Getting Social Security Disability Insurance in Minnesota Isn’t Easy
Disability can strike anyone, regardless of age, gender, or socio-economic status. It can happen suddenly, leaving you unable to work, pay bills, or care for yourself and your family.
Fortunately, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to help you get through these tough times – provided you can get it. Far too often, completely deserving people are denied disability because they do not understand how the system works and the nuances involved in filing a disability claim that is likely to be approved.
This is where Olson, Poole & Envall comes in. If you live in the Northland, you need to know how SSDI works and what your rights are under the law. Our experienced legal professionals have helped countless people just like you to obtain the SSDI benefits they need and deserve because they understand the ins and outs of social security disability insurance law.
If you are struggling with a disability, we can help – but you have to reach out first.
What Is SSDI and How Does It Work?
SSDI is a federal program designed to provide financial support for individuals who are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability. To qualify for SSDI, you must have worked for a certain number of years and paid into the Social Security system. You must also have a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disability.”
Once you apply for SSDI, your case will be reviewed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). If your application is approved, you will receive monthly benefits that are based on your past earnings. Your family members may also be eligible for benefits based on your SSDI claim.
What Are the Requirements for SSDI in the Northland?
To qualify for SSDI in Minnesota, you must first have a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. This means that your disability must be severe enough to prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least 12 months. Your disability must also be expected to result in death or last for a continuous period of 12 months or more.
In addition to meeting the medical requirements, you must also have earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. Work credits are based on your earnings and the amount of time that you have worked. In general, you can earn up to four credits per year, and the total number of credits you need to qualify for SSDI benefits will depend on your age when you become disabled.
Another requirement for SSDI is that you must have filed your application in a timely manner. You should file your application for SSDI benefits as soon as possible after becoming disabled, as there may be a waiting period before your benefits begin. If you delay filing your application, you could miss out on valuable benefits that you might otherwise be entitled to.
One of the most challenging requirements for SSDI in Minnesota is the burden of proof. To be approved for benefits, you must prove that your disability is severe enough to prevent you from working.
This requires submitting extensive medical documentation that details your condition, including medical records, test results, and other evidence of your disability. A Minnesota SSDI attorney can help you gather the necessary documentation and provide guidance throughout the application process.
Finally, it’s important to note that SSDI benefits are not unlimited. Your benefits will be based on your average monthly earnings and will be subject to a maximum amount each month. Additionally, if you earn income from other sources, your SSDI benefits may be reduced. This is why it is important to understand your benefits and to keep up-to-date with any changes in your circumstances.
What If My SSDI Claim Is Denied?
Unfortunately, many SSDI claims are denied initially. What can you do if your claim is denied?
You have the right to appeal the decision. However, the appeals process can be complex and lengthy, so it is advisable to work with an experienced Minnesota lawyer who specializes in SSDI cases.
Here is a breakdown of the steps that need to be taken to fight back:
Step 1 – Obtain a Detailed Explanation
The first step is to obtain a detailed explanation for why your claim was denied. The Social Security Administration (SSA) should provide you with a letter explaining their decision. This letter is crucial because it will explain the specific reasons why your claim was denied. The letter will also contain important information about your deadlines to appeal the decision.
If you do not receive a letter from SSA or if you have trouble understanding the letter you received, do not hesitate to contact them for assistance.
Step 2 – Appeal the Decision
If your claim is denied, you have 60 days from the date of the denial letter to appeal the decision. There are several stages of appeals, and it is essential to appeal timely – appeals should be filed within the deadline.
A majority of first appeals are called ‘reconsideration.’ A second-level appeal is a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. To request either, a “Request for Reconsideration” or disability report and request for hearing” must be filed before the deadline.
After each level of appeal, if the claimant still is not approved for benefits, the third level of appeal is to ask for the federal court to review the claim.
Step 3 – Contact an Attorney
If you were not already working with a disability lawyer, it may be beneficial to hire one to assist with the appeals process. The SSDI appeal process can be complicated, and a skilled attorney will be able to analyze your situation and find evidence to support your case.
Additionally, attorneys can advocate for the claimant during hearings with the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). At this stage, the hearing is very important to have proper representation as the judge will make a decision, based solely on the evidence and testimony that is presented, whether or not to award disability benefits.
Step 4 – Obtain Medical Evidence
As mentioned, the evidence is key in SSDI claims. To build a strong evidentiary record, it is necessary to gather all relevant medical evidence that supports your disability claim.
Although the SSA may request medical documents from your treating doctors or hospitals, it is essential to obtain copies of all medical records to ensure that the whole picture of the disability is presented in the medical documents in full.
It is important to know that medical evidence created closer in time to the disability onset date may be better evidence than a doctor’s record that is years old.
Step 5 – Continue with Medical Treatment
While appealing the denied SSDI claim, it is critical to continue with medical treatment for the disability.
If you fail to pursue medical treatment, the administrative law judge may conclude that you are not interested in maximizing your level of functioning and improving your medical condition to the extent possible. Further, continuing with medical treatment shows that the disability is still impacting your life and your functionality.
Olson, Pool & Envall: The Help You Need to Secure SSDI Benefits in Minnesota
Social security disability insurance law can be complicated, but it is essential for those who are unable to work due to disabilities. Let us help. By working with an experienced attorney, you can ensure that your SSDI claim is processed correctly and that you have the best chance of receiving the benefits you deserve. If you are struggling with a disability, don’t hesitate to reach out for legal help. Together, we can get through these tough times and find a path forward.