injured woman meeting with a lawyer

Social Security Disability programs offer financial assistance to Americans who cannot work due to injury or illness. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program provides payments called  SSDI benefits to individuals who can document a significant work record that includes a history of payments into the SSDI program through payroll taxes.

As with other federal benefit and entitlement programs, regulation and the needs of a growing number of beneficiaries have overburdened the SSDI program.

Understanding the Basic SSDI Programs

Eligible disabled workers often find their SSDI claims processed slowly and then denied. Even on a second review, or “reconsideration,” more than 75 percent of SSDI applications are denied.

According to the Oklahoma Disability Care Center on average, it takes 466 days for an SSDI claim to process. If you have questions regarding the process of the timeline of the application for benefits, contact the Oklahoma City Worker’s Compensation Commission anytime.

Requirements for SSDI

Understanding the requirements needed for the application to successfully process can be overwhelming and waiting for your approval to come in can be frustrating. Leave the worrying to your Ryan Bisher Attorneys and see below why we are Oklahoma’s SSDI Lawyer.

The Oklahoma City Social Security Disability lawyers of Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons help applicants for SSDI benefits obtain payments they deserve sooner and with less hassle. Benefit applications require numerous documents, and we can make sure your claim is not held up because of an omission or discrepancy among the information you provide the Social Security Administration (SSA).

We also make sure our clients get the full benefit they deserve, based on their employment history and the injury(s) or illness(es) that have left them unable to work.

Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons has worked with injured and ill clients for 35 years to ensure they receive government benefits the law says they are entitled to. Senior Partner Philip D. Ryan is the author of “Seven Costly Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Disability Claim (and How to Avoid Them)”  and has represented clients at more than 3,000 Social Security Disability Insurance hearings. He has an active role in every disability case the law firm handles. Mr. Ryan, our other attorneys, and our staff are committed to providing personalized, one-on-one service to each of our clients. If you have become disabled and cannot work for a living in Oklahoma, we would like to help you.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to workers and certain members of their families if the disabled worker is “insured,” meaning they have worked and paid taxes while they were employed.

An SSDI applicant must have worked and paid payroll (FICA, or Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes long enough to accrue a benefit. Usually, an applicant for SSDI benefits must document FICA payments over 40 quarters (i.e., three-month periods) – 20 quarters (five years) of which were in the 10 years immediately prior to becoming disabled.

How Work Credits are Applied to SSDI

The amount of your payment is based on work credits, and you can earn up to four credits a year, which are forever a part of your Social Security record. Each year the amount of earnings needed for credits goes up slightly as average earnings levels increase.

In 2019, workers receive one credit for each $1,360 of earnings from employment for which Social Security payroll taxes are withheld (or taxes you pay if you are self-employed). So, if you have $5,440 in taxable earnings in 2019, you earn four credits for the year.

For Social Security retirement benefits, you must have 40 work credits, or a 10-year work history if you earn the maximum credits each year. For disability payments, it’s not so clear-cut, though 40 credits are considered a rule-of-thumb objective.

How many credits you need for disability benefits depends on how old you are when you become disabled:

  • If you become disabled before age 24, you generally need six credits earned in the three years before you became disabled.
  • If you are 24 through 30, you generally need credits for half of the time between age 21 and the time you became disabled.
  • If you are disabled at age 31 to 42, you generally need at least 20 credits in the 10 years immediately before you became disabled.
  • If you are disabled at age 43 or later, the number of credits required increases by two for every two years older than 42 you are.

When a person who has worked and paid Social Security taxes dies, certain members of the family may be eligible for survivors’ benefits. Up to 10 years of work is required to be eligible for benefits, depending on the person’s age at the time of death. Survivors of very young workers may be eligible if the deceased worker was employed for 18 months (1.5 years) during the three years before his or her death.

Social Security Survivors’ Benefits Can Be Paid To:

  • A widow or widower.
  • Divorced spouses under certain conditions.
  • Unmarried children younger than age 18, or up to age 19 if they attend elementary or secondary school full-time. Under certain circumstances, benefits can be paid to stepchildren, grandchildren, or adopted children.
  • Children who were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled.
  • Dependent parents age 62 or older.

Additionally, in some jobs, an employee’s salary is not subjected to payroll taxes. These include:

  • Domestic work
  • Farm work
  • Work for a church or church-controlled organization
  • Employment with state or local governments that pay into a pension program instead of Social Security.

How Do I Qualify For SSDI?

In addition to a work history that makes them eligible, applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits must demonstrate that they meet specific criteria before they will receive payments.

What is defined as a Disability in Oklahoma City?

