Filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a long, difficult, and exhausting process. This is especially true when you’re busy simply trying to get by and adjust to the massive lifestyle changes that disability brings.
So, it’s only natural to want some help from an experienced disability advocate to help you file the paperwork and help you through this difficult process. But, do you REALLY need to have a disability advocate to file for SSDI?
Strictly speaking, no.
Having a disability advocate on your side can be very helpful for your case—but not everyone needs to go out and get an advocate for their initial disability application. There are many Americans who have filed for SSDI benefits on their own and gotten approval.
For many, simply collecting the necessary evidence and communicating openly with the Social Security Administration (SSA) is enough to get their required benefits. If you know you have a strong case with plenty of evidence and know you meet the basic medical and work history requirements, it’s important to file your disability claim as soon as possible.
Why Would I Want to Have an Advocate if I Don’t Need One?
While having a disability advocate isn’t a requirement to file for SSDI benefits, there are some situations where having the extra help is desirable.
Common reasons why you or someone else applying for disability benefits might want an advocate include, but may not be limited to:
A Previous Rejection
It’s not uncommon for the SSA to reject an application. All too often, these rejections are caused by a relatively minor issue that could have been avoided. An experienced disability advocate can help you organize your claim and make sure that the “minor” details don’t get missed.
The Disability Impairs Your Ability to Apply
Some especially severe conditions can make it hard to collect & organize evidence, comply with SSA contact requirements, or even fill out basic forms. In some cases, these conditions may even be severe enough to get expedited processing under the SSA’s compassionate allowances. An advocate can help you collect the evidence you need to apply in the first place and make your case to the SSA.
To Get an Evaluation of Your Case
Sometimes, a person isn’t entirely sure if his/her condition, work history, and financial situation would allow them to qualify for SSDI and/or SSI. Even if you don’t choose to actually use an advocate’s services, a disability advocate could perform an evaluation of your case so you have an idea of how strong it is.
For Extra Insight into the Application Process
The more you know, the better off you’ll be for your disability application. There are many different programs and initiatives that the SSA uses, such as compassionate allowances, quick disability determinations, or terminal illness programs. An experienced advocate can help you navigate these extra programs to find the one that’s the best for you.
To Find Alternative Income Options
SSDI isn’t the only option for getting income when you’re disabled. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other alternatives exist that can help you pay for your expenses—even if you don’t qualify for SSDI. Disability advocates can help you discover these other programs and discuss with you how they’ll affect your SSDI benefits.
These are just a few of the reasons why you might want to reach out to an experienced disability advocate for help when filing a disability claim.
If you need help filing for disability, or just want some help navigating your options, be sure to reach out to an experienced Social Security disability advocate today!