If you’re a Baby Boomer who hasn’t reached retirement age but are physically or mentally disabled and can’t work, you’re far from alone. Millions of American workers already get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a number which tripled from 1970-2009, with an especially high rise since late 2007.
This increase involves many workers losing employment in a down economy and then failing to find new jobs. It’s also due to many Baby Boomers (born from 1946-1964) suffering disabilities before reaching retirement age. (Today’s youngest Baby Boomers are 52.)
Indeed, there’s an SSDI boom for Baby Boomers. They seek such benefits if they can’t work due to disabilities yet haven’t reached 66, the current age to qualify for full Social Security retirement benefits.
Today, around 8.5 million workers receive disability benefits, with the average age of disabled workers being 53, and the average monthly benefit being $1,070.20.
But despite those millions of recipients, as many as 60 percent of SSDI claims initially are turned down by the Social Security Administration (SSA), often due to technicalities in an overloaded system.
How overloaded? In July of 2015, Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue said in testimony to a House panel, “We received 130,000 more hearing requests in 2010 than we received in 2008.” That means many more people made claims –which means many more people were denied.
What happens after denial? An appeal hearing before an administrative law judge often is the next step. To claim the disability benefits you legally deserve, an SSDI lawyer with Jim Adler & Associates can represent you at such a hearing or before an appeals council of the SSA.
Your disability lawyer can prepare you for any statements you may be asked to make at a hearing, or may call such witnesses as former employers or medical professionals to speak on your behalf. In part via help from SSDI attorneys, persons whose disability claims were denied are approved on appeal in over 60 per cent of cases nationwide. Though it’s no guarantee, it clearly helps.
SSDI benefits are in the multi-billions. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), in a recent year $124 billion in Social Security disability benefits were paid. That was 18 percent of all Social Security benefits, including retirement benefits.
But increases in benefits and in SSDI applicants don’t mean your application can’t prevail. An Adler SSDI attorney can help you tackle the red tape when making your initial application, and later can represent you if your application is turned down.
That may help speed what can be a lengthy process to get a claim approved. The waiting time for approval of SSDI benefits can be long, though it’s dropped by almost a third in the past three years, from an average wait of over 500 days to 353 days last summer.
The SSA has tried to hasten the application process in several ways, including hiring additional judges and also fast-tracking applications for 113 medical conditions under its Compassionate Allowances program. Those conditions include specific brain disorders and cancers. Thus, persons with more severe and immediate needs may not wait as long.
Keep in mind that when your claim is approved, you receive SSDI back-payments for the time you waited and weren’t paid while your application was evaluated. The wait for payments doesn’t mean you’ll lose money in the end.
Again, when you reach full retirement age, you can receive Social Security retirement benefits instead of disability benefits. SSDI is designed to help people reach that point when they’re not yet retirement age but cannot work.
If you’d like to learn more, please contact an experienced disability lawyer with Jim Adler & Associates for a free legal review of your case. Then we can help you navigate a complex system to claim your benefits.
Plus, you won’t pay your disability lawyer, since we’ll only be paid by the SSA itself.
Contact us today. We’re here to help.