What is SSI and how do I get it?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are available to individuals who have either never worked, or have not worked enough to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSI applies to children who are disabled, individuals who have never worked, individuals whose earnings were very low, and individuals who once worked and were eligible to receive social security disability but are now no longer eligible because they have not worked in a very long time. In order to qualify for SSI disability, you need to fit into one of these categories and you are required to have a severe medical and/or psychiatric disability.

When you file an application for SSI, the actual application is taken by a Social Security claims representative at a Social Security field office. After your application is taken, the claim is sent off to another agency that specializes in making medical determinations on SSI claims. This agency is known as the Disability Determination Services, or simply DDS.

At the DDS office, the file is assigned to a disability examiner who processes the medical portion of the claim. The examiner sends out letters to the claimant’s treatment sources (hospitals, doctors, counselors, etc) requesting the claimant’s medical records. The examiner waits until the records arrive, which could take up to a period of months. After the medical records arrive, they are evaluated by the DDS examiner and a physician is consulted with.

What determines whether or not you will get SSI disability depends on the detail, quality and timeliness of your medical records. So it is very important that you keep going to a doctor so that, when your SSI claim is reviewed, you will be able to present a medical history that includes recent medical records. It is also important that you have a supportive doctor since his or her office notes could influence whether or not you get your SSI benefit.

Quality medical records are essential in the evaluation of social security disability claims since they reflect what you are still physically and/or mentally capable of doing; this is referred to as your residual functional capacity (RFC).

Your RFC will be used to determine whether or not you are capable of going back to jobs you did in the past. If it is decided that you are not capable of going back to your past work, an evaluation will be made to determine whether or not you are able to perform different types of work. Most SSI applicants who are denied their SSI benefits are turned down because it could be decided that they are capable of doing a different type of work.

It is recommended to hire a qualified Social Security lawyer who can advise you and guide you through this trying time. Statistically, you have a better chance of winning your SSI disability award with a Social Security lawyer.

To contact our law office in San Diego, Los Angeles or Riverside, California, call 1-888-855-2948, or contact us by e-mail.