FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2011-09-07
Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can be a complicated, lengthy process that, unfortunately, does not always have a happy outcome: in Oregon, some 60 to 70 percent of initial claims are denied immediately.
But, knowing what to expect and getting the right help in applying for Social Security benefits can increase your odds of success and make the experience, particularly for Oregon Social Security Disability applicants, far more pleasant.
Document Compilation Key
SSDI and SSI are two distinct types of benefits. SSDI is financed by Social Security taxes and provides payments to disabled individuals who have made contributions to the Social Security tax fund through working over a long enough period of time. SSI, on the other hand, is a need-based program without work requirements; it is funded with general tax revenues and provides benefits to elderly or disabled individuals with few assets.
The application procedure is similar for SSDI and SSI. For both types of benefits, you will have to prove you are disabled. (However, if you are 65 or older, you do not have to show you have a disability in order to receive SSI.)
Showing you are disabled can be a fact-intensive inquiry, especially if your condition is not one of those found on the Social Security Administration’s list of impairments. Of course, you will need to gather medical records, including the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all past medical providers, as well as the dates of previous visits.
You will also need to collect documentation detailing your work history, personal life and education. The Social Security Administration uses this information to gauge whether your injury or illness keeps you from doing the sort of work you once did, and to determine whether you could successfully adjust to a new type of employment.
Additionally, if you are applying for SSI, you will need evidence that shows you have a low income and few or no assets.
Once you have collected all necessary documentation, completing an application is required. This can be done in person at one of Oregon’s 17 Social Security offices (the Beaverton office is located near the corner of Lombard Avenue and Second Street). Alternately, in many cases you may file over the phone, by mail or using the internet.
Better Results with an Attorney
An initial denial can be appealed, but may result in months or even years of additional delay before you start receiving the benefits you need.
Whether it is SSDI or SSI, filing for Social Security benefits is a complex procedure. Give your application the best chance for approval by retaining an experienced attorney to handle your claim.