The United States federal government says that it will provide support to people who need it due to conditions that don’t allow them to work. Unfortunately, Monroe, NC applicants for Social Security Disability support often find out that the process is difficult.
If you can’t work because of an injury or illness, DeMayo Law Offices can help you file a claim for Social Security Disability. Or, if you filed a claim and were denied, we can help you with an appeal.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides financial relief to individuals with a disability who are unable to maintain their employment. It’s an important safety net for many Americans, but Social Security offices don’t make getting benefits easy. You may have to cut through red tape to get what you deserve or you might have your application denied for an unfair reason.
Our Monroe, NC Social Security Disability lawyers can advocate for your rights and seek the benefits you need on your behalf. You deserve respect and support, including money to treat your medical conditions and pay your household expenses. Call the compassionate attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices at (704) 291-9200 to set up a free consultation.
How Your Income Could Affect Your Benefit Payments
First, you must have a physical or mental impairment that prevents work to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. You must also meet income requirements. The Social Security Administration (SSA) decides how much an injured person can make monthly and still qualify for benefits. If you earn higher than the limit, you won’t be eligible for benefits.
To receive SSDI benefits, your impairment must be one that:
- Is expected to last for at least one year;
- Has lasted longer than a year; or
- Will probably result in death.
Some other factors that affect eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits include:
- Recent work history
- An adequate history of employment
If your work history isn’t substantial enough and your income, assets and resources are low , you might be able to file a Supplemental Security Income claim.
How Are Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income Different?
SSDI and SSI are not the same. Each is only available to a separate pool of qualified applicants. Those with a disability who have enough employment history and earn no more than the monthly maximum can apply for SSDI. On the other hand, SSI provides support to individuals from low-income households who were never employed or have a limited employment history.
Social Security Disability
Funding for SSDI benefits comes from the payroll taxes that the federal government takes out of your paychecks. There is a five-month waiting period before an individual will become financially eligible to receive benefits. That means you must be disabled for five full months before you become eligible for payments.
Your benefits will depend on your average wages in jobs you have held over your entire work history. Once you become eligible for SSDI benefits and have received two years of benefits, you may qualify for Medicare coverage. Your spouse or minor child could also receive SSDI benefits.
Supplemental Security Income
SSI payments come from general fund taxes instead of payroll taxes. The Social Security office doesn’t use work history to determine eligibility like SSD. Instead, they look at assets and income in your household.
To qualify for SSI benefits, you must earn limited income and possess no more than $2,000 in assets if you’re an individual. If you’re married, you can own no more than $3,000 in assets as a couple.
SSI recipients may also qualify for Medicaid and SNAP benefits. Qualified applicants are potentially eligible to receive their first payment in the first full month after applying rather than after a five-month waiting period.
When Should I Apply for Social Security Disability?
You must have a disability that has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months to qualify for SSDI benefits. You should not wait to file a claim for SSDI benefits, however.
Unfortunately, the initial application often takes a long time. You could wait months before receiving an answer from the Social Security Administration. If they deny you, an attorney at DeMayo Law Offices can help you file an appeal, a process that can also take time.
After you file for Social Security Disability Insurance, the Federal Social Security Administration will review your application and determine if you meet all of the requirements. Then, a representative from the SSA will send your request to the state’s agency for review, where they will approve or deny it.
The agency will consider five factors when deciding if the application is eligible for SSDI benefits:
- If the disabled person is currently working
- If the applicant’s condition is severe enough to interfere with their ability to work
- If the applicant’s impairment is severe enough to create a presumption of disability
- If they can still perform relevant jobs, performed within the prior 15 year period
- If there are other jobs the applicant might be able to perform that are not as physically or mentally demanding as the applicant’s prior work
Once the state’s agency makes a decision, they will send the application back to the Social Security Administration. The SSA will either agree or disagree with North Carolina’s decision and mail the answer to you.
