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How do I Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits in Arizona?

Posted in Worker's Compensation on December 18, 2023

Applying for Social Security disability benefits in the state of Arizona can seem terrifying, but the process does not have to be.

If you have a condition that you believe warrants receiving Social Security disability, moving forward with the application through the Social Security Administration is the first step in ensuring that you and your family receive the compensation you need. Here, our Phoenix attorneys who specialize in workers’ compensation want to review the basic steps involved with applying for Social Security disability benefits, but we encourage you to reach out to an attorney for assistance as you move forward with this process.

Do You Have a Disabling Condition?

To be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, the SSA requires that your condition significantly limits your ability to perform basic work activities for at least 12 months, including both physical and mental impairments.

The SSA maintains a list of specific medical conditions that automatically qualify as disabilities, but conditions not on this list may still be eligible if they are severe enough. It is crucial to provide comprehensive medical evidence demonstrating how your condition affects your ability to work. Remember, the SSA’s definition of disability is strict, such that short-term or partial disabilities typically do not qualify.

If your disabling condition arose due to a workplace injury or illness, please speak to a work injury lawyer in Arizona who can help you recover compensation for your losses. Additionally, it is not uncommon for individuals to start the Social Security Disability application process at the same time they are processing their workers’ compensation claim. If your injury is severe and you expect to be disabled for more than 12 months, it would be wise to get both processes started at the same time.

Where to Start the Application

Starting your Social Security disability benefits application in Arizona involves several steps. First, gather all necessary evidence and documentation, which can include medical records, work history, and personal identification. You can apply online at the SSA’s official website, over the phone, or in person at a local SSA office.

The online application provides a more accessible way to start the process from your home and is available around the clock. If you need personal assistance, you can schedule an appointment with your local SSA office. Make sure all information provided in your application is accurate and filled out completely to avoid unnecessary delays.

Follow the Appeals Process if Necessary

It is important to note that many first-time applicants for Social Security disability benefits face denial. In fact, sources indicate that about two-thirds of initial applications are denied. However, this should not deter you, as many of these decisions are overturned on appeal.

If your application is denied, follow the SSA’s appeals process, which includes several stages, beginning with a reconsideration, then a hearing by an administrative law judge, and finally a review by the Appeals Council. If necessary, a Federal Court review is the last available step. Do not restart the application process after a denial, as this will not improve your chances of approval and may prolong the process.

An experienced Social Security disability lawyer will be valuable during your appeals process. They can help gather additional evidence, prepare you for the hearing, and represent you in front of the judge.