At Brooks Law Group, we understand that Social Security Disability benefits can be a vital source of income for qualifying individuals. But unfortunately, the majority of Social Security applications are denied on the first try. Getting help from an experienced Florida disability lawyer can mean the difference between obtaining the money you need and getting your application hung up in all the red tape.
Keep reading for information about how to apply for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) in Florida.
Are You Eligible?
You must meet specific requirements in order to receive SSDI. You may qualify if:
- You have a disability that restricts your ability to work for at least one year.
- Your condition is on the Social Security Administration’s List of Impairments.
- You cannot work or perform the same job you did before becoming disabled (factoring in your education and work experience).
- You make more than a specific amount per month, as set by the SSA.
You must also have earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. These credits come from working and paying Social Security taxes for a certain length of time. You must also pass a duration test that determines whether you have worked enough given your age. No one needs more than 10 work credits.
Where to File
You can file online or by phone, but it’s best to file your SSDI claim in person at your local Social Security office. There are offices in Tampa, Winter Haven, Clearwater, Orlando, Dade City, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Leesburg, and Fruitland Park.
How a Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help
The primary reason that SSDI applications are denied is that they are incomplete. You must submit detailed documentation of your disability before a representative can make a determination. An attorney can collect and organize this essential information, including:
- Birth records: A birth certificate or a baptismal certificate
- Military records: If they apply
- Medical records: Proof of hospitalizations, doctors’ visits, medical equipment, medications, and reports of your diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment
- Laboratory reports: Your test results
- Wage records: Your tax returns, pay stubs, and employment verification statements
- Your banking information: If you win, the SSA will deposit your monthly benefit directly.
- Other disability claims: Any workers’ compensation and disability insurance information
Applicants approved for SSDI will receive a monthly award and two years later, a Medicare card. Regulations for the blind are more lenient, beginning on the sixth month after they become eligible. SSDI benefits stop when you reach retirement age, and your regular Social Security benefits will kick in.
When to Apply
Do it as soon as you become disabled. We strongly encourage you to speak with a Social Security Disability attorney in Florida before getting started. Rejected applications will need to be reviewed again, which means that you’ll wait longer to get the money you deserve.
In addition, denials will require more work. You may need to appeal the decision, which is a multi-stage process that can proceed all the way to federal court. The best way to avoid that happening to you is by working with an experienced lawyer from the start.
Contact Brooks Law Group Today
Need help applying for SSDI? Don’t stress — put Brooks Law Group to work for you. Our SSD lawyers can handle your case from start to finish. You can count on us to support you and build the strongest possible claim for disability compensation for you.
This post was originally published in August 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in June 2021.