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Income at Risk: Unemployment Skyrockets for Those with Disabilities, Reports Allsup
Date:10/19/2009

pending at the hearing level, with an average wait time of 491 days.

"Applying for SSDI is not a quick or easy experience," said Gada. "It's important for people to learn if they meet the criteria and apply as early as possible, with hopes of reducing their wait to begin receiving monthly SSDI benefits."

Applying for SSDI Benefits

Eligibility for SSDI is determined by the SSA. Generally, applicants are considered disabled by the SSA if:

 
  • They cannot do the work they did previously;
  • They cannot do other work because of their disability; and
  • Their disability has lasted or is expected to last at least one year, or result in death.
To qualify for SSDI, a person also must have worked and paid into the program (via FICA payroll taxes) for five of the last 10 years and be under full retirement age (65-67).

Applying for SSDI benefits involves an extensive amount of paperwork, Gada said. This includes completing an initial application and, in most instances, a detailed activities of daily living questionnaire. This requires detail on the person's work history and how the disability affects day-to-day activities. A doctor must verify information and additional medical exams may be required if there is not enough information to make a decision.

Only 35 percent of initial applications are approved on average, requiring those who are denied to apply for reconsideration and ad
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