Those who become disabled prior to retirement should be able to seek help from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) through its Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. However, convincing the SSA to give you the benefits you deserve can be a complex and frustrating process—especially without legal assistance.
Instead of dealing with the SSA alone, speak with a Wilmington SSDI lawyer at Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya. Our experienced attorneys can explain the criteria for these benefits, collect documentation for a strong initial claim, and help appeal any claim rejections, if necessary.
Who Qualifies for SSDI?
There are two major requirements a claimant must meet to qualify for SSDI. First and foremost, an individual must be disabled according to SSA criteria. Specifically, they must have a physical and/or mental impairment that:
- Prevents them from working the job they held prior to their disability,
- Prevents them from working in any other job or field, and
- Will either result in their death or last for a minimum of 12 months after diagnosis
Second, qualifying SSDI claimants must have earned enough “work credits” through consecutive years of employment prior to becoming disabled. The exact amount of wages or self-employment income necessary to earn one work credit changes each year. In 2021, one credit is equivalent to $1,470 of qualifying income, and workers can earn a maximum of four work credits per calendar year.
Typically, a claimant must have 40 work credits in total, 20 of which were earned in the 10 years immediately preceding their disability. However, the requisite number can change somewhat depending on the age of an applicant when they suffered their disability. Since these calculations are complex and nuanced, it is important to consult a skilled local attorney on SSDI qualifications.
Alternatively, an individual who may not have enough work credits and is not eligible for SSDI may qualify under the SSI program for disability benefits. However, there is an income-resource test, and the assistance of a skilled local attorney is beneficial in understanding the process.
SSDI Application Process
Individuals seeking SSDI benefits may submit their application online. Alternatively, one can call the SSA during normal weekday business hours and set an appointment to either submit an application over the phone or complete at a local SSA office. While there are no SSA offices within the city of Wilmington, there is one in nearby New Castle, Delaware at 920 W Basin Road, Suite 200.
Regardless of the method of application, a claimant should be prepared with various forms of personal identification, such as their:
- Birth certificate
- Social Security card
- Marriage License
- Extensive documentation proving that they are disabled
A Social Security lawyer at our Wilmington office can help with the application process, collect relevant medical documentation, and ensure the claim goes as smoothly as possible.
Consult a Wilmington SSDI Attorney on Your Claim
On the surface, applying for SSDI benefits may seem like a straightforward process. However, successfully obtaining these benefits can be difficult and stressful, especially for someone who is ill or injured. The SSA requires a great deal of information when making decisions about SSDI eligibility, and receiving that decision often takes several months. Fighting a claim denial could further lengthen this process.
By working with an experienced Wilmington SSDI lawyer, you could significantly improve your chances of a positive outcome to your application. At Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya, our legal team has extensive experience with helping disabled people reach efficient resolutions to their claims. In addition to assisting Delaware claimants, our firm assists individuals who reside in the tri-state area, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Southern New Jersey. Call today to learn more.