Applying for SSD in Florida
Applying for SSD can be complicated. This guide explains how applying for SSD works in the state of Florida.
Applying for SSD in FloridaIf you are unable to earn a living as a result of a disability, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits to obtain the financial resources you need. However, many people find the SSD application process confusing and intimidating, especially given the amount of detailed information that is required. As a result, applicants are often denied benefits due to preventable mistakes.
How to Apply for SSD in FloridaFiling an online application with the Social Security Administration (SSA) represents the easiest way to pursue SSD benefits in Florida. The SSA’s website conveniently provides a checklist of information and documents you will need on hand or on your computer during the online application process.
You can find the SSA’s online portal for completing the disability benefits application here. In addition to completing the application, you will need to execute and submit a medical release form to give the SSA access to your medical records and information to evaluate your claim of disability.
By using the online application system, you do not need to wait for an appointment and can complete the entire application process from home without ever needing to go into an SSA office. You can also start and save a partially completed application in case you need to go find additional information or documents.
If you cannot complete an online application, you can alternatively submit a disability application from the comfort of your home by calling the Social Security Administration’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
From that hotline, you can make an appointment to speak with an SSA representative over the phone to provide the information needed to fill out your application.
Finally, if you prefer, you can go to your local SSA office to complete a disability application in person. You may have to schedule an appointment to go to the SSA office to complete your application. If you choose to fill out your application in person, you should make sure that you bring all the information and documents suggested by the checklist on the SSA website.
What You Need to File an SSD ClaimTo successfully fill out a disability benefits application, you will need the following documents and information:
•Copies of all medical records that you have in your possession
•Copies of information related to any workers’ compensation benefits you are receiving, such as a claim number, date of your injury, proof of disability payments, or a settlement agreement
•Dates of your marriages and divorces, and names and birth dates of your minor children and current spouse (if any)
•If you wish to have benefit payments directly deposited into your bank account, your account number and your bank’s routing number
•A signed and dated Form SSA-827 Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration, a medical release form that will allow the SSA to obtain any medical records you have not already provided
•Completed Medical and Job Worksheet
•The name, address, and phone number of an alternate contact person if the SSA cannot reach you
What Happens After You File Your SSD Claim?Once you have filed your disability benefits application, the form along with your financial and medical records will be sent to medical and vocational experts who will review your application and records to determine if your disability qualifies you for benefits. You may be contacted to provide additional forms or information, or you may be asked to undergo physical examinations or medical tests by independent doctors at no cost to you.
In most cases, you can expect to wait anywhere between three and five months to get a decision from the SSA on your application. If your application is denied, you have the right to request reconsideration or to pursue an administrative appeal.
If your application is approved, you can expect to begin receiving payments in the sixth month following the date of the onset of your disability. However, if you are suffering from certain conditions, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or specific renal conditions, you may begin receiving benefits immediately.
Common Mistakes in Applying for SSDMost people who apply for disability benefits end up having their initial applications denied. In many of these cases, an application is denied not because of a lack of eligibility for benefits but rather because an applicant has made some correctable mistake in the application. Some of the most common mistakes that people make when applying for SSD include:
•Filing a claim while still trying to return to work
•Filing a claim soon after suffering a disability when it cannot be determined that your disability is expected to last at least 12 months (or result in death)
•Failing to provide sufficient medical evidence to prove that the applicant suffers from a qualifying disability
•Failing to follow treatment instructions and recommendations
•Providing inaccurate or misleading information in the application, including exaggerating the extent or nature of a disability or medical condition
Ultimately, the biggest mistake people make when applying for SSD benefits is not hiring experienced legal representation to help them through the process.
How a Florida SSD Lawyer Can Help YouThe disability benefits application process can prove incredibly complex and confusing. The majority of applicants for benefits end up having their initial applications denied for one reason or another. To ensure you have the greatest chance of success in your application, let a Florida SSD lawyer help you by:
•Reviewing the facts and circumstances of your case to determine your eligibility for SSD
•Assisting you with gathering the information and documents you need for your application, including medical records and workers’ compensation documents (if applicable)
•Helping you to fill out your initial application
•Following up with the Social Security Administration on a regular basis to check that your claim is moving through the system
•If your application was denied, explaining your appeal rights and representing you through the reconsideration or appeal hearing process