Illinois Lawyer Referrals and Legal Guidance
SSDI and SSA Benefits Under Social Security
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The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers two programs that provide benefits based on disability: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
The SSDI provides for payment of disability benefits to individuals who are “insured.” To be “insured,” you must have paid Social Security tax on your earnings. You can also be considered “insured” when you are a disabled dependent of an insured individual. The SSI provides payments to individuals (including children under age 18) who are disabled and have limited income and resources.
Illinois social security lawyers typically handle SSDI benefit cases. This is mostly because these cases are more likely to be denied initially by the government and then reversed on appeal.
The SSA uses certain criteria to decide whether or not an individual is “disabled.” Disability for adults is defined as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
In other words, you have a disability when:
- You have lost your ability to go to work because you have a physical or mental impairment
- which has lasted for 12 months; or
- which can be expected to last for 12 months; or
- which can be expected to result in death; and
- The physical or mental impairment is “medically determinable.” An impairment that is medically determinable results from
- a. anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities, which can be
- b. shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.
Under the SSI program, a child under age 18 will be considered disabled if he or she “has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes clear and severe functional limitations, and that can be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
Most disability claims are initially processed through a network of local Social Security field offices and State agencies.
State Disability Determination Services (DDSs) are State agencies responsible for developing medical evidence and rendering the initial determination of whether the person seeking disability benefits is in fact disabled.
Usually, the DDS tries to obtain evidence from your own medical sources first. If that evidence is unavailable or insufficient to make a determination, the DDS will arrange for a consultative examination in order to obtain the additional information needed. Your doctor is the preferred source for the consultative examination; however, the DDS may also obtain the consultative examination from an independent source.
After the DDS evaluates your consultative exam, they will make their disability determination. The determination is made by a team consisting of a medical or psychological consultant and a disability examiner. If the team finds that additional evidence is still needed, the consultant or examiner may seek supplemental information.
If the DDS finds that you are disabled, the SSA will complete any outstanding non-disability development, compute the benefit amount, and begin paying benefits. If you are not found to be disabled, your file will be retained in case you decide to appeal.
Since 2001, we have helped tens of thousands of people who have legal problems, including countless who needed to be referred to a qualified Illinois social security lawyer. See for yourself why our users feel that our service is like having a lawyer in the family.