Navigating the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application process can be challenging. At Disability Advocates Group, we aim to guide you through each step, ensuring you understand your eligibility and the application process. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you get started.

Determining Eligibility for SSDI or SSI Benefits

To determine whether you are eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits, start by evaluating your work history and financial situation. For SSDI, check if you have accumulated enough work credits by paying Social Security taxes over the years. The required credits typically include 40 credits, with 20 earned in the last decade. For younger individuals, fewer credits may be required. Additionally, assess your medical condition against the SSA’s definition of disability, which mandates that your condition must last at least one year or result in death, and must prevent you from performing substantial gainful activity. For SSI, your financial need is paramount. Ensure your income and resources fall below the threshold set by the SSA and review the disability criteria similar to SSDI. Residency status, including being a U.S. citizen or fitting specific non-citizen categories, is also essential.

SSDI Eligibility:

  1. Work Credits: SSDI is for individuals who have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. Younger workers might qualify with fewer credits.
  2. Disability Definition: You must meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability, which includes having a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death.
  3. Unable to Work: Your condition must prevent you from performing any substantial gainful activity (SGA).

SSI Eligibility:

  1. Financial Need: SSI is based on financial need, offering benefits to disabled individuals who have limited income and resources.
  2. Disability Definition: Similar to SSDI, you must meet SSA’s definition of disability.
  3. Residency: You must be a U.S. citizen or fall into certain categories of non-citizens.

How to Apply for SSDI or SSI Benefits in Orlando

  1. Applying Online: You can apply for SSDI or SSI benefits online through the SSA website:
  2. Applying In Person: There are several Social Security offices in Orlando where you can apply in person. The main office is located at:  Orlando Social Security Office 5520 Gatlin Ave, Orlando, FL 32812. You can also call the office at 1-800-772-1213 to set up an appointment or for further assistance.

What You Need to Apply:

  • Personal Information: Social Security number, birth certificate, and proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status.
  • Medical Information: Contact information for doctors, hospitals, and clinics that have treated you, as well as details of your medical conditions.
  • Work Information: Details about your work history and income.

Average Wait Times and Approval Rates in Orlando

The process of getting a decision on your SSDI or SSI application can take several months. In Orlando, the average wait time after filing an initial application is approximately 3 to 5 months. However, this can vary depending on the complexity of your case and the number of applications being processed.

Approval rates for SSDI and SSI benefits can also vary. On average, about 35% of initial SSDI applications are approved. The approval rate for SSI applications is slightly lower, around 30%.

How an Orlando SSDI Attorney Can Help

Filing for SSDI or SSI benefits in Orlando requires a thorough understanding of eligibility criteria and the application process. Whether you apply online or in person, it’s essential to have all necessary documentation and information ready. If you need assistance or if your application is denied, the lawyers at Disability Advocates Group are here to help you navigate the complexities of the system and improve your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve. Here are some ways our attorney can help with the process:

  1. Preparing the Application: An SSDI attorney can assist you in gathering and organizing the necessary documents, ensuring all information is accurate and complete. This includes medical records, work history, and other essential details.
  2. . If Your Application is Denied: If your initial application is denied, a disability attorney can help you navigate the appeals process. This involves:
    • Reconsideration: Requesting a review of your case by someone who wasn’t involved in the first decision.
    • Hearing: Presenting your case before an administrative law judge.
    • Appeals Council Review: If the judge denies your claim, you can request a review by the SSA’s Appeals Council.
    • Federal Court: As a last resort, you can file a lawsuit in a federal district court.

Having legal representation can significantly increase your chances of a successful appeal. Our attorneys are experienced in handling SSDI and SSI cases and can provide the guidance and support you need throughout the process.