Social Security Disability (SSD) is a federal program designed to provide financial assistance to people living with disabilities due to chronic illness, injury, and other conditions that affect their ability to work for a year or more. If you are a Carrollton resident who has worked consistently in the last five to ten years, you have more than likely already paid thousands of dollars into this program. And if you now find yourself unable to work, you are likely entitled to benefits. A good Carrollton Social Security Disability lawyer can help you get them.
At John Foy & Associates, we have a 20+ year history of getting people approved for SSD. Even if you’ve been denied benefits in the past, we can go through your case line by line and build your appeal to ensure you get the outcome you deserve. 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 Carrollton?
SSD may be a federal program, but the entire process begins at the local level—usually at a field office or a state-run agency, such as Disability Determination Services (DDS). A visit to one of these offices is usually the first step in the application process, but you can also apply over the phone, online, or through the mail.
It’s important to understand that this process is complex and moves slowly, so any missing or incomplete paperwork can add months to your turnaround time. And statistically, most SSD applications are rejected the first time around—often, even if the applicant actually has a valid disability. Working with an injury lawyer from the beginning can mean that important medical information is included in your application, with a strong, convincing case to get you approved. In many cases, this means you can get approved the first time around without having to go through the appeals process.
What are my chances of getting approved for SSD?
You may have heard that it’s nearly impossible to receive SSD benefits, and that’s true in one sense—many people are initially denied. But quite a few of those decisions get reversed through the appeals process, and it has been shown that having a lawyer represent you increases your odds of being approved.
Currently, the acceptance rate for an initial applications remains pretty steady at around 1 in 3. If that sounds low, bear in mind that this includes many applicants who either don’t meet the eligibility requirements at all, or simply don’t have the work history to qualify for SSD. And many of those who are rejected initially go on to be approved on a first or second appeal—eventually, appeals are heard by administrative judges rather than Social Security Administration employees. Judges tend to have a higher approval rate.
During your initial consultation, our legal team will work to get you an accurate idea of whether you qualify for SSD, both in terms of your medical condition and in terms of your work history. If you do not qualify, we may also be able to help you get approved for other types of benefits, based on either low income status or having a short-term medical condition.
We believe that every disabled person should get the benefits that the law provides. We can make sure your medical information is detailed enough to support your claim, and fight to get you approved.
What are the work history requirements for Social Security Disability?
In addition to meeting the legal definition of a disability, you must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security’s guidelines to qualify for disability benefits. This is calculated using “work credits.”
Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages (or self-employment income, if you’re freelance). You can earn up to four credits each year, and the requirements often change annually. In 2018, for instance, you could earn one credit for every $1,320 in wages or self-employment income. If you earned $5,280 in 2018, you would have accumulated four credits for that year.
The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally speaking, you need 40 credits overall. Half of that amount (20) needs to have been earned within the last 10 years, leading up to the year in which you became disabled. Under certain circumstances, younger workers who only recently started working may qualify with fewer work credits.
The bottom line is simple: most people who have worked consistently even part-time will have enough work credits to qualify. And many people who dealt with bouts of unemployment may qualify as well. We can help you determine how many work credits you have so that you have a clear answer from the start.
How soon should I apply for SSD?
Generally, once you have become disabled or unable to work, you should start the application process right away. It’s worth it to take time to make a strong application, but we can often get your application filed within weeks. As long as we can document that your condition is likely to last a year or more, or is terminal, the sooner it’s filed the better.
The reason for this is to get you benefits as soon as possible—and it will take time in the slow moving federal system. Once approved, benefits can sometimes be backdated, but this is limited to up to one year before the date of filing. If you have a condition that has kept you from your job, or created a substantial change in your ability to work, you need to act as soon as possible.
Talk to a Carrollton Social Security Disability Lawyer
Whether you are applying for the first time or you have previously been denied benefits, John Foy & Associates can help. We know what it takes to build a successful application, and we want to put that knowledge and experience to work for you. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.