Social Security disability is a federal disability benefit program that provides income if you can’t work because of a disabling condition. While this program can be hugely beneficial, it’s also challenging to navigate—especially when you’re going through the initial application process. In fact, some argue that the system is deliberately confusing and frustrating to discourage people from applying. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has received over two million applications per year for the past decade, but only about one-third of those individuals will receive benefits. Don’t be one of the many in Buford who get denied. Having an attorney help you with your application—and the appeal process—makes the process easier and gives you a higher likelihood of success. Talk to a Buford Social Security Disability lawyer.
John Foy & Associates has helped hundreds of applicants obtain Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits over the past 20 years. We know how to put these applications together and work through the appeal process where necessary. Let us give you a FREE consultation. We never charge you money unless we get you the benefits you deserve. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What counts as having a disability according to the SSA?
To get SSD benefits, you must meet particular qualifications. First, you must meet SSA’s definition of “disabled.” You must be completely unable to return to work to qualify for benefits; SSA does not offer short-term disability benefits or partial benefits. The SSA will determine that you are disabled if you:
- Cannot do the type of work that you did previously;
- Cannot adjust to other types of work because of your medical condition; and
- Have a medical condition that is expected to inhibit your ability to work for at least one year.
The one-year length requirement is often a challenge. To prove this part of your claim, you generally need a statement from a medical professional with an opinion of how long your condition is expected to last. Simply stating that you cannot work in the future—without clearly stating how long—is generally not going to be enough.
The SSA will consider your entire medical and working situation to determine if you are disabled. They will ask:
- Are you working? Most people who cannot work are not working. But, there are a few that force themselves to work because they do not have any other options. Thankfully, the SSA permits you to earn some income and still be considered disabled. In 2018, you can make up to $1,180 per month and be regarded as disabled.
- Is your condition “severe”? Only medical conditions that inhibit your ability to do necessary activities, including work, will be considered severe for SSA’s purposes. If your state does not interfere with your ability to work, then you likely will not qualify for benefits.
- Is your condition listed on SSA’s list? The SSA keeps a list of medical conditionsthat are so severe that they automatically qualify you for SSD benefits. This list is vast and extremely specific. If your medical status is not on the list, then the SSA will consider whether your particular medical state is just as serious as one of the listed conditions.
- Can you do the work you were doing before? Can you do any type of work? The SSA will first ask if you had to change your former job or field of work because of your medical condition. But, the real question is whether you can adjust to other types of work. Being disabled means not only being unable to work in your previous job, but also unable to work in any position.
Are there any other requirements to get SSD benefits?
In addition to meeting the definition of disabled, you must also meet certain working requirements before you apply. SSD is a type of “insurance” that you pay for through the federal government. When you work, your Buford-area employer takes a portion of your paycheck to put toward these benefits. If you do not work enough, then you will not qualify for benefits. You have put money in to get money out.
That’s why you receive “work credits” for your past work at nearly any job. These credits count toward your ability to qualify for benefits. You can earn up to four credits each year, and each credit is worth a specific dollar amount. That means that the amount you earned will determine how many credits you get. The exact value of each credit will vary from year to year. For example, in 2018, one work credit is worth $1,320 in wages. That means that when you earn $5,280 for the year, you have made all four of your potential work credits for 2018.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits:
- You must have worked for at least 10 years (in any job or jobs)
- You must have earned at least 40 work credits total
- At least 20 of those credits must have been earned in the past 10 years
(These rules apply to most workers, but there are exceptions for younger workers who have become disabled.)
Understanding the work credit system is important even after you are awarded Social Security benefits. You must qualify for Social Security at all times to receive it. That means that if your work credits become “stale” (they were not earned the past 10 years), then you may not qualify for SSD benefits any longer. Older workers sometimes forget about this continuing requirement, which can be a serious problem if they do not prepare properly.
A good lawyer can help you not only get approved in the first place, but make sure you’re protecting your benefits long-term.
Talk to a Buford Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits can be complicated and cumbersome. Don’t make the mistake of giving up. These benefits are rights you earned through years of working—and you deserve to get them. The team at John Foy & Associates will help you with the application process, deal with any appeals, and get you the best possible outcome. We charge nothing if we don’t get you benefits. Call us for a FREE consultation. Contact us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.