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A beginner's crash-course in Social Security Disability: Part I

How much do you know about Social Security Disability Insurance? Most Americans are not very familiar with SSDI despite supporting the program through payroll taxes. And if you are young and healthy, you may not need to know much about it.

But if you suffer from an injury or illness that no longer allows you to work, SSDI may become a subject of considerable interest. Social Security Disability Insurance is an important safety net to protect individuals from falling into poverty when they are not old enough to retire and their health prevents them from working a job.

When asked what they know about SSDI, many people might say that the application process is lengthy, difficult and has a low rate of success. They may have heard the horror stories of a relative or neighbor who struggled to get approved. Unfortunately, this scenario is pretty common.

According to data from the Social Security Administration, 2.65 million Americans applied for SSDI benefits in 2013. Of these, just 885,000 were approved. Thankfully, persistence can be beneficial. Many claims are initially denied, but the chances of approval often go up on appeal. Common reasons for denial include incomplete paperwork and lack of medical evidence to accompany the claim. These problems can be rectified upon appeal. There are also four levels of appeal, giving applicants more opportunities to present a strong case.

Please check back later this week as we continue our discussion. We’ll talk about the qualifications needed for SSDI enrollment. We’ll also discuss how you can make the application process easier and more likely to be successful.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits?" Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, June 24, 2014

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