Although the majority of staff in local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices are working remotely due to COVID-19, applicants for Social Security Disability (SSD) should be assured their claims will continue to be processed during this difficult time.
“Most SSA workers are working from home and the SSA can still be reached by phone and online,” said Kevin J. Bambury, attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC. “Applicants who have already filed for SSD benefits should be reassured the SSA is working on their claims — and those who have been thinking about filing might find this is a good time to research if they qualify for SSD.”
In order to qualify for SS disability, you must have a physical or mental impairment that prohibits you from doing your job or any other job in the local economy. At this time, it is uncertain all jobs that have been “temporarily” discontinued will be restored, leaving certain workers unable to return to work.
“Undoubtedly when this is all over, there will be workers who suffer from previous injuries and illnesses who will be prevented from returning to the workforce simply because those impairments become worse,” Bambury said. “Those folks should not be discouraged. If they have worked and paid into Social Security, they may be eligible for SSD benefits.
SSD provides a minimal income to those who have been injured or become ill and can no longer work. Currently, about 10 million Americans who have worked and paid into this insurance program through FICA taxes receive SSD benefits. This support helps them obtain treatment for their medical conditions and provide for their families. Family members may also be eligible for additional disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Additionally, 24 months after being awarded SSD benefits, recipients are eligible for Medicare, which covers hospital and medical services and prescription drug coverage.
“We are reassuring clients that we are still working at normal capacity,” Bambury said. “And we are always available to speak with individuals who are considering applying for SSD or who have applied and been denied. We can help determine if they qualify and work with them through the claims process.”
Getting through the SSD claims process can take up to 24 months, but with the help of a capable attorney representative who understands the complex rules, the criteria for medical and employment documentation, and the hearing and appeals process, claims can be processed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“If you think you qualify for SSD, it is critical to apply early. And, to be successful in getting benefits, it’s also critical to submit the right documents, have the right testimony from medical and vocational professionals, and to meet all deadlines. That’s where it helps to have a knowledgeable attorney representing you,” Bambury said.
Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC, which has been successfully handling Social Security Disability claims for 40 years in Buffalo and Rochester, is responding to those with questions regarding SSD (at 716-856-7091, 1-800-343-8537, or at www.jeffreyfreedman.com) during the crisis.