Have you ever wondered how to file for disability in Virginia? You may want to know if you qualify for social security disability insurance or find out what social security insurance benefits you can receive. Applying for disability can be a complex and long drawn-out process, and there is always a possibility of being denied. 

This article aims to clear up the confusion and misconceptions surrounding disability applications in Virginia. Here you can find out whether you qualify, what you need to do to prove disability, and how you can get the benefits you deserve. 

What qualifies for disability in Virginia?

To qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD), you must prove that you are disabled. The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines “disability” as:

  • Inability to perform your previous work or another job
  • Having a debilitating medical condition lasting 12 months or more. The condition should also be expected to last more than 12 months or result in death. 
  • Inability to engage in “substantial gainful activity.”  

Unlike the Veterans Administration, Worker’s Compensation, and other programs, the Social Security Administration does not categorize applicants as “partially” or “temporarily” disabled. Instead, to qualify for disability, you must be totally and permanently disabled. The Virginia Disability Determination Service will assess this

Is it difficult to get approved for disability in Virginia?

In 2021, the approval rates for initial application and reconsideration for disability benefits in Virginia were higher than the national average. However, the state garnered lower approval ratings for the hearing stage. 

In 2021, the state ranked 11th in percentage approval during the initial applications stage. Initial application approval rates in Virginia have improved significantly over the past several years; now, they lead about 5% above the national average.

How can I apply for disability in Virginia?

Qualifying for disability in Virginia hinges largely on meeting work requirements. Applicants should have worked at the job where they were paying Social Security for a minimum of five years, or 20 calendar quarters of the 10 years before they were disabled.  

To apply for disability benefits, visit your local Social Security Administration Office and present a picture ID. Alternatively, you may call the SSA offices at 1-800-772-1213 or apply online.

If you are unable to complete the forms and documentation, you can request assistance from Social Security Administrationpersonnel, who are legally required to help you with the application process. It is best to make an appointment if you need assistance. Otherwise, there may not be anyone available to assist you. 

Everyone has a legal right to apply for social security disability benefits. If you are told that you aren’t eligible, you are within your rights to proceed with the application anyway. For their part, the SSA staff must accept your application and provide you with a written decision in return.

You should also be informed of your right to appeal for reconsideration if you are denied. If necessary, you could get SSD VA legal aid assistance.

Can I submit an online application?

You can submit a disability online application, subject to the following requirements: 

  • You should be at least 18 years old 
  • You should not be currently receiving Social Security benefits 
  • You are unable to work due to a medical condition that you expect to last a minimum 12 months or that will result in death
  • You have not been denied disability benefits within the past 60 days

This is the process for applying for SSD benefits online:

  1. Download the Adult Disability Checklist. This contains the information you need to file a social security disability application form.
  2. Fill out the Disability Benefit Application form
  3. Fill out the Medical Release Form

It would also be best to have the following information prepared:

  • Personal information such as birth date, place of birth, and Social Security number
  • Information about your medical condition, including medication, treatment dates, and the contact information of doctors and medical facilities where you received treatment 
  • Work information, including income earned during the previous and current year and your employer’s contact information
  • Birth certificate or other documents proving birth 
  • Documents proving U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status 
  • Discharge papers from the U.S. military if you were in the service before 1968
  • W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns from the previous year

How long can I expect to wait to be approved?

Approval times for social security disability benefits can vary considerably from case to case. Some applications can be approved as quickly as a month after submitting the requirements. In some cases, it could take over a year. 

Some factors that could affect wait times are the complexity of the situation and the workload of the local Social Security Adminsitration office. Incomplete documentation could also delay or stall the process or result in rejection. 

Wait times in Virginia are about as long as the national average. 

How much does disability pay in Virginia?

After being approved for disability benefits, the amount you will receive every month will depend on how much you paid into the Social Security program with your income during your working period. Therefore, the actual amount could vary considerably from person to person.   

Can you work while on disability in Virginia?

As explained previously, approval for disability depends largely on proving that you cannot work. This generally means that you cannot claim benefits if you continue working. 

However, you may be allowed to work at a limited capacity or for a limited period and still claim Social Security disability benefits. The main deciding factor is your inability to perform substantial gainful activity. 

If you earn more than $1,090 a month, the SSA will consider you gainfully employed and, thus, ineligible for benefits. The same goes for working for a period that the SSA considers excessively long for people with disabilities. 

How much cash assistance can you receive in Virginia?

Suppose you do not qualify for social security disability benefits. In that case, you may be eligible for cash assistance via the SSA’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This grants you a flat sum that you could use to pay for food and housing.

The Supplemental Security Income pays a maximum of $2000 for individuals and $3000 for couples every month. When approved, you will receive the monthly benefits from the date you initially applied for the program. However, if the SSA determines that you aren’t paying your share of household expenses, a third of the benefits you would otherwise receive will be withheld.

What additional benefits does the state of Virginia offer?

Disabled individuals may also be eligible for “auxiliary grants.” These are supplemental payments that may be used for long-term care expenses. 

This cash benefit is offered by the Virginia Department of Social Services (DSS).  It is available to Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries or those denied SSI benefits due to excessive income. It is also offered to individuals residing in foster homes or assisted living facilities. 

Auxiliary grants pay out $1,223 per month for each person. Residents of Northern Virginia receive $1,406 per month to account for the region’s higher cost of living.

Auxiliary grant beneficiaries may also receive an additional $82 monthly for personal needs.

What should I know before applying for disability in Virginia?

You can greatly increase your chances of being approved for disability benefits by knowing what documents you must submit to prove disability, what conditions automatically apply for disability, and which disability benefits programs you qualify for. 

It is also crucial to maintain a consistent and continuous record of healthcare. If you are no longer on health insurance because of your condition, it is advisable to apply for Medicaid.

Finally, it would also help your chances considerably to understand the process of applying for benefits and to be persistent. Remember that approval can take anywhere from a month to a year. You may file an appeal contesting the decision if denied within 60 days.  

How can Trajector help me?

Trajector assists people with disabilities to receive benefits for which they are qualified due to medical, legal, and ethical reasons. The company gathers and collates medical evidence that disability applicants can use to navigate the complicated benefits claims process. 

Trajector comprises several companies, including Trajector Medical, which develops medical evidence supporting disability claims; Trajector Disability, which offers advocacy services supporting SSD claims; and Trajector Legal, which provides legal representation to personal injury claimants. 

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