If you are living with a debilitating illness or injury, it can dramatically impact your ability to work. When these disabilities impact your ability to support yourself, compensation could be available from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSA offers two types of benefit programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both programs provide disabled individuals the chance to obtain financial support. However, they each have their own strict eligibility requirements. A Carrollton Social Security Disability lawyer could assist with navigating the process of seeking benefits.
Defining Disabilities According to the SSA
The Social Security Administration has a strict definition of disability that must be met to qualify for benefits. To meet the SSA’s definition of disability your medical condition (physical or mental impairment) must be expected to last at least 12 months or will result in death.
To qualify for benefits, you will need to show that you are living with a disabling condition. Often, this is done by providing the SSA with a formal diagnosis of a recognized disability in the SSA Blue Book. The Blue Book is a publication that lists a wide range of disabling conditions. A diagnosis of any of these conditions qualifies as a disability. Some examples include:
- Endocrine disorders
- Skin disorders
- Mental disorders
- Immune system disorders
- Cardiovascular issues
It is possible to secure benefits even if you are not diagnosed with a condition listed in the Blue Book. However, it can take additional documentation and evidence of your symptoms. Our firm could work with you to ensure you have the documentation you need.
For a free legal consultation with a social security disability lawyer serving Carrollton, call 412-661-1400
The Differences Between SSDI and SSI
While the SSA operates both programs, there are significant differences between SSDI and SSI. In addition, the SSA strictly enforces the qualifications for both programs.
SSDI benefits are not paid for by the general funds of the United States. Instead, they are funded by payroll tax receipts. For that reason, SSDI benefits are limited to individuals who have spent substantial and recent time in the workforce. Therefore, if you do not have an adequate work history, you may not qualify for SSDI.
The SSA keeps track of your work history with something referred to as work credits. Work credits are used to track your full-time employment over recent years. For example, you can earn up to four work credits per year if you work 40 hours per week. The more work credits you have in the past decade, the more likely you are to be entitled to full benefits.
Benefits through SSI are not limited to those with an adequate work history. In fact, you could be entitled to SSI benefits even if you have never been employed. These benefits provide assistance to individuals who are disabled and have limited income. The income threshold for SSI benefits is very low. If you make too much, you will not qualify for SSI.
When the SSA calculates eligibility for SSI, they take into account more than just your income. In addition to paychecks or tips, they also consider your other assets. This includes everything you own, outside of a few exceptions. Even in-kind donations like a free place to stay may qualify as an “asset” that could limit your ability to obtain SSI.
Carrollton Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
Appealing Your Social Security Benefits Denial
The denial of your disability claim is not the end. You not only have the right to file an appeal following a denial, but you are also entitled to. We encourage you to file your appeal in a timely manner. An attorney from our firm could help with your Social Security Disability appeal.
The appeals process can take time. It is important that you file all appeals as soon as possible. A Social Security Disability Lawyer will guide you through the appeals process. It is critical that you have representation for your hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Request for Reconsideration
The first stage in the Social Security Disability appeals process is known as a request for reconsideration. At this stage, you are simply asking the SSA to reconsider your original outcome. This review is undertaken by someone other than the person that reviewed your case the first time.
If the request for reconsideration does not go your way, you have the right to pursue a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). While not a formal court proceeding, it does involve a hearing in front of an ALJ. You have the right to have an attorney represent you at these hearings.
Appeals Counsel Review
The last stage of an appeal within the SSA is the Appeals Counsel. This entity is not obligated to take up your appeal. Instead, they can pick and choose which cases to review. If the Counsel hears your appeal and sides with you, you will get the benefits you deserve. If they uphold your denial or refuse to hear your case at all, you have the right to a final appeal to federal court.
Federal Court Review
At the end of the process is the option to file an appeal in federal court. Similar to a civil lawsuit, you must file your appeal in order for your case to be heard by a federal judge. It is the judge’s role to determine if any errors occurred during your appeal.
Talk to A Social Security Disability Attorney About Your Disability Benefits
Before you file a Social Security disability claim on your own, it could be in your best interest to speak with an attorney. The Social Security disability attorneys of Berger and Green are ready to help you fight for the benefits that you deserve.
There is no benefit in delaying the disability claims or appeal process. You could already be entitled to benefits. Reach out right away for a free consultation with a Carrollton Social Security Disability lawyer.