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A post by Tim Moore, a former disability claims examiner, at ABB Retirement discusses the Social Security Disability Benefits Program. Tim knows what he is talking about.

Social Security: It’s More Than Just Retirement Benefits

Most of us when we hear the term, social security, tend to think of the elderly, or get a brief pre-cognitive flash of the days ahead when we, too, will be “older” and consigned to allotting portions of our days filling prescriptions and playing bingo.

Today, social security covers more than just retirement benefits for individual workers. It allows widows to receive benefits based on the earnings records of deceased spouses and provides survivors benefits for the minor children of deceased parents. And, last but not least, it provides disability benefits.

The title II and title 16 disability programs administered by the federal government allow individuals who are unable to work the same dignity as retirement-age workers.

How does this system work? In many respects, the system is overly complicated, but it essentially works as follows: an individual who cannot or who can no longer work simply calls their local social security office, informing them of the desire to pursue disability benefits. Once this request has been made, an appointment is made for the purpose of conducting an interview and application. Once an application has been taken, it is sent to a state-level agency that specializes in making decisions on such claims. At this agency, a person’s medical records will both be gathered and evaluated. And after the necessary analysis has been conducted, provided that a person meets the social security administration’s standards of eligibility, their claim will be approved and they can then look forward to receiving benefits.

I need to add that it is not unusual for the initial application for benefits to be denied. And, for the reconsideration of the denial to also fail. The third step in the claims process, a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, is often required. Legal representation may be helpful all along the way, but it is critical when the claim is progressing to the hearing stage.

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