For victims with disabling medical conditions, understanding the requirements needed to establish SSDI entitlement will streamline the process and improve the chances for a successful claim. A Social Security disability attorney can provide clients with advice and legal representation as they proceed through the SSDI claims process.

Approximately 71 percent of people in Illinois who file for Social Security disability benefits are declined. In many cases, victims are declined because their claims simply didn’t include the necessary information. Following a life changing medical diagnosis, entitlement for SSDI should be established as early as possible and care must be taken to avoid being denied benefits.

The Illinois Department of Human Services has a webpage dedicated helping people with a qualifying disability get started. The page details who can receive the services, how the services are provided, and other information about the program. However, it may be necessary to contact a Social Security disability attorney for more information and guidance.


The first step in the process is to prove that a person qualifies for SSDI benefits. The applicant must provide proof of at least one physical or mental disability that prevents him or her from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). Social Security also uses non-medical criteria to establish entitlement. Applicants must have sufficient work credits to be insured under SSDI or income and assets must be low enough to qualify for SSI.


Once proof is provided, the application will be reviewed to determine if a person qualifies for SSDI benefits. This is done by the Illinois Disability Determination Services agency. The agent responsible for the case will often seek out additional evidence and verification to make a determination.

The agent then compares the impairment against a list of qualifying disabilities. Less than a quarter of applications are approved through this means. Most are considered in a more rigorous review that includes assessing the applicant’s limitations, then assessing how severe those limitations are.


A person who qualifies during one period may not be eligible the next, depending on recovery and need. A review period will usually be established during the initial assessment, and the applicant will need to prepare for the review process based on the timeline provided.


Establishing SSDI entitlement for children is different from establishing adult benefits because a child’s abilities are considerably different from an adult’s. A child’s limitations are based on age group instead of his or her financial earning potential.