If you are coping with a debilitating illness, disability, or injury, it can be a daily struggle. A serious impairment can happen unexpectedly as the result of an unfortunate accident. If this is true for you, it may have come as a shock, leaving you needing to rearrange your life and adjust to your new circumstances and limitations. In addition to the physical adjustments, you must cope with the emotional impact as well. If you have an injury that impacts your ability to work, you may be eligible to receive either SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or SSDI (Social Security Disability Income) benefits, depending on your circumstances. These benefits can also extend to a spouse and/or unmarried children. Starting the process to file for disability in Rhode Island might seem like a daunting task. You may be unsure of where to start, or if you are even eligible to receive these benefits. Since it can be a long process, it begs the question: is it better to hire a disability lawyer, or handle it yourself? Let’s take a look at the process for filing in Rhode Island and when it might make sense to hire a lawyer.
What is the Process to File for Disability in Rhode Island?According to Rhode Island law, disability is defined as an “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s).” This disability would need to either last (or be expected to last) for at least 12 months or be expected to end in death. You can start the application process online, by phone, or at any Social Security office. Some of the documentation needed to apply for Social Security benefits include:
- Medical records
- Hospital and clinic visit dates
- Medication information
- Money earned in the past year
- Jobs held in the last 15 years
What does the DDS office look for to determine Social Security disability?The DDS office will look at information such as:
- Are you working?
- Is your medical condition “severe?”
- Can you do your previous type of work?
- Can you do a different type of work?
- Mental disorders (like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder)
- Musculoskeletal disorders (like an amputation or spinal curvature)
- Congenital disorders (like Down syndrome or fetal alcohol syndrome)
- Neurological disorders (like epilepsy or Huntington’s disease)