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Long Term Disability Benefits in South Carolina

Published on May 9, 2016 at 4:46 pm in Social Security Disability.

Tragically, many individuals are affected by a long term injuries or disabilities. These disabilities can have a serious long term impact on an individual’s standard of living and their overall emotional and physical health. However, if an individual is eligible, there are benefits that exist under federal and South Carolina law that can help individuals living with a disability live a more comfortable life. There are various types of disability benefits that can be applied for in South Carolina.

Process of a disability claim

Disability claims begin by filing a claim or application. After this application is filed, it is typical for there to be a disability interview. During this interview, it will be likely that that you will be asked about your medical and work history, as well as your injuries.  Many disability claims in South Carolina get denied so the proper preparation for an interview is critical. An experienced attorney can help you prepare for your first interview or later on in the appeals process.

After the initial interview a claims examiner will review your disability to see if your claim matches a certain set of requirements.  After an examiner reviews your claim, it will be either approved or denied. If a claim is denied, this does not mean that your chance to recover benefits has been extinguished.  If the disability claim is denied, the applicant can submit an appeal to their local Social Security Office.

The Different Types of Benefits

SSDI: Social Security Disability Insurance- SSDI provides monthly cash payments to those who meet certain eligibility requirements. SSDI is distributed to individuals who have contributed a certain level of Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA throughout their working careers. If a working individual has contributed enough income to FICA throughout their working lives, they may be eligible for this type of benefit depending on their earnings record and their past jobs.

SSI- Supplemental Security Income: These benefits are designed to provide monthly cash payment when an individual has not reached the threshold of lifetime FICA contributions.  Unlike SSDI which is based on work history, SSI benefits are more need-based.  This means that you may be eligible for SSI benefits if you have not reached the threshold for SSDI benefits, or if you have a child who does not work.

South Carolina State Supplemental Benefit: In addition to federal social security programs, South Carolina also offers a state supplement benefit that is available through the South Carolina State Department of Health and Human Services.  You can apply for this supplement through your local Health and human services office.

Are you disabled and unable to work?

If you are unable to work and suffer from a long term disability, a skilled Columbia disability attorney can help you with your claim and the appeal process. The Solomon Law Group has the experience to help you handle your case and help you get the benefits that you deserve. Our disability attorneys can help you through your entire claims process. Contact us today for a free consultation.

 

The SSDI Well is Running Dry

Published on Oct 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm in Social Security Disability.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was created to ensure that those who are injured while working still have the means to care for themselves. SSDI provides those injured employees with benefits that are received on a monthly basis if the government deems the person eligible. Unfortunately, the days where those that are injured can receive these benefits appear to be numbered. The funds available for this program seem to be drying up and the government has suggested that there will be no money left by the end of 2016.

A Guide to Social Security Disability Support in South Carolina

Published on Oct 8, 2014 at 2:36 pm in Social Security Disability.

If you are frustrated by an inability to work due to a disability, you may be one of the over 60,000 individuals living in the United States that qualify for Social Security disability support. This type of government-issued support falls within two categories: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Which program you may qualify for is based upon your unique situation.

 Social Security Disability Insurance Versus Supplemental Security Income

 According to the Social Security Administration, an individual may be eligible for SSDI if the following criteria are met:

–    The applicant is eighteen or over;

–    The applicant is unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last twelve months or longer, or result in death; and

–    The applicant has not been denied benefits in the past sixty days

If eligible, a successful applicant for SSDI will receive monthly cash payments for the term of their disability. Consequently, the SSI program is designed for those who may not qualify for SSDI, but that still have disabilities, limited income, or limited resources. These benefits may also extend to individuals over the age of 65 that qualify.

How Do I apply?

While applications are submitted through the internet or the telephone, the most crucial aspect of your application is ensuring you have all of the materials you need prepared before applying. The Adult Disability Checklist is the best starting place to see what materials you should gather before submitting an application. This list explains the information you will need, including but not limited to:

–    Employment history, including when you stopped working and if you are expected to work again;

–    Educational and skills background;

–    Information regarding your medical condition, including diagnosis, medical tests and results, medications, treating medical professionals (both past and present), hospital visits, surgeries, and prognosis;

–    Family history and information including marriage, divorce, children, or other dependents; and

–    Financial history, including whether you were, have been, or will be receiving other benefits, public or private, that may affect your eligibility.

