What Is Disability
The American Disabilities Act was established in 1990 to provide protections to those with disabilities, both mental or physical. The protections are similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program of the United States government. Managed by the Social Security Administration, it is designed to provide supplemental income to people who are restricted by either a mental or physical disability from work. SSDI can be given on either a temporary or permanent basis. The disability prohibiting employment needs to also last for at least one year, and an individual must have worked at least an average of 10 years (or had parents who worked for at least 10 years for those under 18 years of age) to be eligible as a recipient of SSDI.
How to Apply for Disability
Generally, there is a test an applicant needs to complete along with the detailed letters and medical records that support the diagnosis, symptoms, treatment results, and side effects. This takes place at a Social Security Administration (SSA) office. Records should indicate all the specific disability symptoms along with corresponding severity levels.
Before making an appointment and trip to the nearest SSA office, an individual needs to make sure doctors or members of a medical team note any limitations or restrictions resulting from the medical condition. Thorough documentation is key to explaining how the disability affects daily and work activity.
In some cases, the SSA denies approval for SSDI. When this happens, individuals can either reapply directly to the SSA, or they can seek the assistance of a disability attorney. The claims process is very scrupulous with the average claim taking at least five months. A claim can be denied twice, but there is an opportunity for an appeals process. The final step is a hearing before an administrative law judge to rule on the case.
A number of anecdotes claim that consulting with a disability attorney before the initial application can positively impact a determination. Attorneys can also increase the odds of having better monthly benefits, (in terms of dollars).
Centers for Independent Living
Centers for Independent Living (CIL’s) were established in the 1960’s along with the independent living movement. These organizations are federally mandated to be in every state to serve as centers of resources. Activities within these organizations include wheelchair repair, personal care attendant services, support groups, referral services, social services, and more. The purpose of the Centers for Independent Living is to help individuals with disabilities lead more independent lives.
Filing for Social Security Disability Insurance is a serious decision and takes a long time. Individuals who are denied SSDI shouldn’t be discouraged at first. Under the ADA, employers must make workplace accommodations for employees in reasonable ways. There are various resources available for people who are considering SSDI or seeking SSDI. Discussions with medical teams, peers, family, and perhaps a disability advocacy organization about the filing process are good first steps.