The Social Security Administration defines disability as a condition that prevents an individual from performing substantial gainful work.

The Social Security Administration requires an applicant for SSDI to submit evidence that:

  • You cannot do work that you did before.
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or cause your death.
  • Your medical condition(s) prevents you from adjusting to any other type of gainful employment.

Proving that you are disabled requires completing multiple forms and providing a variety of personal information, including:

  • Medical records
  • Employment records
  • Workers’ compensation claim records
  • Financial records, e.g., bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other assets.

If your medical records show that your condition matches an impairment in the Social Security Administration’s list of impairments (known as the “Blue Book”) you are considered disabled.

The Blue Book describes impairments to each major body system that are considered severe enough to prevent an adult from doing any gainful activity.

The most common types of qualifying disabilities in the Blue Book, include:

  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Mental Disorders
  • Cardiovascular System Impairments
  • Digestive System Disorders
  • Respiratory System Disorders
  • Malignant Growths and Tumors / Malignant Neoplastic Diseases (cancer)
  • Genitourinary System Disorders (kidneys, bladder)
  • Sensory Systems Disorders (including speech)
  • Blood DisordersSkin Disorders
  • Endocrine Disorders (hormonal imbalances)
  • Immune System Disorders (including HIV/ AIDS)
  • Congenital Disorders.

Each of the categories above includes multiple impairments, which the Blue Book describes. If your condition does not match a listed impairment, you must provide medical evidence that your injury or illness incapacitates you in a manner that is equivalent to a recognized impairment.

You Met SSDI Requirements. What’s Next?

If the evaluator handling your claim agrees that you have a disabling condition, they must decide whether you can perform your current job’s essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation, or whether you can perform any other kind of substantial gainful activity.

You’re Approved. How Will My SSDI Begin?

SSD lawyer helping client with SSDI appealSSD lawyer helping client with SSDI appeal

If your application is approved, you will receive a letter that spells out your benefit, and when payments should start. There is a mandatory five-month waiting period from the onset of disability until you can begin receiving SSDI payments, regardless of whether your condition, such as cancer, worsens after you apply for benefits.

What if I’m denied SSD benefits? Can I get an Appeal?

There are certain conditions that allow an applicant to seek a review of their claim under the Compassionate Allowance Initiative. If a person has been diagnosed with a disabling condition that, by its nature, qualifies someone for Social Security Disability benefits, confirmation of such a disabling condition can lead to approval for disability benefits immediately, sometimes in a matter of days.

If your application for SSD benefits is denied, the letter will say why and advise you that you have 60 days to appeal the decision.

Can I Receive SSDI and SSI at the Same Time?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a disability program based on financial need. Usually, SSI pays benefits to disabled individuals who have never been able to work for a living, such as someone who has been disabled since birth or was injured or became ill as a child. The SSI program also provides benefits to adults who meet the financial requirements and are over age 65 or who are blind.

In some circumstances, you can receive SSI and SSDI benefits at the same time. This is commonly referred to as “concurrent benefits.” To receive concurrent benefits, you must be approved for SSDI, but receive low monthly payments due to such factors as short work history or having earned relatively low wages throughout the course of your employment history.

When the SSA determines whether you have a financial need for SSI, it considers earned and unearned income (including anticipated SSDI payments), as well as other financial resources or assets. If you meet the very low financial requirements for receiving SSI, you may receive SSDI payments along with SSI benefits.

How Our Law Firm Helps SSDI Claim Applicants

Because of the complexity of the SSDI application and the need for claim evaluators to keep up with volume, SSA evaluators look for a reason to reject a claim and move to the next file.

Retaining an experienced Social Security disability benefits attorney is not required but it can greatly increase the likelihood of a successful SSDI claim by ensuring you submit a proper claim application.

At Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons, our experienced Oklahoma City disability attorneys can:

  • Assemble the documentation and prepare an initial application for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits that it is complete and accurate, which increases the likelihood that it will be approved.
  • Reach out to your treating physician to ensure the information and documentation he or she provides is what’s necessary to gain the approval of your claim.
  • Appeal a denial of your SSDI or SSI benefits claims through as many levels of appeal as necessary.

Our skilled Oklahoma City Social Security Disability attorneys are committed to working quickly and doing everything we can to prevent delays in the processing of your Social Security Disability claim.

How to Contact Ryan Bisher SSDI Attorneys

Contact us for a free consultation and learn how we can help you. Our fee for assisting you beyond a free initial consultation will be stated and approved by the Social Security Administration before we proceed. By law, fees cannot exceed the lesser of 25 percent of past-due benefits or $6,000. Don’t delay your benefits further. Contact us today.


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