Understanding Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability benefits can dramatically impact your quality of life – if you understand what types of programs your may be eligible for and the requisite application procedures. Fortunately, the experienced Social Security attorneys at Batson Nolan are ready and willing to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your specific situation.
Am I Qualified for Social Security Disability Benefits?
In order to be considered eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits, you need to have a qualifying “disability” as defined by the Social Security Administration. Specifically, your condition must not be partial or temporary, and it must also:
- Be a medically recognized physical or mental ailment, or combination of conditions – meaning that it must be capable of being diagnosed by a physician.
- Have persisted or is expected to persist for a minimum of one year or resulted in death.
- Precludes you from participating in “substantial gainful activity” that will subsequently result in loss of income below a specific threshold.
After you formally submit your application, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) will make the final determination as to whether your disability meets the aforementioned standards based on a comprehensive review of your medical and employment history.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) vs. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – What’s the Difference?
The main differentiating factor between SSDI and SSI has to do with work requirements. SSDI benefits are premised on your employment history. You need to have earned the requisite amount of “work credits.” These credits indicate that you have been employed for a sufficient time period in order to be eligible for SSDI benefits. SSI benefits, on the other hand, are not related to your employment record. They are, instead, based on your need for financial assistance. Typically, in order to be eligible for SSI, you need to possess less than $2,000 in combined assets if you are single or less than $3,000 if you are married. Individuals who are not qualified to receive SSDI benefits due to their lack of work credit may still be eligible to receive SSI benefits, depending on their financial status. An experienced Social Security attorney can assist you in determining your status when it comes to SSDI and SSI benefits and advise you on a proper course of action.
When Should I Submit My SSDI Benefits Application?
You should contact a trusted Social Security attorney immediately after learning you have a disability preventing you from being gainfully employed. The application process can be time consuming and complex. And even if you receive approval, there is generally at least a five-month waiting period in between your date of disability and you receiving payment. Additionally, the Social Security Administration only compensates you for a max of one year preceding your application date.
Can My Family Receive Disability Benefits?
Your family members can also be eligible to receive social security disability benefits, depending on your specific circumstances. If your spouse is 62 or older, or is the primary caregiver for a minor under age 16, they may be eligible for benefits. Additionally, your children who are under the age of 18 and additional dependents, including your grandchildren, can also be eligible.
What Are My Options If My Social Security Disability Claim Is Denied?
If the DDS denies your SSDI or SSI application, you still have the option to appeal the decision and avoid having to submit a new package from scratch. Your Notice of Denial correspondence should have an official time stamp on it; take note of this date. You are required to submit a Request for Reconsideration within 60 days of that date. Your request will entail asking for a different DDS official and medical professional to review your documents. If your claim is again denied, you will then have an additional 60 days to submit a request for a formal hearing in front of an administrative law judge at the nearest Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.
Why Should I Consult with a Social Security Disability Attorney For My Case?
Although the Social Security Agency does not require you to obtain legal counsel, having a dedicated and skillful lawyer adept in handling this niche area of cases can be the deciding factor in whether or not you are successful in applying for SSDI or SSI benefits. For example, if you have to argue your claim before an administrative law judge, a lawyer can compile evidence, prepare you for trial, interview witnesses, and develop a strategic approach to craft an effective and convincing case on your behalf.
If you believe you have met these requirements or know someone who has, call an experienced attorney at Batson Nolan who can help you navigate the Social Security Disability benefits process.
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