Are you disabled and unable to work? Is your condition expected to last for at least 12 months? This situation can be scary because you don’t know what the future holds. But you have options to help you get through this time. A Columbia disability attorney from our law firm can help you get the social security benefits you need to continue to provide for your family.
How can we help? You may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers two federal disability programs that you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). We can help you file for disability or fight against a claim that has been denied. Our disability lawyers will make sure you send in all the information the Social Security Administration needs in a timely manner, so your claim has a chance of being approved.
How Do You Qualify for Disability Benefits?
While disability might not be a subject you thought about before, it’s more common than you’d think. 1 in 4 people who are 20 years old today will become disabled before they are age 67.
Disability is determined by the following criteria:
- You can’t do the work that you did before.
- It’s decided that your medical conditions prevent you from adjusting to other work.
- Your medical condition is expected to last at least one year or result in death.
If all of these apply to you, the next step is to learn the basics of the programs provided by the Social Security Administration, which are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI provides monthly cash disability payments to those who qualify. Almost everyone that works pays FICA taxes. If you have paid enough FICA taxes in your past jobs over the years, then you are considered “insured” and may be eligible for SSDI benefits if you have a qualifying disability, according to the SSA.
On the other hand, SSI is a disability program that is designed to provide monthly cash payments to those that do not qualify for SSDI benefits but are still disabled and unable to work. As long as you can prove that you have a disability that qualifies, along with limited financial resources, you have a chance of getting SSI benefits.
Note that it’s possible to get both SSI and SSDI benefits, assuming you qualify for both programs. Of course, you might not be eligible for either program, as partial or short-term disability won’t qualify you to get Social Security Disability benefits. However, you can get different kinds of compensation for those situations. If you were injured on the job, for example, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation. Either way, you’ll need to get in touch with our South Carolina law firm for help navigating your legal claim.
How Do You Apply for Disability Benefits?
The Social Security Administration recommends that you file for disability benefits as soon as you are disabled. So don’t put off contacting our law firm in Columbia to get your disability claim started if you want a chance to start getting the disability benefits you deserve as soon as possible.
There’s some information you have to provide in your application that shows who you are, what happened to cause your disability, and how you are unable to work. You’ll also need the following information:
- Social Security Number.
- Birth Certificate.
- Proof of Age.
- Information about medical professionals who took care of you and when they saw you for one or more disabling conditions. Include names, addresses, and phone numbers for everyone. Make sure you get the person and the place they work for, so as you list doctors and caseworkers, be sure to include the clinics and hospitals, too.
- Medication Information. List all the medications and the dosages you’re taking.
- Any medical records from medical professionals and specialists that you saw for your disability.
- Any laboratory and test results.
- A summary of your workplace and what you did there.
- Your most recent W-2 form. If you’re self-employed, then provide a copy of your federal tax return.
What Factors Does the Social Security Administration Consider When Making Decisions on Disability Claims?
Once you and your Social Security Disability lawyer have worked together on the application process, it’s up to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to look over your documents and make a decision on whether to grant you monthly benefits.
There are several factors the SSA looks at before determining if you’re considered disabled and can qualify for social security benefits. First, SSA employees look at whether you’re still working. If you are, and you’re earning above the set monthly limit that qualifies your work as substantial gainful activity (SGA), you likely won’t qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
If you’re not able to work at all, or if your income is low enough not to qualify as SGA, the SSA will move on to the next step. This revolves around whether your condition is considered severe, meaning any disabilities you have might limit you from doing most basic work activities for at least one year. For instance, if you can’t walk, sit, lift, stand, or perform mental tasks that require you to rely on your memory, you likely won’t be able to find employment. But if you can do any of this and therefore have a chance of employment, you likely won’t get disability benefits.
The next detail the SSA looks at is whether your condition is on the list of medical issues that would render you totally disabled and unable to find employment. You’ll find that most disabilities that would make basic work-related activities impossible are on the list, but if yours isn’t, the SSA will consider whether it’s about as severe as the ones that are on the list. If so, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
If it’s not, the next detail that will be investigated is whether you can perform the work you did previously. If you can, you probably won’t be eligible for obtaining disability benefits. But if you can’t find employment in a field that you’ve worked in before due to your disabilities, the SSA will consider one last factor, and that’s whether there is any type of job you can do.
To determine the answer, the SSA will look at your age, medical condition, work experience, education, and skills that may be able to help you find employment. If there’s a job you can do despite your medical condition, you’ll be denied Social Security Disability benefits. If there is no way to obtain employment, though, you may be able to get the Social Security Disability benefits you need.
As you can see, the way this process works is complicated and not easily understood by most people. In addition, if you’re in pain or having trouble dealing with the daily demands of life as you live with a disability, you shouldn’t have to spend your time worrying about how to get through the application process. Instead, leave that to the Social Security Disability lawyers who have been dealing with the disability claims process for years. The right Columbia law firm can walk you through the application process for getting Social Security Disability benefits, answering any questions you have along the way.
Can Your Family Also Get Social Security Disability Benefits?
One detail to know is that your family can also get Social Security Disability benefits if you can’t work due to your medical condition. This can provide additional financial relief for your household, so it’s worth going through the Social Security Disability claim process with a law firm that knows how to get family benefits.
If you’re looking to get benefits for your family, you will have to provide:
- Family member social security numbers and proof of age for each member.
- If your spouse is applying for benefits, proof of marriage.
An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can evaluate your claim, help with your initial application, and assist you with your appeal. If your case goes to a judicial hearing in front of an administrative law judge, your Social Security Disability attorney will ensure that you are fairly represented and will give you the best chance possible of obtaining a favorable outcome for your disability claim.
The attorneys at our law firm have knowledge of the rules that regulate Social Security Disability and SSI. Unfortunately, many valid claims for Social Security Disability benefits are denied because the evidence is presented in an unorganized manner, without consideration of the rules and guidelines that the SSA uses to understand and approve claims. When you come to our law firm, you can trust that we know how to navigate the process, which you’ll find out more about during your free case evaluation with our social security attorneys.
What Happens If the Claim Is Denied?
It’s not unusual for the SSA to deny a disability claim for a variety of reasons. The good news is that just because your claim is denied doesn’t mean you’re out of options. You can appeal the initial decision, so your application will be looked at again by an appeals council.
Just as with the initial application for Social Security Disability payments, it’s always a good idea to hire a law firm to help with the appeals process. You will need advice on how to proceed with the appeal, and Social Security Disability lawyers can do that while being an advocate for you the entire time.
How Can Social Security Disability Lawyers Help with Your Claim?
If you are disabled and unable to work, a Columbia law firm with experience communicating with the SSA can give you a fair chance at obtaining disability benefits. At Solomon Law Group, LLC, we truly care about the outcomes our clients get, and you can trust that our law firm has the experience to handle your case.
We have the resources to help you throughout every stage of your case. From assistance with medical care to obtaining medical records, you can rest assured that we are thorough, consistent, and competent. We’re here for you from start to finish, including helping to gather additional necessary medical evidence and filing a powerful legal brief prior to the first hearing that we attend with you. Whether you need our legal help prior to going in front of an administrative law judge or need to get the attention of an appeals council after being initially denied, we’re here to assist you.
It’s important for you to stand up for yourself and get the coverage you need when you’re unable to work. You shouldn’t have to worry about finances when you should be focusing on recovery and your overall well-being. Call Solomon Law Group, LLC today at 803-219-8870 to schedule a free consultation so we can start discussing your case and what course of action is best for you as you seek benefits.