A serious injury or illness may leave you unable to work, but qualifying for government benefits in Albany is harder than you might think. People with serious, debilitating conditions are regularly turned down for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, even if they have worked and paid into the Social Security system for years. The government may tell you that you don’t have enough documentation, or they may claim that your condition doesn’t count as a disability. But you don’t have to endure the frustration and financial stress of being denied. An Albany Social Security disability lawyer can help.
At John Foy & Associates, our goal is to help ill and injured people get the money they need to stay in their homes, afford treatment and support their families. We have been helping people get SSD benefits for more than 20 years, and we know what the government wants to see in an application. We will assemble the documents and present a strong case—whether it’s your first application or an appeal. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
How does Social Security Disability work in Albany?
The federal Social Security Act was created to prevent people from losing their means of support when they become unable to work. When you are working, Social Security taxes are deducted from your paycheck. The government then uses these Social Security taxes to make monthly Social Security payments to retired people and people who can’t work anymore because of a medical condition. SSD can help you maintain financial stability even though you can no longer hold a job.
The basics of SSD are simple:
- You have already paid for these benefits, through paycheck deductions during your working life. SSD is not a government handout, welfare, or charity. Accepting SSD payments is the same as drawing Social Security after you retire.
- You can qualify with any disability that keeps you from working. It doesn’t matter whether you have been injured or have a disease or other medical condition. If you were injured, it doesn’t matter whether the injury happened on the job or off.
- Your work history matters. To be eligible for SSD, you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes regularly over the past 10 years. This does not mean you must have always worked full time—some people qualify even though they worked part-time or had employment gaps. If you don’t have a long enough work history, you may still qualify for government benefits if your income is low enough.
SSD applications are decided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). We have seen many applications in Albany and Dougherty County rejected—even though the applicant had a long work history and legitimate disability. To prevent this from happening to you, it’s important to get a lawyer working on your claim as soon as you can.
What will qualify me for SSD benefits in Albany?
If you have held a job but can’t work anymore because of an injury or health condition, you are likely to qualify for SSD. However, before you can begin collecting benefits, you must convince the SSA that you are eligible. This means you must show them proof that:
- You have a doctor’s diagnosis of your medical condition
- Your condition is terminal or will last for over a year
- Because of your condition, you can’t continue to do your job
- You also cannot hold other jobs that you might be qualified for
- You have worked long enough to earn enough Social Security “work credits” to be eligible for benefits
- You have accumulated at least 20 work credits in the past 10 years
- You have a low income (you only need to prove this if you don’t have enough work credits)
If you have a disability and can’t work, you can probably meet these conditions. But it can be hard to collect the documents the SSA is looking for, and present them in a way that will convince the SSA to approve your claim.
What kinds of conditions are considered disabilities for SSD?
If you can no longer work because of your health, you should be able to qualify for SSD. However, when it processes applications, the SSA treats some conditions differently than others.
A few very serious illnesses, such as terminal cancers and kidney failure, automatically qualify as disabilities. If you are unfortunate enough to have been diagnosed with one of these conditions, you will qualify if you have enough work credits.
For most conditions, though, eligibility isn’t as clear-cut. The SSA has a long list of conditions that might potentially qualify as disabilities, but you will have to prove that in your case, the condition is serious enough to leave you unable to work. The SSA’s list of “disabling conditions” includes:
- Severe heart conditions, such as heart failure
- Blindness and low vision
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Mental health disorders, including severe depression
- Severe, ongoing back pain
- Severe asthma and other chronic respiratory problems
There are hundreds of conditions that can qualify. You can see the full list here.
But even if your condition is not on the SSA’s list, you may still be entitled to SSD benefits. However, you may have to present even more evidence to convince the SSA that your health condition counts as a disability that has kept you from working.
Is it true that I can file an appeal if my SSD application was denied?
Yes. You shouldn’t give up if your SSD application is denied. Denials are extremely common, and the appeals process gives you a second chance to get benefits. In fact, we often find that it is easier to win approval on appeal than with an initial application. When filing an appeal, it is important to pay attention to the reason the application was denied and submit documentation that addresses those issues.
If necessary, you can appeal an SSD decision more than once. At some point, your case will be heard by a judge instead of a government employee. A judge may understand the law more thoroughly and may be more willing to grant benefits if your case is controversial or doesn’t fit the typical mold. These appeals do take time, however, and while you are waiting you will not receive benefits. This is why we believe it is important to get a lawyer on your side sooner rather than later.
Talk to an Albany Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve seen what a difference it makes when our clients begin receiving the SSD benefits they so desperately need. We don’t want you to be denied benefits after paying into the system for years. Let us help you put together a strong case so you can get the financial help you need as soon as possible. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and explain the process. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.