Key Points of This Article:

  • It is usual for Kentuckians to have many questions about the different types of Social Security benefits, eligibility, how to apply, and how to appeal in the case of a denial.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance is one type of program available to disabled workers who have paid into the Social Security system through employment over the years.
  • After you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you sometimes need to have special medical examinations or tests before a qualifying decision can be made. 
  • Applicants of all ages, including adults disabled since childhood, are more likely to receive benefits sooner when supported by a legal team experienced in preparing Social Security Disability applications and appeals.

What Is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Who Qualifies for Benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has released its 2021 Fact Sheet designed to help Americans understand Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and how the program works. Kentuckians should know they may be eligible for Social Security benefits if they can no longer work due to having a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in their death. The amount you get will depend on how long you worked and your earnings over that time. Certain members of your family may also be eligible for benefits based on your work history. 

The SSA says those members might include:

  • Your spouse, if he or she is age 62 or older.
  • Your spouse at any age, if he or she is caring for a child of yours who is younger than age 16 or who is disabled.
  • Your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild. The child must be younger than age 18 (or younger than 19 if still in high school).
  • Your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has a disability that started before age 22. The child’s disability must also meet the definition of disability for adults.

The SSDI program pays out monthly benefits. Most beneficiaries will need to have worked ten years to be eligible — earning at least 40 credits of coverage. SSDI benefits can help defray cost-of-living expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, medical needs, and cover everyday living costs like food and transportation. 

Medical Exams and Tests Are Needed to Make a Qualifying SSDI Determination

After you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (or Supplemental Security Income payments), it is likely you will need a particular medical exam or tests before the SSA decides whether you qualify. In Kentucky, Disability Determination Services (DDS) will review your disability claim and may need this information before they can decide if you’re disabled under Social Security law. The special exam or medical test is paid for by SSA. The Administration may also cover certain related travel expenses. 

The physician who sees you will only conduct the exam or test and provide specific information requested by DDS. They will not take part in deciding whether you’re disabled and will only send a report of the exam or test to the state agency. The doctor will not prescribe treatment or medication for you either. 

Adults Disabled Since Childhood May Qualify for SSDI Benefits

SSDI does pay benefits to adults who have a disability that began before they became 22-years-old. This is considered a “child’s” benefit because it’s paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record. The child doesn’t need to have necessarily worked to receive the benefits.

The SSA says, “Children who were receiving benefits as a minor child on a parent’s Social Security record may be eligible to continue receiving benefits on that parent’s record upon reaching age 18 if they are disabled. We make the disability determination using the disability rules for adults.” 

Disabled adults who would like to become entitled to this “child” benefit, one of his or her parents must: 

SSDI disabled adult “child” benefits continue as long as the individual remains disabled. Marriage of the disabled adult “child” may affect eligibility for this benefit. 

Providing Hope After A Your Social Security Benefit Denial

Unfortunately, many applicants who truly need SS benefits will be denied due to medical reasons or non-medical reasons, even adults who have been disabled since childhood. This can be pretty difficult to hear since the process of waiting for an approval or denial decision can be long and stressful for someone with a disability and limited resources. Sometimes it is a simple fix of a paperwork error. Other times, you will have to work harder to plead your case, provide additional medical support, revisit details or documents, and then initiate a “Request for Consideration” form to begin the appeal process.

If you need help applying for benefits or would like to appeal an SSDI denial, we advise you to please contact our office so that you don’t risk damaging your current status. An experienced lawyer can make sure all deadlines are met, prepare and file the appropriate paperwork, ensure you have seen the requested medical specialists, and ultimately – support your case for the best chance of success to help move you forward.

Western Kentucky Social Security Disability Attorneys

Rhoads & Rhoads attorneys are happy to meet with you over the phone or while practicing social distancing in a safe location to see how we can help. Our job is to protect the clients we serve, including the many suffering from underlying medical conditions and financial hardships related to their disability. Because of this, we want you to be assured that our team can accommodate you, and in-person consultations are not always necessary. 

Call us at 888-709-9329 to schedule your FREE consultation today. There is never a fee unless we win your case. Our goal is to continue serving with the safety and the support you deserve while staying respectful of the underlying medical conditions, physical, emotional, and financial hardships you have faced related to your disability.

Learn more from Rhoads & Rhoads Attorney Chris Rhoads: “The Last Defense When People Are Injured”

Source: Social Security Administration. (2021). Fact Sheet: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) [Fact Sheet].