Featured Image

Navigating the SSDI Redetermination Process for Continuing Benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a lifeline for many who are disabled and need financial assistance for their living expenses. After the initial approval process, your benefits may change as your circumstances do. This is done through a determination process. At some point, everyone who receives SSDI will go through the process, but it can be stressful, particularly if you don’t understand what you need to do. Having an attorney who is experienced in navigating the SSDI redetermination process can be helpful to determine the maximum benefits to which you are entitled.

Understanding SSDI Redetermination

Redetermination, simply put, is the process of reviewing your current disability benefits to verify that you still meet the eligibility requirements and that you are receiving the correct amount. While most benefit recipients will go through a determination process every 1-6 years, there are some other life changes that can trigger redetermination, such as marriage or divorce.

If your spouse or child is the one receiving benefits, you can still have your income, resources, and living arrangements considered during a redetermination process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider earned income (wages or earnings from a job or self-employment), unearned income (unemployment, cash from relatives, benefits), in-kind income (food or shelter received for free), and deemed income, which is the income of your spouse, parent, or other adult who is living with you. The more income you have, the less you will receive in benefits. Since income can change, the SSA will periodically review your file through redetermination.

Preparation for the Redetermination Process

When preparing for the determination process, the first step is to gather all the necessary documents and information requested by the Social Security office. The financial documents you will likely need include any pay stubs or income tax returns, proof of any additional income, bank statements, insurance policies, proof of any other assets or resources, and paperwork that demonstrates your household expenses such as rent receipts, utility bills, and any other relevant expenses. In addition, you will likely need to have up-to-date medical records available that will document any changes in your health and disability. While you may not need to provide all of this information, it is a good idea to have everything prepared so you can easily provide what is necessary for your particular case. If you are missing any paperwork, take the time before the process to get the correct copies in order.

Male office worker in a wheelchair. Disabled man sitting on wheelchair in office. Handicapped worker.

How an SSDI Attorney Can Help

Going through the redetermination process can be overwhelming and stressful, especially when your eligibility and future benefits are in question. Having an experienced SSDI attorney to help you through the process can take some of the burden off of you and increase your likelihood of keeping your benefits. These are just some of the ways an attorney can help you through the process.

  • Legal Expertise: The most important benefit from having an attorney during this process is the legal expertise they can provide. Attorneys experienced in disability law understand SSDI intricacies, laws, regulations, and redetermination procedures. They know what the Social Security office will need, what is involved in the process, and will guide you through the information that you need to provide to the redetermination board.
  • Case Evaluation: If you have had changes in your status, such as changes in income, resources, living arrangements, or life events (such as marriage or divorce), these changes can impact your eligibility. An attorney can look at your unique situation and assess your case strength, guide you on likeliness of success, and prepare any necessary legal documents for effective case presentation to the SSA.
  • Documentation Assistance: Having the right documents and paperwork can make the difference between losing and keeping your benefits, but gathering and organizing the necessary documentation can be overwhelming. Your attorney will aid in gathering and organizing any required medical, financial, and legal documents to help present your case.
  • Communication With the SSA: When you have an attorney, you can allow them to represent you and communicate with the Social Security Administration on your behalf. Attorneys will handle all communication with the Social Security Administration, including responding to inquiries in person or via the phone, submitting paperwork on your behalf, and ensuring timely and accurate information.
  • Representation in Appeals: There is always the chance that a redetermination may result in your benefits being discontinued. If your benefits are denied, your attorney can begin the appeals process to get you the outcome you are eligible for. An attorney can begin the appeal process by filing the right paperwork, represent you in appeals, build a stronger case, and present compelling arguments that can reverse the decision.
  • Navigating Complex Issues: Often there are complex issues present that can cause your redetermination process to be more difficult to navigate. When you have an attorney to represent you, they can navigate the complexities in all the legal aspects, ensuring proper, accurate, and better case presentation to the Social Security Administration.
  • Increased Chance of Success: Having your benefits stopped after a redetermination process can be devastating to many families who rely on those payments to keep them afloat. Legal representation may enhance success rates in obtaining and maintaining SSDI benefits. Attorneys understand the systems, how best to prepare your case and communicate with the Social Security review board, and ultimately improve the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

If you are receiving any benefits from the Social Security Administration, you will likely  have to go through the determination process to confirm you are still eligible for benefits and if the amount of benefits you are currently receiving is still accurate for your situation. After going through the initial qualification process, it can be stressful to think that you may need to justify your case again. Having an attorney on your side can help you easily navigate the process, ensure that you do not miss any deadlines or requests, and greatly increase your chances of keeping your benefits. Staying informed and proactive during the process is the key to success, and Arthur Law Firm can help you. If you are facing a redetermination process and are unsure about how to proceed, contact us right away (419) 782-9881 for a free consultation to discuss your case.