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How To Apply For Social Security Disability In Florida

Last updated: November 19, 2023

Disabled individuals receive monthly benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance, also known as SSDI. Workers with disabilities who have worked for a specified period over their lifetime may qualify for SSDI benefits. SSDI benefits may be available to Florida residents with disabilities that prevent them from working. SSA disability benefits were available to approximately 7.8 million people in June 2022. 

The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires an application form to be submitted to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. If you are a Florida resident, you have the option to also apply for Social Security disability benefits online, over the phone, or in person at your local SSA office

You can increase your chances of winning your SSDI claim with guidance and preparation. However, the application process can be complex and confusing. In the following sections, we will show you how to apply for Social Security disability in Florida, the eligibility requirements of the SSDI program, what documents you'll need, and how to appeal a denied claim.

Car accidents can put huge pressure on your finances. If you get in a car accident, read our car accident insurance claim process guide.

SSDI Application Process

The following five steps entail the SSDI application process. You must follow this process carefully to ensure that your disability claim is successful. 

1. Determining Eligibility

The first step when applying for SSDI in Florida is determining your eligibility. The medical condition that you must have must either prevent you from working and last for at least 12 months or may cause your death. A sufficient number of work credits is also required to qualify for SSDI benefits. SSA's online benefits calculator or a Social Security representative can help you determine your eligibility for SSDI benefits.

2. Organize Your Medical Records

Gather all of your disability-related medical records before applying for SSDI. Include any medical documents, including doctor's notes, test results, etc. Keep your medical records organized and available for SSA to verify your claim. Your doctors can help you with medical records if you can't access them.

3. File Your Disability Claim

Once you determine your SSDI eligibility and gather your medical records, you can file your initial claim. Applying for a disability can be done at your local Social Security office in Florida, over the phone, or online.

4. Wait For The Outcome Of Your Claim

Once you file your initial application, the SSA will evaluate your claim over a few months. The SSA may request more information or medical records during this time. You can appeal your initial claim denial. You can increase your chances of success during your appeal with the help of an experienced SSDI attorney.

5. Your Benefits Commence

Your SSDI benefits will begin once your initial claim is approved. Disability severity and work history will determine how much you receive. The SSDI recipient is also eligible for Medicare after two years. For persons with disabilities, Medicare can provide valuable healthcare coverage.

Eligibility Requirements For Social Security Disability In Florida

To be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in Florida, you must meet the eligibility requirements set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA uses a strict definition of disability, and applicants must meet specific criteria to be considered for SSD benefits. The following are the eligibility requirements for Social Security Disability.

Medical Conditions Requirement

If you meet the SSA's definition of disability, you can qualify for SSD benefits. As defined by the Social Security Administration, a disability is a condition that prevents claimants from working for at least one year or is expected to lead to their death. 

A list of impairments considered severe by the SSA to prevent employment is included in the SSA's Blue Book. The SSA automatically qualifies you if your condition is listed in this book. However, you may qualify if your condition needs to be listed but matches one in the Blue Book.

Work Credits Requirement

SSD benefits are only available if you have earned enough work credits calculated based on your income and work experience. You generally need to earn 40 credits, 20 of which should have been earned within the last ten years. 

Your age and when your disability manifested determine the number of work credits you need. The SSA uses a complex formula to determine whether you are eligible for benefits.

Income and Resource Limits

SSD benefits are also subject to income and resource limits. The SSA uses a means test to determine eligibility. If you earn more than certain limits, SSD benefits may not be available. The means test does not apply to your primary residence and belongings.

Inability To Work

Disability benefits are available if your medical condition prevents you from substantial gainful activity (SGA). According to the SSA, a non-blind individual can receive $1,470 monthly, while a blind individual can receive $2,460 monthly in 2023. The SSA may deny SSD benefits if you earn more than the SGA limit.

Documentation Needed to Apply for Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires all the necessary documentation to support your SSD claim when applying for SSD benefits. Your chances of getting approved for benefits increase when you submit complete and accurate documentation. The following are important documents you must provide the SSA when applying for SSD benefits.

  • Medical Records that include doctor's notes, hospital records, test results, and other documentation related to your medical condition.
  • Documents related to your work history with the names and addresses of your employers, the dates of each employment, and information regarding your job duties and earnings
  • Educational and Training Records
  • Financial Records
  • Contact information of your employers and doctors

Appealing The Denial Of Your Claim

If your SSD application is denied, you can appeal. A successful appeal can be difficult, but you may have a chance with the right information and guidance. 

You can appeal using the following options if your SSD claim has been deniedIn the event that your SSD application is denied, you can appeal. A successful appeal can be difficult, but you may have a chance with the right information and guidance. You can appeal using the following steps if your SSD claim is denied.

Reconsideration Request 

Your first option to appeal a denial is a request for reconsideration. After receiving the denial notice, you have 60 days to request reconsideration. You will receive a second opinion from an examiner who wasn't involved in the first decision. 

Reconsideration requests can be filed online or by contacting your local SSA office. Any additional documentation you can provide should also be included.

Request A Hearing

You can get a hearing with an administrative law judge if your reconsideration request is denied. After receiving the denial notice, you have 60 days to request a hearing. Your claim will be supported by evidence and testimony at the hearing. Your witnesses can testify as well.

Appeals Council Review

The Appeals Council reviews are available if the ALJ denies your claim. You must file your review request within 60 days of the ALJ's decision. A review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council will determine if any errors occurred. During the hearing, you have a chance to present new evidence.

Federal Court Review

Your claim can be challenged in federal court if denied by the Appeals Council. The judge will determine whether the SSA's decision was based on substantial evidence during the court review. Sometimes, the judge will return your case to the SSA for further scrutiny.

In conclusion, we have covered everything you need to know about how to apply for Social Security disability in Florida. Before you file a claim, you must check whether you are medically eligible under the SSA's criteria, organize your medical records to support your claim, check if you have sufficient work credits to apply for disability benefits and compile the necessary documents to submit with your claim. 

If your claim is rejected, you can appeal the denial of your initial application. You should find an experienced SSDI attorney to assist you through the application process.

Applying for Social Security benefits can be quite frustrating. For more information on the various programs that can help, their qualification criteria, and how to apply, explore the rest of Disability Help's resources. Before you file your disability application, read our article about useful tips when filing for disability.

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Cheri Hermanson
Cheri leads our team of writers in producing the best quality content there is regarding society and disability, most especially those that helps ease the quality of life for our differently-abled loved ones.
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