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social security application
I want to apply for early social security due to a previous auto accident
Asked on June 10, 2009 under Accident Law, Ohio
M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 11 years ago | Contributor
I'm not quite certain what you mean by "early social security". You can take social security as early as age 62, although with reduced benefits. But you are referring to an injury here. If that's the case and you are younger than 62, I think what you want to apply for is Social Security Disability.
To qualify for benefits, you must first have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. Then you must have a medical condition that meets Social Security's definition of disability. In general, monthly cash benefits are paid to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability.
The proof to show this is quite strict. I know because I just went through this with a family member. The process can take a year or more. What you need to do first is to contact your local social security office. They will arrange for a sit-down meeting, or if you are unable to travel, they will co-ordinate a telephone call with you at your home. Have all of your financial and personal papers ready - everything - bank statements, mortgage statement, social security number, birth certificate, medical information, etc.
Within a few weeks you will recieve a packet of information with forms, forms and more forms to fill out. You will need to document all of your medical issues. They will want a list of doctors, how many appointments you have had with them, and when. They will also want a list of all of your medications and the dosages for them. You then submit these documents for approval.
Virtually everyone is denied at this stage, so unless you get lucky, you get to go through the process all over again. If you are denied a second time then you can ask for a hearing and go through everything a third time in person. If you are denied at the hearing that's pretty much it. However, if your situation is strong enough, an administrative law judge may waive the hearing and approve your claim (that was my personal experience).
Quite honestly it is a tedious process. You may want to hire an attorney to help you. By the time we were denied the second time that's what I did - and I'm a lawyer myself! It's just that it's so much better to be represented by an attorney who does nothing but social security disability claims. Look for the folks that advertise incessantly on TV - they are actually quite good, or try www.AttorneyPages.com. There is no up front fee with some attorneys. They will be paid from your "lump sum check" (typically 25%). If approved you will get your monthly allowance plus a lump sum equaling the amount of your approved benefit from 5 months after you became disabled up to the time that you receive your first regular monthly check.
Best of luck.