Find Out if Your Condition Qualifies You for SSD Benefits
The Social Security Administration publishes a list of diseases, conditions, and disorders that may allow an applicant to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. They include the following:
- Musculoskeletal system issues like a spinal injury or joint problems
- Mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety
- Neurological disorders, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or Alzheimer’s
- Vision or hearing loss
- Marfan Syndrome, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and other syndromes
- Immune system disorders like HIV and lupus
- Hematological disorders, such as anemia
- Skin disorders like dermatitis, burns, and bullous diseases
- Respiratory disorders, such as COPD, asthma, or cystic fibrosis
- Cardiovascular system problems like heart failure
- Digestive tract conditions, such as IBD and short bowel syndrome
- Congenital disorders that affect multiple bodily systems
- Genitourinary disorders
Methods for Filing a SSD Claim
You can choose from four different methods to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Each one comes with advantages and disadvantages. An attorney can help you navigate the options if you’re overwhelmed.
You can speak with a Social Security claims representative by calling 1-800-772-1213. The person you talk to will answer your questions and take down some basic information. After the call, you’ll receive paperwork in the mail that you’ll need to complete.
You can apply online, following the instructions on this link. The website is user friendly and includes detailed information that explains the process. Even if you’re unfamiliar with computers, you shouldn’t have a hard time filing your claim online.
If you would rather apply for benefits in person, you’ll need to schedule an appointment at a Social Security office. Bring your identification with you, as well as other relevant information, such as your medical records.
Applying by mail is another simple option. Call the Social Security Administration and request the necessary documents you’ll need to complete. Just like applying online, filling out the forms and mailing them in allows for flexibility. You can take your time, verify the information on the application, and take a break if necessary.
When you apply for Social Security Disability, you should include any evidence you have of your condition. Medical records are crucial because they’ll identify the disability you have and why it prevents you from working.
If you have copies of all your medical records, submit them to the Social Security Administration with your application. You could also send them a signed form that authorizes them to request your files directly from your medical providers.
If your treatment is ongoing, be sure to communicate your status to the SSA. If you see a new doctor or begin a new treatment plan, you should let the representative assigned to your claim know about it so they can request your additional records.
SSA might require you to undergo an independent medical examination. That’s an appointment where SSA pays a doctor to perform their own evaluation of your medical condition to determine if they agree with your doctor’s diagnosis of your disability.
Common Reasons for SSDI Claims Denials
The Social Security Administration requires complete and accurate information in every claim they receive. It’s good to understand why representatives deny applications to avoid making common mistakes in the application process. Below are the most common reasons for Social Security Disability denials:
- Previously denied claim: If you already applied for SSDI benefits and were denied, resubmitting a claim may also result in a denial. The best way to avoid this is by filing an appeal.
- Failure to follow the process: Each step of the claims process is essential. If you skip anything, you risk the SSA representative denying your application. When you begin, make sure you complete each of the steps below:
- Submit the necessary documentation by the deadline.
- Attend all doctor appointments, including the independent medical examination.
- Follow the treatment plan provided by all your doctors.
- Lack of medical evidence: The medical records you send to the SSA must include details about your disability. Your doctors should state the exact injury or illness you have and why it prevents you from adequately performing your job.
- Failure to treat your disability: If you don’t undergo consistent treatment, you likely won’t qualify for benefits. You need to seek ongoing and consistent medical care after getting sick or hurt.
Get Help with Your Social Security Disability Claim or Denial
Our Monroe, NC Social Security Disability lawyers have experience assisting our clients with their SSD applications and denied claims. Whether you’re beginning the process or trying to prove your rights to benefits in an appeal, DeMayo Law Offices can help.
We know how to handle SSD procedures and will take care of every step for you. We understand it’s stressful to be out of work because of an injury or illness. When you hire us, we’ll work on the complex legalities so you can focus on your medical treatment.
To learn more about our experience with Social Security Disability claims and denials, call DeMayo Law Offices at (704) 291-9200.