Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Delaware
Obesity is a major health concern in Delaware. Close to one-third of Delaware residents are considered obese. This state ranks 32 on America’s State Health Rankings and 33 on its obesity list. Obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, are projected to be on the rise. Obesity also has an impact on the musculoskeletal system sometimes causing debilities that prevent people from working. About 40% on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiary list receive SSDI benefits for diseases related to the musculoskeletal system and circulatory system.
If you have been unable to work because of a permanent or temporary (lasting at least one year) disability you may qualify for receiving SSDI benefits. The SSDI eligibility criteria include:
- Meeting a medical condition listed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book or having a disability that is equivalent to a Blue Book listing.
- Being unable to engage in substantial gainful activity for at least a year.
- Having earned enough work credits in the Social Security system.
In Delaware about 33% of the applicants are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level.
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Delaware
About 12.7% of residents in Delaware suffer from a disability, but not all of them will qualify for SSDI benefits. There are two ways you can receive SSDI benefits. One is by meeting an exact condition in the Blue Book. If your medical condition is an exact match to one or more conditions in the Blue Book the processing of your approval is usually quick and easy. The SSA computer systems are able to identify such cases and move them to the top of the list for faster facilitation. Severe or terminal cases are given high priority.
The vast majority of applicants, however, will not meet an exact listing in the Blue Book but can still receive SSDI benefits through a medical vocational allowance.
To determine whether you can receive a medical vocational allowance the SSA will review your medical and work history which includes the last 15 years of your work records. It will evaluate your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) to assess your mental and physical capabilities. They may consult with medical and vocational experts or require you to undergo further diagnostics to help them make a determination. Your work history along with the RFC results will help the SSA evaluate whether you can return to your work or gain employment elsewhere where your skills can be transferred. The SSA will approve a medical vocational allowance only to those applicants who cannot return to their previous work or work at any other job in order to earn a substantial livelihood.
The entire process can take 3 to 5 months, sometimes longer if there is a backlog in the SSA system. There are several reasons for delays. It often takes time to retrieve medical records from the listed treatment sources. A common reason for delays is when claimants fail to file complete and accurate information. It is important to give the names, addresses and contact information of treatment centers and doctors who have treated you. Claimants should know how the SSDI claims process works to help improve their chances of getting a claim approved at the earliest stage.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.
In the state of Delaware there are 5 Social Security offices. Applications can be made online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security office near you. While the SSA receives your application, a state agency is responsible for making a determination on your case. The SSA will transfer your case to a state agency called the Disability Determination Services (DDS) where your case is assigned to a Social Security Disability examiner. He will request for your medical records from the treatment centers you have listed and will make a determination based on all the information he has. The examiner will call you for an interview which may be via video or telephone if you are not able to come in person.
Only 33.1% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in Delaware. On average, about 67% in Delaware receive a denial notice. This is not the end, however. By going through the process of appeals, which consists of 4 stages, you have a much higher chance of success.
- Reconsideration: This stage is very similar to the initial application process. The only difference is that a different disability examiner reviews your file. The rate of approval at this stage in Delaware is 19.6%.
- The Court Hearing: Your case is presented before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). The ALJ acts independently of the decision made by the previous two disability examiners. You are allowed to present any evidence that demonstrates you meet the SSDI criteria for claims approval. In Delaware, the approval rate at the disability hearing level is 33.6%.
- The Appeals Council: The Council is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia. All appeals from across the country are considered here. After reviewing the evidence presented at the court hearing, the Council may reverse the decision of the ALJ, send it to another ALJ for a re-hearing, or deny the claim.
- Federal Review: Most claimants are advised to re-apply for SSDI benefits rather than taking your case through a federal review. This is expensive, time-consuming and least likely to end in your favor.
Appeals must be filed within 60 days of the date of the denial notice. The SSA will not accept an appeal that is filed late. Hiring an advocate at this stage would improve your chances of getting your claim approved by as much as 60%. This is because an advocate who specializes in SSDI claims knows exactly what kind of evidence is required and how it should be presented at the court hearing. They can also help establish an early disability onset date which may help you get more money in back pay.
If you know your disability could last a year or more and you are not able to work during this time, fill out our free disability evaluation form today. Take the first step and find out if you’re eligible.
The entire SSDI process can take more than a year. The sooner you apply, the quicker you can start receiving benefits. Fill the form on the right and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.
Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in Delaware
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Delaware State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
- Delaware Services and Programs for People with Disabilities and Other Impairments: This website provides a wide range of resources for people with developmental disabilities looking for assistance in care, support, residential services, and more.
- The LIHEAP assistance program: This is a federally funded energy bill assistance program. You may be able to receive financial help in the form of a grant or credit on an account. Low-income homes that have a disabled family member, an elderly person, or a young child are given priority.
- SNAP Benefits: This federal program may help seniors, low-income workers, those who are disabled, and others put nutritious food on the table. Benefits are given every month through an electronic benefits card which can be used at authorized local food stores.