Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) is a Federal insurance program administered by the United States government. The primary funding source is a payroll tax that all employers must deduct from a worker’s pay. The fund is managed by the Social Security Administration. SSD was created to provide income supplements to individuals who are determined to be physically unable to be employed. While SSD can be temporary, it usually is awarded on a permanent basis.

SSD is different from Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is also administered by the Social Security Administration, but SSI depends on the income level of the disabled person receiving it. Therefore, most SSI eligible individuals are below an income threshold that triggers their eligibility. SSD, on the other hand, does not depend on an individual’s income level, but only his or her level of disability.

In order to obtain SSD, a proper application must be completed, and medical documentation must be submitted. We at Collins & Collins have been handling Social Security disability cases for our clients for over 40 years. It can be a confusing process that takes some time and effort if you choose not to retain an attorney. Although an attorney is not required to apply for Social Security Disability, we strongly recommend that you engage the services of an attorney who is experienced in Social Security issues.

According to the Social Security Administration, an individual eligible for SSI must have a physical or mental condition that prevents him or her from engaging in any “substantial gainful activity.” In addition, that physical or mental condition must be expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. A recipient of SSD must be under the age of 65 and, generally, must have accumulated 20 Social Security credits in the last 10 years before the onset of the disability. These credits are calculated according to the number of years in the work force.

An applicant for SSD must provide medical evidence to document his or her claim. Very often we will use the findings of a client’s treating physician. Essentially, the treating physician must conclude that an individual is prevented from engaging in any substantial gainful activity. The Social Security Administration may also require the applicant to visit third-party physician for a medical examination. Sometimes, although rarely, we are able to obtain SSD based upon an initial application. More often, however, there will be an initial denial and then an appeal process that involves a hearing conducted before an Administrative Law Judge. During this hearing, we will argue for your rights to the benefits you have paid for. We have the right to call witnesses on your behalf and introduce all relevant evidence in support of your claim. If you, or someone you know, is thinking about applying for SSD or SSI, please us a call. We would be honored to help.