Initial Claims for SSDI

Lawyers Helping Chicago Residents Pursue Social Security Disability Benefits

A majority of individuals who file an application for disability in Illinois are denied when they present an initial Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim. Because of this high rate of denial, most SSDI claimants need to use the disability appeal process in order to get the disability benefits they need. As with an initial application, with an appeal you will need to prove that your case satisfies medical and non-medical eligibility criteria. An experienced Chicago Social Security attorney can help you present your initial claim for SSDI.

Qualifying for Disability

In order to bring an initial claim and qualify for disability benefits in Illinois, you will need to show that you have at least one mental or physical condition that precludes you from working in a job to earn a gainful and substantial income for a minimum of one year. Disability exists when a claimant suffers a severe disabling condition for at least one year. There are some cases in which a person is disabled but gets better before a year is up or is expected to improve before a year is up; a durational denial may be issued for that person.

In other cases, someone may have a disability but can still earn a gainful, substantial income and is working. In that case, the initial application may also be denied in spite of a disability. A skilled SSDI lawyer can help you file a request for reconsideration following the denial of an initial claim.

Initial Claims for SSDI

A disability examiner reviews an initial claim for SSDI and determines whether the claimant is disabled and qualifies for benefits. The disability examiner’s goal is to get medical evidence and figure out to what extent the claimant really is functionally limited, whether mentally or physically.

Disability examiners have a couple of ways to approve a disability claim. First, they can look over the evidence and decide that a claimant possesses a medical condition that satisfies a listing in the Social Security Administration’s blue book. A claimant can be awarded disability benefits simply for having a condition included in the blue book and having his or her medical records satisfy the criteria for the listing. However, most claims are not approved on this basis. Often the listing’s criteria is highly specific and more specific than what’s taken from the medical records.

However, if benefits can’t be given by simply meeting a listing’s criteria, the examiner looks at other concerns and engages in a longer process. The examiner will look for functional limitations such as how long the claimant can sit or pay attention or even bend at the waist. The functional limitations are rated in a residual functional capacity, which measures what a claimant can do in spite of facing a medical disability. The rating is compared to what the claimant used to do for work. A determination is made about whether the claimant can go back to the old job. If you can’t do your old job (any job you did in the 15 years before you became disabled), the examiner continues the process. The examiner will look at whether you can be expected to switch to another line of work. It’s only if you’re unable to do your past work or perform some other work that exists that you would qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits or Supplemental Security Income.

Consult an SSDI Attorney in Chicago

At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our knowledgeable Social Security Disability lawyers may be able to assist you with your initial claim for SSDI. We can assist disabled people in Springfield, Champaign, Aurora, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as Adams, Champaign, Sangamon, Winnebago, Kane and Cook Counties. We can also take a close look at your SSDI case to consider whether there are other avenues of relief, such as a workers' compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit, that should be pursued. Under certain circumstances, a disabling injury can result in claims for SSDI, workers’ compensation benefits, and an award of damages. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525, or contact us online.