Although the Alexandria area is home to a number of charitable organizations serving people with disabilities, Social Security disability benefits are the most common source of financial assistance for people with physical or mental impairments that prevent them from working. Financial assistance from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program can help pay for basic needs such as food, shelter, and medical care. Recipients also become eligible for Medicare after a 24-month qualifying period.
This article briefly explains the process of applying for SSDI benefits in Alexandria, Louisiana. For more information, we encourage you to download a copy of our free e-book, Your Guide to a Successful Social Security Disability Claim: What Claimants, Their Family Members, and Healthcare Providers Need to Know.
What Are the Qualifications for Receiving SSDI Benefits?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has three main criteria that must be met in order to be eligible for SSDI benefits.
- Qualifying work history. The SSA typically requires that applicants have worked in jobs covered by Social Security for five out of the past ten years prior to becoming disabled. However, the exact number of work credits needed depends on an applicant's age.
- Qualifying disability. SSDI applicants must have a qualifying medical condition that either meets the SSA Listing of Impairments or their condition renders them disabled. The listed impairments are divided into 14 categories and include things like cancer, blindness, and heart disease, as well as mental health conditions like depression and anxiety disorders.
- Inability to adjust to other work. An applicant's condition must meet the SSA definition of "total disability," which means that the applicant must be not only unable to perform their past jobs but also unable to adjust their skills or find an alternate line of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) due to their disability. SGA refers to any activity for which you are paid more than a certain amount (set at $1,470 per month in 2023 for non-blind individuals). This includes full-time work, part-time work, and self-employment.
If you have a disabling condition that prevents you from adjusting to any suitable form of work, but you do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This is a program for people with limited assets and household income.
Does My Age Matter When I Am Applying for Benefits?
Your age does not necessarily impact your eligibility for SSDI benefits. The SSA is primarily concerned with how your medical condition affects your ability to work. However, if you are over the age of 50, your application may have a greater chance of success due to the SSA's Special Rules for Older Workers. Additionally, individuals who reach retirement age (typically 66-67 years old) will transition from SSDI benefits to Social Security retirement benefits at that time.
What Information Do I Need to Complete My Application for Social Security Disability Benefits?
To complete an application for Social Security disability benefits, you'll need to provide the following:
- Personal information. The SSA will ask for your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and contact information.
- Medical history. You will need a detailed medical history related to your disability or impairment and supporting information such as a letter from your health care provider.
- Work history. You must supply information about your employment within the last 15 years, including any applicable military service.
- Other sources of income. The application will ask for any other sources of income that you may have, as well as if you are receiving other spousal or dependent benefits.
- Bank information. You'll be asked to provide your bank routing and account numbers so that you can receive payments electronically once your application for benefits is approved.
How Do I Submit My Application?
You have three options for submitting your SSDI application.
- Fill out an application online. If you visit the SSA website, you can create a username and password to complete your application.
- Complete your application at the SSA office. You can fill out an application in person at the Alexandria Social Security office located at 3401 North Blvd.
- Work with an attorney to complete your application. Having an experienced SSDI attorney complete the application for you is beneficial because it allows you to make sure the form is filled out correctly and that you've provided all of the necessary supporting documentation.
What Happens After My SSDI Application Has Been Submitted?
This is the part of the process where patience is a virtue. It could take three to six months for the SSA to review your application. Even then, the majority of claims are initially denied.
If you are denied and you believe that your condition meets the SSA's definition of a disability, you should work with an experienced Social Security disability attorney to take your case through the appeals process. An SSDI appeal has four potential levels: Request for Reconsideration, Request for Hearing, review by the Appeals Council, and filing a federal lawsuit. The Request for Reconsideration must be filed within 60 days of receiving your denial letter, so you should meet with your attorney as soon as possible if you wish to begin the appeals process.
Do You Need a Social Security Disability Attorney to Help With Your Alexandria, Louisiana SSDI Claim?
Navigating the SSDI application process isn't easy, but we're here to help. Phillip M. Hendry Law serves as a trusted partner throughout your claim journey and will ensure that you have all the support you need through every step of the process.
Complete our online contact form or call (318) 553-5900 to schedule a consultation with our experienced Social Security disability attorney. For your convenience, we offer video conferencing options that let you seek assistance from the comfort of your own home.