As many Missouri residents may be aware, there are set guidelines that the Social Security Administration uses to determine whether an individual is eligible to obtain Social Security disability benefits. These guidelines require a representative from SSA to interview a potential beneficiary and, based on that representative's typically hour long interaction, the applicant's request for benefits are either granted or denied.
First, an applicant needs to understand how the SSA determines disability. Two basic criteria are considered: the applicant must be unable to do substantial work because of his or her injury and the medical condition must have lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or will result in death.
An important point to remember is that a doctor's certificate indicating a disability is not enough to obtain Social Security disability benefits. In all cases, certification by a Social Security representative is mandatory.
After the interview, it will typically take the SSA three to five months to reach a decision. However, the exact time to reach a decision greatly depends on how quickly and meticulously an applicant submits all necessary documentation.
The decision-making process usually involves an investigation by the state agency into a person's medical history. If necessary, the state can request that an applicant undergo a medical test or examination to acquire additional information before the decision is made. The applicant does not need to pay for any state-recommended medical test of examination.
If the SSA decides that an applicant is disabled and is in need of assistance, that applicant can draw SSD benefits in two ways: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. While SSDI is meant for insured workers or their disabled spouses and children, SSI is meant for people whose income levels are very low.
Source: SSA.gov, "What You Should Know Before You Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits," accessed on Sept. 18, 2014