Most Clarkston residents have paid into Social Security disability (SSD) for as long as they’ve been working. SSD is meant to provide benefits if you get injured and can no longer work. The problem is that many applicants are turned down for various reasons. The system is certainly not perfect, but you have options. Working with a personal injury lawyer in Clarkston, GA, is the best way to increase your chances of approval.
At John Foy & Associates, we know how important Social Security disability benefits are if you cannot work. You need to continue paying your bills and supporting yourself and your family. That’s why we’re here to help with your application. We know what the Social Security Administration is looking for, and we can walk you through every step. To schedule a FREE consultation and talk about your situation, call us today at (404) 400-4000.
What to Know About Social Security Disability in Clarkston
The Social Security Administration (SSA) created Social Security disability Insurance to provide income to those who can no longer earn a living through work. You can apply for benefits if you have a medical condition that prevents you from working. Social Security also provides benefits to people of retirement age, although we’re talking about the former type of coverage here.
The SSA uses a five-step Disability Determination Process when evaluating applications. This process falls under five different questions:
- Are you currently working?
- Do you have a “severe” condition?
- Is your condition found in the SSA Listing of Impairments?
- Can you perform any past work?
- Can you do any other type of work?
You must “pass” each step of the process to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. But that’s not all—you must also have a strong application that demonstrates your condition and disability.
This is where many applicants get denied even if they meet all the requirements. A Clarkston Social Security disability lawyer can make sure your application contains all the crucial elements.
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Common Misconceptions About Social Security Disability
There are also some misunderstandings about what Social Security disability provides. Here are some untrue things that people commonly believe about disability benefits:
Myth: Social Security Is a Handout
Social Security disability is not about simply giving someone money. As a Clarkston citizen, you have paid into Social Security your entire working life. Social Security taxes were taken as a portion of each paycheck. That means you have the right to collect benefits if you are disabled because you paid into them.
Myth: You Must Have Worked Many Years
You do need to have worked to qualify for Social Security disability—but it’s not as much as people think:
- If you are 62 years old or older when you become disabled, you must have a minimum of 40 work credits (10 years of work).
- If you are younger than 24 when you become disabled, you usually need six work credits (1 ½ years of work) in the three years before your disability.
- If you are disabled between the ages of 31 and 42, you must have at least 20 work credits (five years of work).
- If you are between the ages of 44 and 60 when you become disabled, you will need anywhere between 22 and 38 work credits (5 ½ to 9 ½ years of work).
These credits are based on the amount of your earnings, and the exact amount changes per year. In 2019, each work credit is worth $1,360 of earnings. You can accrue up to four credits per year. Past years required fewer earnings per credit. Once you’ve earned credits, they stay on your record even if are unemployed at times or change jobs.
Myth: You Must Be Injured at Work to Qualify
Social Security disability is not the same as worker’s compensation, which provides benefits to injured workers. You can qualify for Social Security disability no matter how or where you were injured or developed an illness. As long as your condition prevents you from working, you can apply.
Qualifications for Social Security Disability in Clarkston
The two main qualifications you must have to apply for Social Security disability are:
- A medical condition that is expected to last at least a year and keeps you from working
- And enough work history to qualify
Many people who become disabled fit both of these criteria. The tough part is proving these facts to the SSA.
You will need to provide documentation of your doctor diagnosing your condition. You’ll also need to demonstrate that it prevents you from working—at your current job, at any past types of work, and at any other type of work. As mentioned above, you will also need to show you hold the minimum amount of work credits.
This is where a Clarkston Social Security disability lawyer comes in. They will know what the SSA needs to see. Many times, applications are denied because there wasn’t enough proof of disability or inability to work. A lawyer can look at what you have already and greatly improve on it.
How to Know If Your Condition Qualifies
The SSA maintains a Listing of Impairments with various disabling conditions. This includes conditions of the:
- Cardiovascular system
- Digestive system
- Musculoskeletal system
- Neurological system
- Immune system
- Respiratory system
- Brain (such as mental disorders)
- And more
If your condition is on the list, it means the SSA has recognized it as potentially disabling. You will still need to prove the condition is serious enough to prevent you from working. You do not necessarily need to have a condition on the list to qualify, however. As long as it disables you from working, you can apply.
Conditions that Automatically Qualify for Social Security Disability
There are some medical conditions the SSA recognizes as always disabling though their Compassionate Allowances program. If you have one of these conditions and have enough work credits, you will automatically qualify for disability benefits. Your application will be processed within 10 days.
Conditions that always qualify include:
- Acute leukemia
- Certain cancers that are inoperable or unresectable (unable to be removed with surgery)
- Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
- And more than 200 others
Talk to a Social Security Disability (SSD) Lawyer in Clarkston, GA for Free
If your Social Security disability application was denied or you need help with your current application, our Social Security disability lawyer can help. At John Foy & Associates, we believe you should have access to the system you’ve paid all of your working life.
We can help you build a strong application with everything the Social Security Administration is looking for. To get started today with a FREE consultation, call us (404) 400-4000, or visit our contact page.