While this may seem relatively straightforward, the application may ask for specific dates for visits to the doctor, or names, phone numbers, or addresses from your past that may be difficult to obtain. Preparing all of this information in advance and making sure you provide absolutely every piece of information requested is critical to a positive outcome with your application.

What if I’m Already Receiving Another Type of Financial Assistance or Have Previously Been Denied Benefits?

If, for example, you are already receiving workers’ compensation from a work-related injury or illness, this may affect your eligibility. Generally, receiving other public disability payments such as workers’ compensation or state/local government retirement benefits may affect your application, but receipt of private pension or insurance benefits will not.

If, on the other hand, you already applied for SSD benefits but were denied, you may be able to appeal your application if done in a timely fashion. Once you appeal and are denied again, you have to wait a period of time before applying again. This is another reason why completing the application thoroughly and accurately the first time is to your advantage.

Can Someone Help Me With My Application?

The Solomon Law Group has the knowledge, experience, and resources to help you navigate your SSDI or SSI application. If you want to apply for SSDI or SSI, are unsure about whether you qualify, or if you have questions about an outstanding or denied application, please contact our disability attorneys serving the greater Columbia, SC area, and allow us to guide you through this complex process.

Obtaining legal counsel is the best way to ensure the Social Security Administration has all of the information they need to process your application. Most applications are denied due to incomplete or inaccurate information—we can ensure that your application is complete and you have the best chance at obtaining benefits you need to maintain your livelihood.

Who is Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits (DIB)?

Published on Oct 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm in Social Security Disability.

There has been a lot of discussion on the news recently about abuse within the Social Security Disability system. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations concluded a two-year study that uncovered fraud that resulted in numerous individuals receiving benefits to which they were not entitled. The investigation discovered a law firm in Kentucky that it termed a “disability claim factory” and alleges that the attorney paid doctors and judges to approve disability claims on behalf of his clients. Investigators believe this is only one example of widespread abuse that has resulted in a large balance decline in the Social Security Trust Fund.

The Solomon Law Group is very concerned with these alleged fraudulent practices by individuals and unethical attorneys. Social Security Disability benefits exist to provide a safety net for individuals who are truly disabled and unable to support themselves due to their disability. Claims by individuals who are not disabled cause harm to those who truly need these benefits; indeed, the fraud impacts all Americans, since it is our tax dollars supporting the system. We encourage anyone who is aware of fraud cases within the Social Security Disability system to report the fraud to the Office of the Inspector General.

So, who is really eligible for Social Security Disability (DIB) benefits? In order to be eligible for benefits, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have a medical condition that prevents you from working AND is expected to last at least 12 months or is terminal. If you are able to work even part-time, you are not eligible for benefits. If your disability is short-term, you may be eligible for other benefits like workers’ compensation or private short-term disability coverage through your employer.
  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) has strict definitions of what it terms “disabling conditions.” The disabled individual is responsible for proving that he or she meets the qualifications. There is a short list of conditions that are terminal or so severe that the SSA will “fast-track” the application, though in most cases the initial application process takes six or more months.
  • To receive DIB benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough to have earned a sufficient number of work credits. This number varies based on your age. In general, you must have earned 40 work credits, 20 of which were earned during the last 10 years. To see how many credits you need, check out the SSA’s benefits planner at https://www.ssa.gov/retire2/credits.htm.
  • In certain cases, there are slightly different requirements and benefits. These may cover those who are blind or have limited vision, disabled children who reach adulthood, and wounded warriors.
  • If you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits but have other benefits coming in—for example, workers’ compensation payments or monies from a car accident that resulted in your disability—your Social Security benefits may be reduced, or offset, to account for these other benefits. Please be honest about any other monies you are receiving.

The SSA does a periodic review of disability benefits to ensure that you are still entitled to receive them. Due to a backlog of cases and staffing challenges, not all cases are reviewed. It is up to the individual to let the SSA know if and when he or she is able to return to work so that benefits may be discontinued.

If you are truly disabled and meet the criteria above, the Columbia disability lawyers at Solomon Law Group are here to help you. We offer a free consultation and would be happy to speak with you about your situation. Please call or contact us online today to learn how we can help.

 

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