How to Apply for Disability in Florida Successfully
The process for applying for disability varies from state to state, especially when it comes to the approval rate and waiting time. 6 out of 10 requests are rejected in Florida. In 2020, only 36% of initial Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applications were approved in the state, which is lower than the national average, which is 38.4%. While this may sound worrying, there is no need to panic because you’ve got people like Trajector, who can help you throughout the process.
For starters, we shall answer all the questions applicants struggle with when applying for social security disability benefits in Florida.
Let’s dive in.
What Qualifies for Disability in Florida?
Here are the essential elements of any disability application in Florida:
1. You’re no longer able to work
The SSA has a very strict policy on work when it comes to disability benefits. You have to be unable to resume work within a year after your injury and be unable to engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). The latter is different for every disability, and the qualifications change annually and by state.
2. Your condition is very severe
For your claim to be considered, you must have acquired mental and physical impairments that prevent you from engaging in basic work-related activities for at least 12 months. This includes simple activities like standing, sitting, or remembering.
3. Your condition is in the list of the disabling conditions
The SSA has a list of medical conditions that are considered severe enough to prevent you from engaging in SGA. If your condition isn’t on the list, the board must decide whether it holds equal magnitude to another condition on their list. You can check out the SSA’s criteria if you’re unsure of what conditions automatically apply for disability.
4. You can’t do the work you previously did
Also known as vocational rehabilitation. If your condition is severe but wasn’t on the list of medical conditions eligible for SSDI, the next step is determining whether you can still perform your previous job. If your impairments don’t interfere with the work you were doing earlier, your application is denied. However, to help disability determination services approve you, you can find someone experienced to prove to the SSA that you can no longer do your previous job, and thus be eligible for vocational rehabilitation.
5. You’re not able to reasonably transition to a different role
If you can’t do your previous job, disability determination services will see if you can transition to a different role. This will be based on your health condition, age, past experiences, education, etc. If you can do any other work, your claim will be denied.
How Can I Apply for Disability in Florida?
To apply for disability insurance, you need to follow these five steps:
- Determine whether you’re eligible for the SSI or SSDI. For you to be eligible, your impairment has to stop you from working for at least 12 months after the injury. Kindly refer to our previous section to evaluate whether you’re eligible.
- Gather all the evidence you have. To increase your chances of getting approved, gather all the information you have to support your claim. This includes medical records and statements from medical practitioners and co-workers.
- File your claim with the SSA. After you’ve gathered enough data, go ahead and file your claim. Your options include the following:
- Applying online at the Social Security website
- Applying by phone at 1-800-772-1213 between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Monday- Friday
- In-person. If you choose this option, make sure you make an appointment in advance
Your application is processed at the local office and a state of Florida agency, which will issue an initial decision on your claim.
- Wait for the response. This will take 3-5 months, after which you’ll start receiving money if your claim is approved.
- File for an appeal. If your initial request is rejected, you’re given 60 days to file for an appeal. It’s advisable to hire an attorney for this part. During the appeal, you’ll go through the following steps:
- Reconsideration. A different SSA officer reviews your application. This can include any new evidence you may present to support your claim.
- Hearing. You can request a hearing if reconsideration doesn’t yield the desired results. During the hearing, your lawyer will present your case, call witnesses and provide evidence to support your claim.
- Appeal council. Unfortunately, some claims are still denied even after a hearing. If this happens, you can request a reassessment with the Social Security Appeals Council.
- Federal court lawsuit. If your claim is still denied, your lawyer can file a lawsuit.
Here are popular questions that pop up when applying for disability insurance:
How much does disability pay in Florida?
$800 – $1800
It’s worth noting that the severity of your injury doesn’t determine the amount you receive for your SSDI. It’s based on the lifetime average earnings before your impairment. You can use the online benefits calculator to estimate your monthly benefits.
What additional benefits does the state of Florida offer?
Besides the SSDI, Florida residents can apply for the following benefits:
- Florida Medicaid. This state and federal partnership offer health coverage for qualified individuals in Florida.
- Supplement Security Income (SSI). To qualify for the SSI in Florida, you must prove you are disabled, blind, or above 65 years old. Florida has also increased supplement disability payments for residents in Medicaid facilities or community care programs.
- Florida unemployment. Unemployment insurance benefits are also known as reemployment assistance benefits in Florida. The program offers temporary financial assistance to individuals who have lost employment through no fault of their own. For this program, beneficiaries must be physically and mentally healthy to work again.
Can you work while on disability in Florida?
Yes, you can work while on disability to supplement your disability income or keep busy. However, your benefits might be at risk if your income exceeds the SGA, which is about $1350 in 2022.
How Can Trajector Help Me?
The process of applying for disability benefits can be emotionally and mentally overwhelming. In addition, the legal requirements can be confusing and intimidating.
That’s where we come in.
Trajector help increase your chances of being approved by developing medical evidence to navigate the rough journey. Trajector creates awareness for their clients, navigates the paperwork associated with social security benefits, and simplifies all the burdensome procedures and complex eligibility requirements that come with applying for disability anywhere in the United States.
If you’re still feeling stuck, please contact us for a free quote, and we will help you through your journey.