The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides 2 programs for disabled people: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSD); those programs involve social benefits to people who meet rigorous medical requirements.
In the State of Virginia, 5% of approximately 5 million residents receive the SSA’s benefits, and thousands of citizens apply to get those payments yearly. However, although a huge percentage of people submit claims to the SSA, only half of them are approved.
If you live in Virginia, in this article, we will show the requirements and how to apply.
Virginia disability requirements
If you are suffering from a medical condition that makes it difficult for you to fulfill the basic tasks of your work, you may be qualified for disability benefits.
In Virginia, the conditions to enter the program are the same listed by the SSA, such as:
- You need to have worked in jobs covered by Social Security.
- Your medical condition must meet the “disability” definition. It means that it cannot be short-term; or it has to be expected to last at least a year or result in death.
- Because of your medical condition, you cannot work the way you did before.
- Not all diseases automatically qualify you to get the benefits. The SSA issues a manual called the “Blue Book” with a list of mental and physical conditions they consider severe enough; in 2020 the list has been updated; those impairments are:
- Cardiovascular conditions.
- Musculoskeletal problems.
- Respiratory illnesses.
- Mental disorders.
- Skin disorders.
- Hematological diseases.
- Senses and speech issues.
- Neurological disorders.
- Immune systems disorders.
- Digestive tract problems.
- Kidney and genitourinary diseases.
If you do not suffer from any of these diseases, you can still apply but the process may take longer because the SSA will closely review your case to validate your condition as a disability.
Also, if you actually suffer a disease but your medical condition does not last at least a year, or you are still capable of working, your claim can be denied.
How to apply?
Before you file your claim, you should available information and documents related to:
- Your Social Security number.
- Your birth certificate or other proof of birth.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal foreign status.
Your medical condition information
- Name, phone number, and addresses of your doctors and the hospitals where you were treated.
- Your patient identification numbers.
- Medical records like your medicine’s prescription, test results, and doctor’s reports.
- A list of at jobs you had at least the last 15 years with dates, names, and addresses of your employers.
- A copy of your Social Security Statement.
- The sum of your wages for the last year and the actual year.
- Documents of any compensation-type benefits you received, like award letters or settlement agreements.
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Note that those are general items; you should visit the SSA official page for detailed information.
On the other hand, there are 3 ways to apply for disability benefits:
This is the most recommended way to do it. You need to enter to the SSA official website and create an account. The page will guide you to respond and complete all the information required. Also, you can download this PDF to verify what information you need to apply electronically.
On the other hand, once the SSA has reviewed your application for basic eligibility criteria, they submit it to one of the 32 Virginia’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) offices. The examiners will look at your application to verify whether you meet the disability requirements.
Besides, you will receive a request for your medical records form the sources you have provided by the time you filed your application, in order to confirm the information.
You can go to the DDS agencies located at Fairfax, Richmond, Roanoke, and Norfolk and ask for information about how to file your disability application.
In this link, you can find your local office.
However, since May 17, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the offices are closed all over the country.
You can dial 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 7 am to 7 pm, Monday through Friday, and schedule an appointment with your local SSA office.
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