Social Security Disability benefits can mean the difference between a comfortable life and a constant struggle for those who need them. Unfortunately, applying for and receiving the benefits you need is much more complicated than filling out a form. You may need a qualified Social Security Disability attorney to help.
If you need help applying for Social Security Disability benefits or appealing a denied claim, contact DeMayo Law Offices today. Social Security Disability Insurance is designed to assist injured and ill individuals who can no longer work because of a disability. In a perfect world, you would start receiving payments immediately after applying. Many qualified applicants discover that the agency does a better job keeping people away from their services than making them available.
Before you apply, you should understand how social security disability benefits work. At DeMayo Law Offices, we have decades of experience helping our clients recover benefits the Social Security Administration owes them. If you believe you deserve SSDI payments, but they denied or delayed your claim, our Charlotte Social Security Disability lawyers are ready to advocate for your rights.
The Impact of Applicant’s Earnings on SSDI Benefits
You must have an impairment that prevents you from returning to work in order to qualify for benefits. The physical or mental impairment must prevent you from maintaining a job or performing necessary tasks. The Social Security Administration sets the maximum earnings an injured individual can earn monthly to receive Social Security Disability benefits. If your wages are above the maximum limit, you may not qualify.
Besides your earnings, you must also have a documented impairment that either:
- Is expected to last for a minimum of one year;
- Has lasted at least one year; or
- Will probably cause death.
Other factors that determine whether you can receive benefit payments through Social Security Disability Insurance include the following:
- Recency and amount of work history
If you don’t meet the work history requirements, have low income, and limited resources, you could apply for Supplemental Security Income.
When Should I File My Claim?
To file a claim, you must have a disability for at least twelve consecutive months. We recommend filing a claim right away to get the review process started.
The initial review and decision could take several months. Unfortunately, most people are denied. could the appeal process can take up to a year or longer.
When you submit your application, the federal Social Security Administration will review your documents. If you meet all requirements, a representative for the SSA forwards your request to the state agency to review for approval or denial.
There are five steps in the process to determine if applicants qualify for benefits:
- If the injured individual is currently working
- If the injury or medical condition is severe enough to prevent them from working
- If the impairment is severe enough to create a presumption that the individual is disabled
- If the person can perform the same tasks of the job they held before their disability
- If the person can make an adjustment to perform types of work that may not be as physically or mentally difficult to perform
Once the state agency finishes reviewing the application and makes a decision, they return it to the Social Security Administration, which will either agree with the decision or not. They’ll notify you by mail.
The Differences Between SSDI and SSI
SSDI and SSI are not interchangeable. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to disabled individuals who have an adequate work history. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) insurance is for those who have never worked, don’t have a substantial work history, or come from a low-income household.
Benefits for Social Security Disability are funded by payroll taxes taken out from your paycheck. There’s a waiting period of five months for all applicants, which means you can’t receive benefit payments until your disability keeps you out of work for at least five months.
The amount of money you receive will depend on your earnings while you were still working. If you receive SSDI coverage for two years, you could qualify for Medicare. Your spouse and minor children might also be able to receive SSDI benefits from Social Security.
General fund taxes provide payments for Supplemental Security Income benefits. Instead of using your work history to determine if you qualify, the agency reviews your assets and income.
To collect SSI payments, individuals must have a limited income and less than $2,000 in assets. Couples must have less than $3,000 in assets.
In most states, individuals who qualify for SSI are automatically eligible for Medicaid coverage as well as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
How to File a Claim for Social Security Disability
There are four methods you can use to file your claim for SSDI benefits.
Use this link to file for benefits online. The process is relatively straightforward, and the online application is user friendly. Even if you don’t have much experience with computers, you should be able to complete the form online.
If you choose this method, you must create an account with the Social Security Administration. There are options to save your application and come back to it later if necessary.
Call 1-800-772-1213 to speak to a Social Security claims representative. They will walk you through the process and take your information. After the call, they will send you paperwork to complete so you can start the initial application on your own.
If you want to apply by mail, you can request the appropriate forms from the Social Security Administration. Fill them out and mail them back. One of the advantages of applying by mail is you can take your time. You’ll have time to take breaks and return to the forms at a later time.
Schedule an appointment with your local Social Security office and complete the application in person. SSA employees will provide some assistance.
When you’re applying for benefits, you’ll need to show identification and include other important information.
If you already have copies of all your medical records, you can provide them to the SSA office. Or you can sign a form that allows them to request the records on your behalf.
You should make sure to update the SSA on any additional treatment you receive after submitting your initial application. You might also have to attend an independent medical examination by a doctor of that the agency chooses to confirm your disability.
Types of Social Security Disability Benefits
Depending on your specific circumstances, there are different benefits you can apply for:
- Disability insurance: This is for a disabled person who can’t work due to their injury or illness.
- Disabled widow or widower benefits: Benefits designated for people at least 50-years-old who became disabled within a specific period after their spouse passed away, were married for a sufficient period of time, and had their deceased spouse pay into Social Security Insurance for a sufficient period.
- Disabled Adult Child: These benefits are for the child of a person who passed away or is collecting SSDI benefits for themselves. To qualify, the child must become disabled before turning 22-years-old.
Why Was My Social Security Disability Claim Denied?
There are multiple reasons why an SSA representative may deny your claim. The most common reasons include:
- Lack of sufficient medical evidence: Your medical records must state you have a severe medical condition that causes substantial limitations . If your doctor doesn’t include information about your disability, you’ll likely be denied benefits.
- Prior denial: If you received a denied application in the past and resubmit for benefits, the representative may deny your claim again. The best way to reapply is to file an appeal.
- Failure to receive treatment: You have to seek consistent medical care to qualify for benefits. If you skip appointments or don’t seek treatment for the medical condition or injury that disabled you, you won’t receive benefits.
- Failure to follow the claims process: If you don’t comply with any of the steps to apply for benefits, you’ll ruin your chances of approval. When you apply, make sure you: (1) Submit the required documentation promptly. (2) Show up to all scheduled doctor appointments, including the independent medical exam. (3) Complete the necessary treatment of your injury or illness.
Qualifying Medical Conditions from the Social Security Administration
If you’re wondering whether your injury qualifies you for SSDI benefits, review the list below. Qualifying SSDI medical conditions include:
- Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
- Immune system disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis and HIV/AIDS
- Musculoskeletal issues, such as back, neck and other joint injuries
- Loss of hearing or vision
- Skin disorders, such as dermatitis
- Cardiovascular conditions, such as coronary artery disease or heart failure
- Syndromes like Marfan Syndrome or Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Mental disorders like anxiety, depression, or PTSD
- Hematological disorders like bone marrow failure and hemolytic anemias
- Respiratory illnesses, such as asthma or COPD
- Kidney disease and genitourinary problems
- Digestive tract issues, such as inflammatory bowel disease and liver disease
Speak to an Experienced Charlotte Social Security Disability Lawyer
DeMayo Law Offices believes you should receive the benefits owed to you by the Social Security Administration. After all, you paid into the program with every paycheck. If you got hurt or sick and can’t perform any type of job, contact us today at (704) 333-1000 for a free consultation. We’ll discuss your options and help you through the claims process.
We understand how stressful it is to have a disability that prevents you from earning a living. We’ll work hard to ensure you receive the benefit payments you need to pay for medical treatment and support yourself and your family.