

    Even my personal relationships have suffered from my conditions. My longest was 7 years in a hollow excuse of a relationship. My current relationship has spanned 4 long years. Its drawing to a close I suspect. In most cases beyond these 2, most other relationships lasted 3-6 months because most people just have a hard time stomaching me.

    My issues have gotten so severe that I literally feel like I don't have a soul. I'm numb to most everything that should make me passionate. I can't feel love, joy or happiness. I'm beginning to think I may be a psychopath. I am extremely disassociated with this society. I don't know how to interact with others. Most times, I'd just honestly rather be alone.

    I won't claim to be entitled to disability benefits, but I also won't claim to be a capable worker either. I have tried for so long. I cannot be what society wants me to be. Between the anxiety attacks which can paralyze me, to the deep rooted depression that eats at me. Then there's the fact that I seem to be incapable of feeling any of these "good" emotions. Even grief is beyond me. My second son died many years ago, yet I have not been able to mourn him. I know it seems like I'm a monster but I just can't feel it.

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