SSD BenefitsHow to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits with a Communication Disorder
The Social Security Administration offers disability benefits to those who have serious communication disorders. These benefits can be used to offset lost income and help cover the cost of daily expenses. This article is designed to give you a brief overview of the benefits available to you and your family and will prepare you to begin the Social Security Disability application process.
1. Choose the right type of benefits.
The SSA oversees two distinct disability benefit programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Because each program has a separate set of eligibility requirements, you will need to know which program is the best fit for you.
SSDI offers financial assistance to disabled workers and their eligible dependents. To qualify for SSDI, you will need to have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a significant period of time. This program is often the best choice for adults who have worked and paid taxes for many years. Learn more about qualifying for SSDI benefits, here: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssdi/qualify-for-ssdi.
SSI is a means-based benefit program that offers financial assistance to disabled individuals of all ages who earn very little income. To qualify, applicants cannot exceed the financial limits set by the SSA. This program is often the best choice for children, teens, and adults who earn limited income and who do not have the work experience to qualify for SSDI benefits. Applicants under the age of 18 will often be evaluated based on the income of his or her parents. Learn more about qualifying for SSI, here: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/text-eligibility-ussi.htm.
2. Explore the SSA’s medical requirements.
To qualify for either benefit program, applicants must meet certain medical requirements. The most basic of these is meeting the SSA’s definition of disability. For adults this means:
•You cannot do the work you did prior to becoming disabled;
•You have a physical or mental condition that makes it impossible for you to adjust to other types of work; and
•Your condition has lasted or is expected to last at least one year.
For individuals under the age of 18 this means:
•The individual has marked and severe functional limitations that are expected to last at least one year.
Applicants who do not meet the appropriate definitions will not qualify for either benefit program. If you do meet the definition of disability, your condition will be evaluated further based on the requirements found in the SSA’s Blue Book. The Blue Book is an official publication that contains listings for all potentially disabling conditions. Each listing dictates the severity of a particular condition and the symptoms needed to qualify for disability benefits.
Adults who have communication disorders will likely fall under one of the following listings:
•2.09—Loss of Speech
•2.10—Hearing Loss (not treated with cochlear implantation)
•2.11—Hearing Loss (treated with cochlear implantation)
•11.04—Central Nervous System Vascular Accident (stroke)
•12.10—Autism (and other pervasive developmental disorders)
Individuals under the age of 18 will likely fall under one of the following listings:
•102.10—Hearing Loss (not treated with cochlear implantation)
•102.11—Hearing Loss (treated with cochlear implantation)
•111.09—Communication Impairment (associated with a documented neurological condition)
•111.02—Major Motor Seizure Disorder
•112.10—Autism (and other pervasive developmental disorders)
Because communication disorders affect each person differently and are caused by a number of factors, it is important that you consult the Blue Book to determine which listing best matches your symptoms. Once you have identified which listing you meet, collect copies of relevant medical records to prove your eligibility. These records should demonstrate that you meet the criteria listed in the Blue Book.
3. Begin the Social Security Disability application process.
Prior to submitting your application for disability benefits, you will need to collect copies of medical records, financial statements, and documentation of past employment. For a complete list of necessary documents, visit the Adult Disability Checklist or the Child Disability Checklist.
To begin the application, child applicants will have to schedule an interview at a local Social Security office. Adults can do the same or they can apply online at the SSA’s website. When filling out the application forms, be sure to take your time and answer questions in as much detail as possible. Your application should give the SSA insight into the limitations that you face each day. Any missing or false information could result in the denial of your claim.
Once you have submitted your initial application, it will likely take several months to receive a decision. Unfortunately, more than half of all initial claims will be denied. If this happens to you, do not panic or give up. You have the right to appeal this decision within 60 days of receiving a decision. During the appeal proceedings, you’re claim is much more likely to be approved.
For more information about applying for disability benefits, visit the Social Security Disability Help Blog or contact Molly Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org.