It’s harder than it should be to get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in Alpharetta. Many people have their applications denied, even if they have a life-altering medical condition and have worked for many years. If you apply for SSD, you may be turned down because you need more documents to prove your disability, because someone made an error with the paperwork, or because of a misunderstanding about your condition. But if you used to work and cannot hold a job because of a medical condition, you should be able to get benefits. You need help from an Alpharetta Social Security Disability lawyer.
At John Foy & Associates, we know how frustrating it is to be unable to work and unable to get approved for badly-needed benefits. We have more than 20 years of experience in getting people their SSD benefits. We can help you with your initial application, collect documents you need to prove your case, and handle the entire appeals process. We would like to give you a free consultation to discuss your application. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What is the Social Security Disability program?
The federal Social Security Act includes several programs to provide Americans with a steady income after they are no longer able to work for a living. The most well-known of these is the retirement program that allows you to begin collecting Social Security at age 62. But Social Security also provides for people who can’t work because of a health condition. Social Security Disability payments can allow you to pay your bills, put food on the table, and take care of your family.
Some important facts about the SSD program include:
- It is not a handout from the government. When you were working, Social Security taxes were taken out of your paycheck. These taxes are used to finance all the Social Security programs, including SSD. You are entitled to benefits because you paid into the system.
- If your medical condition prevents you from working, you can qualify. You don’t need to suffer an on-the-job injury. Any illness, injury or disease can count.
- Your work history is important. You must have worked and paid Social Security taxes to be eligible for SSD. In general, your work history must show that you worked regularly over the past 10 years, even if you had spots of unemployment or some of your work was part-time. If you have not worked enough, you may still qualify for a similar program if your income is low enough.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is in charge of reviewing SSD applications and administering the program. But in the City of Alpharetta, the SSA is good at finding reasons to deny claims, even when the person applying should qualify. This is why you should have a lawyer on your side when you file or appeal your application.
How do I qualify for SSD benefits in Alpharetta?
There are two requirements you need to meet to get SSD benefits. First, you must have worked in the past. Second, you must now be unable to work because of a medical condition. It sounds easy, but it can be hard to convince the SSA. You will need to prove these things:
- A doctor has diagnosed your medical condition
- Your medical condition is expected to continue for a year or longer. Or, your condition is terminal.
- Because of your health condition, you cannot do your job anymore
- You also can’t perform other jobs that you might be qualified for
- It would be difficult to perform any potential job that you might be qualified to do
- You have a long enough work history. Your work history is measured by how many Social Security “work credits” you have earned.
- You have worked enough over the past 10 years (you need at least 20 work credits over the past 10 years)
- If you don’t have enough work credits, that you have a low income
To prove your case, you will need documents from doctors, employers or others that establish each of these facts. You may have a good case, but if you don’t have the documentation to prove it, the SSA will deny your claim.
Will the SSA recognize my condition as a disability?
If you can’t work because of your medical condition, it should count as a disability and qualify you for SSD. But the SSA doesn’t treat all conditions the same way.
Some very serious conditions automatically count as disabilities. All you need is a doctor’s diagnosis. These conditions include some forms of cancer and advanced kidney disease.
It’s more likely that you have a health issue that the SSA refers to as a “disabling condition.” This means that some people who have your condition are disabled and unable to work, while others can still hold a job. It depends on how serious your case is. We often see people who have these types of disabling conditions:
- Severe heart conditions
- Blindness or other serious vision problems
- Multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Depression, bipolar disorder and other mental health issues
- Chronic and severe back pain
- Respiratory diseases such as severe asthma
This is only a small sample of the many conditions the SSA considers “disabling.” You can read the full list here.
The SSA’s list may not include your condition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get benefits. It just means that you will have to submit even more documentation to prove to the SSA that your condition prevents you from working.
The SSA turned down my application. What can I do now?
You have a right to appeal your application, and in fact you can file multiple appeals if necessary. The appeals process gives you a second chance to get benefits, and we’ve found that many people have an easier time getting approved on appeal than they did the first time around. However, it is important to pay close attention to the reason you were denied and give the SSA the additional information they are looking for. An appeal won’t help you if you just submit the same application that was already denied.
If you file multiple appeals, your case will eventually come before a judge rather than a government employee. Judges usually understand the law better and they may be more sympathetic to your case. But appeals take time, and if you run out you will have to start the process all over. This means you’ll go months without the income that SSD benefits can provide. We strongly recommend that you get a lawyer to help with your case as soon as possible.
Talk to an Alpharetta Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
If you can’t work, SSD benefits may be your best hope for a stable, ongoing income. Don’t let the process drag on for months while you worry about how to pay the bills. John Foy & Associates will give you a free consultation to explain how we can help you get the benefits you are entitled to. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.