Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are Social Security Disability (SSD) programs that provide benefits for people who cannot work due to a severe medical condition. Each program has different rules to qualify.
A Sunbury Social Security Disability lawyer from Berger and Green can guide you through the application and evaluation process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies most initial applications. You might have to go through several stages of the appeals process to get the benefits you need. You can call us today to find out how we can help you. The initial consultation is free.
The Requirements to Get SSDI Benefits
SSA guidelines say you must meet the following criteria to qualify for SSDI benefits.
Have Enough Work Credits
You get work credits by working at jobs that pay Social Security taxes. You can earn up to four work credits per year. The number of credits you need to qualify for SSDI varies based on your age.
Be Unable to Work
You must have a significant disease or injury that is either terminal or prevents you from working to support yourself for at least a year. If you can still work enough to make what the SSA considers a living wage, the SSA will likely deny your application for SSDI benefits.
Have a Limited Income
You cannot earn more than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit to qualify for SSDI benefits. The SGA limit can change every year. According to the SSA, the monthly SGA limit for 2022 is $1,350. If you make more than the SGA limit, the SSA will say that you do not need benefits.
Have a Qualifying Medical Condition
You must have a medical condition that satisfies the SSA’s severity tests to determine whether your illness or injury is significant enough to require assistance. The SSA uses “the Blue Book” to measure the severity of hundreds of medical conditions in every part and system of the body.
You must provide the medical evidence the SSA requires for your diagnosis, like your medical records, test results, x-rays, and information about how your condition has responded to treatment.
Be Unable to Change Careers
You need to prove that you would not be able to support yourself through employment. The older you are when you become disabled, the less likely you are to be asked to change your career or line of work.
For a free legal consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer serving Sunbury, call 412-661-1400
The Eligibility Rules for the SSI Program
If you are disabled and cannot work, you might qualify for SSI benefits, even if you do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI.
The SSA notes that a person must have a limited income and few financial resources to qualify for SSI. A person in this category may qualify for other forms of state and federal government assistance, like Medicaid.
Not all income that a person receives counts for purposes of SSI eligibility. Countable income will reduce the amount of an individual’s monthly SSI check. A person whose total countable income equals or exceeds the federal benefit rate will not receive SSI.
According to the SSA, a person’s countable assets must not be more than $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. Your house, one vehicle, clothing, household goods, and a few other items do not count toward the resource limit.
Your Options If You do Not Meet the Criteria in the Blue Book
Meeting the criteria in the Blue Book is not always possible. If your condition does not meet the specifics of the listing, you may have another option.
You can ask your doctor to evaluate you to determine your residual functional capacity (RFC), or a determination of your RFC can be made by reviewing your medical records. Your RFC is your ability to perform work-related tasks, such as sitting, standing, squatting, and lifting.
Your RFC will help determine how long you can work, how often you can work, and what type of work you can do. If your doctor finds you cannot work, the SSA may deem you disabled.
At Berger and Green, a Sunbury, Ohio Social Security Disability lawyer can file your SSDI or SSI application and handle the appeals process. We can help you determine whether you meet the impairment listing or if a doctor needs to evaluate your RFC.
Sunbury Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
Appealing Denied Social Security Disability Claims
If the SSA denies your application for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits, you may wonder how to get your denial overturned.
The appeals process includes four levels:
If the SSA denied your SSD claim, you can request a reconsideration from a Disability Determination Services representative. This will not be the same Disability Determination Services representative who initially reviewed your application, but one who has not seen your application before.
You can also introduce additional evidence to support your case when you submit a request for reconsideration.
Administrative Law Judge Review
If the Disability Determination Services representative who reviews your SSD application a second time determines they should uphold your denial, you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
The ALJ presiding over your case will have had no involvement in your initial application denial. You can present additional evidence to support your right to SSD benefits when an ALJ hears your case. Most SSD denials are resolved at this level of appeal.
Appeals Council Review
If the ALJ upholds the SSA’s decision to deny your claim for SSD benefits, you can request a review by the SSA’s Appeals Council.
If the Appeals Council agrees to hear your case, they may uphold the SSA’s denial or send the case back to an ALJ for additional review.
If the Appeals Council decides not to hear your case or does not overturn your appeal, your Sunbury SSD lawyer can file a lawsuit in federal court.
Although the appeals process can be overwhelming, with help from a Sunbury Social Security Disability attorney, you may be able to get the SSA to approve your request for benefits.
How Much does it Cost to Hire a Sunbury Social Security Disability Attorney?
We handle Social Security Disability cases on a contingency-fee basis. This means we do not accept any upfront fees, and you do not pay us attorney’s fees unless and until you receive disability benefits. You face no financial risk when you enlist the help of a Sunbury SSD attorney from our team.
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Getting Help with Your Sunbury, OH Social Security Disability Claim
You should not have to fight alone to get the Social Security Disability benefits you need. The law does not require you to work with an attorney on your SSDI or SSI application and appeals, but doing so ensures that you have someone on your side who understands the process and can help you understand what’s happening along the way.
You do not have to face this experience alone. A Sunbury Social Security Disability lawyer from Berger and Green can take care of all aspects of your disability claim on your behalf. Contact us today to get started on your SSD claim.