If you are no longer able to work due to a disability, you should be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is designed to provide financial assistance to individuals who cannot work so that they can support themselves and their families. If you live in Ohio and want to pursue these benefits, you can apply in one of three ways:
- Online – You can apply online through the Social Security Administration’s website here. At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., L.P.A., we can help you to do this. If you choose to apply for benefits online, you should review the Adult Disability Checklist and complete the online Disability Benefit Application.
- Telephone – The SSA has a toll-free customer service line. You can apply by phone by calling (800) 772-1213 or (800) 325-0778 (TTY).
- In person – If you would prefer to apply in person, you can visit a Social Security field office near you. A list of field offices in Ohio can be found there.
While many people are aware that the Social Security Disability benefits program exists, many are unsure of whether they qualify for these benefits and how to claim the benefits they are eligible to receive. Here is an overview of the process.
Steps to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits in Ohio
When applying for benefits, you should have on hand all of the essential information that you will be asked to provide in order to make the process easier. Some of the relevant information you will need to provide includes:
- Personal information – Your name, date and place of birth, Social Security number, information about your spouse and children and banking information.
- Medical history – Includes detailed information about your illness, injuries and other relevant medication conditions.
- Work information – Your Social Security statement, employment history, wages and earnings from last year and this year and proof of workers’ compensation or other benefits you receive or will file to receive.
Once you have applied for SSD benefits, the SSA will review your application and will let you know by phone or mail if they need additional information or documentation. The SSA will process the application and, eventually, you will be notified of the decision on your claim.
Disability Requirements for Adults and Children
Adults in Ohio must meet specific medical and non-medical requirements to receive a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits award or a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability award. A disability claims examiner will be assigned to your case to determine if you meet the medical requirements. Examiners and judges both use a five-step disability evaluation system to see if your condition meets the SSA’s specific definition of disability.
For both SSD and SSI, the non-medical requirements are:
- The claimant must not be working and must not be earning substantial gainful income (also referred to as SGA by the SSA).
- The claimant can be working and still file and receive disability benefits as long as his or her gross monthly income is below the SGA limit. This amount changes with inflation, but as of 2019, claimants would not be eligible if their gross monthly income (before taxes) was $1,220.00.
If you are applying for a child (under the age of 18), you will need to complete a Child Disability Report (which outlines the child’s condition and how it impacts his or her ability to function) and an Application for Supplemental Security Income. Right now, you can complete the CDR only online and must complete the rest of the process by phone or in person.
To apply for a child, you should:
- Contact the SSA. The SSA can help you to determine if the child’s guardians’ income and resources are within the permitted limits to apply.
- Download and review the Child Disability Starter Kit. This kit includes a “what you should know” factsheet, a checklist for the disability interview and a worksheet that will help you to collect all of the information that you will need when applying for benefits.
- Complete the Child Disability Report and submit it online. Within the report, you will be asked to sign a release allowing the child’s doctor to give the SSA information about the child’s disability so that they can evaluate the claim.
Getting Approved for SSD Benefits in Ohio
To be approved for SSDI benefits in Ohio, you must have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify. This is based on what is called the “recent work test.” Depending on how old you were when you became disabled, you will have to have worked a certain number of years to qualify for disability benefits. For example:
- If you became disabled at age 29, you must have worked at least half of the time between your 21st birthday and when you became disabled (four years).
- If you are disabled after you turned 31, you should have worked for at least five out of the 10 years before you became disabled.
- If you were disabled at age 55 but have not worked since you were 30 years old, you won’t be eligible for SSDI benefits.
Keep in mind: Your eligibility for SSI benefits will not require you to meet the above tests.
The Ohio Division of Disability Determination will also review the legal guidelines and determine if your condition qualifies as a disability. They will review your medical history and documentation relating to your condition. If you are required to submit to an additional examination, the test and your travel expenses to the appointment will be paid.
Appeal Hearings in Ohio
In Ohio, statistics show that only one in three applications are approved on the first application. Fortunately, you have the right to appeal the decision. The next step will be to file a “Request for Reconsideration” and have your case reviewed again. If your application is again denied, you can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.
Our Ohio Disability Attorneys Can Help You
The team at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., L.P.A., has more than 200 years of combined legal experience. We know how confusing the process of applying for disability benefits can be. We are ready to help you to make sure that all of the paperwork you need to submit to the SSA and the Ohio Division of Disability Determination is complete and accurate. We can also help you to pursue an appeal if your application is denied.
With five convenient locations in Ohio, our help is never far away. Contact us today by phone or reach us online to schedule a free consultation and discuss how we can help you to seek the benefits you are owed.
Robert L. Heller has practiced law in Ohio for nearly 40 years, devoting his entire career to helping disabled people in the Mahoning Valley to pursue needed benefits. A native of Warren, Ohio, Robert earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio and his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law. He also studied public administration at American University in Washington, D.C. He is admitted to practice in Ohio state courts, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals as well as a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives (NOSSCR).