Social Security Disability
Disabled individuals may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits to compensate in part for their disability. As one of the largest Federal assistance programs, the Social Security Disability program is a valuable resource for individuals whose disability renders them unable to work. Actually receiving these benefits, however, can be quite complex due to the current system and requirements imposed on applicants.
Fortunately, you do not have to navigate the system alone. In fact, statistically you have a greater chance of winning your Social Security Disability case with the assistance of a qualified lawyer. The Social Security Disability attorneys at Patel Law, PC are passionate advocates for their clients and offer trusted representation that comes from over 20 years of experience. We want to help you regain the life you had before your disability and you pay no fees unless we win your case.
Making Sense of the SSA Disability Benefits System
In order to apply for disability benefits, you must first determine if you qualify. Qualifications are generally based on two things:
- Prior employment in a job covered by Social Security
- A medical condition that meets the definition of disability
The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers you disabled if you cannot do the work you did before, you cannot adjust to new work because of your disability, and your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death. If you meet these requirements, you can then apply for benefits either online or over the phone.
Some of the most common disabilities that qualify for benefits include anemia, cancer, cystic fibrosis, Crohn's Disease, and multiple sclerosis. Because each case is unique, you should never disqualify yourself before pursuing every avenue to obtain disability benefits.
At any point after you begin receiving your benefits, the SSA can decide that you no longer need them and stop them altogether. This may occur under the following circumstances:
- Your average earnings are considered "substantial," which is usually $1,090 or more per month
- Your medical condition has improved and you are no longer disabled
It is natural to wonder, "What about my family?" when you do begin receiving benefits. Fortunately, the SSA also allows certain members of your family to qualify for benefits on your record. Your spouse, ex-spouse, children, disabled child, and adult disabled child before age 22 can also receive benefits. Each family member may qualify for monthly benefits of up to 50 percent of your disability rate.
My Social Security Disability Application was denied. Now what?
The unfortunate reality of Social Security Disability benefits is that applications do get denied. In the event that your application gets denied, however, your journey is not over. You have the ability to appeal the SSA's decision and continue pursuing disability benefits.
Appealing the decision is accomplished by submitting the Appeal Request and Appeal Disability Report online. You must file your appeal within 60 days of the decision being made. If your appeal is denied, you can request a hearing, at which your attorney can be present. Well-prepared evidence is crucial and our firm can support you throughout the entirety of your appeal process.
What benefits programs are offered by the SSA?
The SSA offers a variety of benefits programs through which qualifications are based on age, medical condition, and working history. In order to maximize the benefits you receive, it is important to apply for the correct program.
The four disability benefits programs offered by the SSA are detailed below:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): You may be able to receive insurance benefits if your physical or mental condition is expected to prevent you from working for at least one year. The most basic qualification is any condition that renders you unable to work.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for adults: As a need-based program, SSI benefits are based solely on the applicant's income and assets. You must have less than $2,000 – or $3,000 for a couple – to qualify. The monthly amount you'll receive in 2015 is $733 or $1,100 for a couple.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for children: Children can qualify for benefits if they meet the financial and medical requirements set forth by the SSA. Financially, your family must be receiving government assistance (i.e. food stamps, Medicaid, or other welfare benefits) or be under the income thresholds. Medically, the child must have a "marked and severe" functional limitation or a disability expected to last at least one year.
- Disability benefits for disabled adult children: Disabled adult children are classified as unmarried individuals over 18 who have a disability that started before the age of 22. Additionally, at least one parent must receive Social Security Disability benefits.
A disability makes life challenging enough without also having to jump through the hoops of applying for benefits. Whether you are just beginning the application process or recently learned that your application was denied, Patel Law, PC has the ability to represent you.