You might qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits if you cannot work to support yourself due to a severe disease or injury. A Plain Township, OH Social Security Disability (SSD) lawyer can work with you on your appeal for benefits if your initial application was denied. For a free consultation, you can call Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400.
Social Security Disability includes two different benefits programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). We will cover each program separately.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
The money to pay for the Social Security Disability Insurance program comes from the money that gets deducted from paychecks for Social Security taxes. If you never paid into the system, you are not eligible for SSDI benefits, but you might qualify for SSI.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will deny your application for SSDI benefits if you do not fit their determination of disability. No matter how profound the impairment, the SSA will decide that you are not disabled if you can:
- Still perform the essential tasks of your job, or
- You could adjust to a different type of work
Also, your disability must have lasted for at least one year, the doctor expects it to do so, or the condition is terminal. The Social Security disability programs are designed to provide compensation when someone has a long term disability and not for short term problems.
Regardless of how extreme your medical condition is, the SSA will judge you not to be disabled if you earn more than the limit for that year. For purposes of Social Security disability, the 2020 earnings limit is $1,260 a month ($2,110 if you are statutorily blind). If your earnings exceed the limit, the SSA will determine that you are not disabled.
Interference With Work Functions
Your medical condition must substantially interfere with your ability to perform the essential tasks of your job, like sitting, walking, standing, and remembering or following instructions. If you can still manage your basic work-related tasks, the SSA will deny your application.
Medical Severity Test
The SSA maintains a large, detailed list of every medical condition it considers severe enough to keep a person from working. This listing of impairments, also called the Blue Book, is organized by body systems (for example, the cardiovascular system) and disorders (such as malignant neoplastic diseases like cancer). If your medical condition is in the Blue Book and meets the technical requirements, the SSA will rule in your favor.
A New Line of Work
The SSA will explore whether you could use your existing job skills to go into a different line of work. A Plain Township, OH Social Security Disability (SSD) lawyer from Berger and Green can give you more information at (412) 661-1400.
Since the Social Security Disability Insurance program gets its funding from Social Security payroll taxes, if you never worked at a job that paid enough money into the Social Security system, you will not be eligible for SSDI benefits. You might qualify for SSI, which does not require work credits, but without enough work credits, the SSA will deny your SSDI application.
You can earn one work credit for every three-month quarter that you make enough money at a job so that Social Security taxes are paid. You can earn up to four work credits a year. The number of work credits you need will depend on your age. Young adults need fewer work credits than older workers, who have had more time to accumulate the credits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has no work credit requirement. You might qualify for SSI benefits even if you never paid any Social Security taxes. SSI does not require work credits because general tax revenues, not payroll, fund the SSI program.
Some people qualify for both Social Security Disability Insurance and SSI benefits. The rules are different for both programs. You must meet the eligibility requirements of each program separately.
The SSI program has the same standards for determining disability that the SSDI program uses. Both programs use the Blue Book as a yardstick to measure medical severity.
You could live in a million-dollar home and qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, but to get SSI, you must have extremely limited assets and resources. The SSA does not count everything as an asset, but it is easy to get bounced out of qualification for SSI benefits because of your assets. We explain to our clients what counts as an asset for purposes of SSI eligibility and what does not count.
Also, you must have little or no income to get SSI. Any income you receive or cash benefits you get from other programs will reduce the amount of your SSI benefits.
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Getting Help With Your Social Security Disability Appeal
You are allowed to try to handle your Social Security Disability appeal without the help of a lawyer, but there are several reasons why you might not want to do so. You are likely to have to go through multiple levels of appeals and hearings to get your benefits.
The medical severity standard the SSA uses, the Blue Book, is a complex reference written in technical, medical terminology. The average person who does not work in the medical field does not understand much of the language of the Blue Book. The people at the SSA who will rule on your application have a great deal of experience using the Blue Book.
The Plain Township, OH Social Security Disability (SSD) lawyers at Berger and Green have worked with the Blue Book and Social Security rules for years. We work tirelessly to get our clients the benefits that they deserve. You can call us today at (412) 661-1400 for a free consultation.