If you need Social Security Disability benefits, you need to have the right lawyer representing you. A good Social Security Disability attorney in Columbus, GA, from our team can be the difference between winning your case and losing it.
John Foy & Associates is one of the most experienced law firms in the Columbus area. We have been in practice for over 20 years, always representing individuals who are in pain and need assistance. Our SSD attorneys are dedicated to their practice and routinely guide clients through the complex Social Security system.
What Is Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability benefits are a form of safety net that the U.S. government gives disabled workers. Under the Social Security Act, if you develop a disability that prevents you from working a job, you are entitled to benefits to help pay your bills and take care of your family.
This is true regardless of how the disability came about, or what specific type of disability you have. If you were a worker and can no longer work, you qualify.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to prove that to the government. The local Social Security Administration (SSA) office has a complicated application process and often requires detailed documentation to approve your claim. That’s why it’s so important to have a Social Security Disability lawyer help you.
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How do I Know If I Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Many types of disability can qualify, including physical and mental health conditions, but the SSA decides on a case-by-case basis. They will evaluate your application based on a set of criteria. The main factors they consider are:
- Did you work long enough (earn enough “work credits”) under SSA guidelines?
- Did you work recently enough (at least 20 work credits in the past 10 years)?
- If you did not work enough/recently enough, is your income below the Social Security limit?
- Do you have a diagnosed medical condition?
- Will your medical condition likely last at least a year, or be terminal?
- Are you unable to perform your previous job because of your condition?
- Are you unable to adjust to other work because of your medical condition?
You will be asked to prove these factors on a lengthy application with supporting documentation showing your income, medical diagnosis, and other evidence. If you’re having any trouble providing what’s needed for your application, an SSD lawyer in Columbus, GA, could help.
What Conditions Can Qualify as a Disability?
Nearly any condition can qualify you as long as it prevents you from working and it can be medically determined. It can involve a mental or physical condition. However, some conditions will have to be explained and justified while others are already recognized as causing disability. If you have a condition on this list, it is much easier to qualify.
The SSA groups these disabling conditions into 14 categories. Examples of disabling conditions include:
- Musculoskeletal problems such as back conditions
- Cardiovascular conditions including heart failure or coronary artery disease
- Sensory and speech issues like low vision and hearing loss
- Respiratory illnesses such as COPD or asthma
- Neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis or epilepsy
- Mental disorders including major depression, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia
- Immune system disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
- Digestive tract problems like liver disease or IBD
- Kidney disease
Very severe conditions may qualify for a “Compassionate Allowance.” These are conditions so serious that they clearly cause disability without question. They include conditions like liver cancer, kidney failure, and Parkinson’s disease.
Most disability applicants don’t have these kinds of conditions. Instead, you find yourself in limbo. Either the condition you have is not on the list, or it’s on the list but you still have to prove that you cannot work. This is why it’s so important to have a lawyer helping you.
What do Social Security Disability Attorneys Do?
One of the most important things that a Social Security Disability attorney in Columbus can do for you is listen. The experience and skill that a lawyer brings to the table can prove invaluable for any Social Security Disability claim. The first thing that your SSD lawyer will do for you is to assess your case and tell you what they think can be done.
After you agree to hire your attorney, other ways they will help with your application include:
- Gathering evidence of your disability
- Communicating with your approved doctor
- Negotiating with the board during your appeal hearing
- Showing that you deserve compensation
When you meet with your attorney for your initial consultation, they will let you know what steps they will take to make sure you get what you need from your claim.
Should I Get a Columbus Lawyer for Social Security Disability?
Sometimes, SSD applications go very smoothly and it’s easy to prove that you deserve compensation for your injuries. However, that’s not often the case. Having a skilled lawyer by your side means significantly increased chances of having your application accepted–even if it has already been denied.
A Columbus, GA, Social Security Disability attorney at John Foy & Associates can help you through the appeal process for a denied claim. They can also help you with any other difficulty during the application process. Our lawyers don’t earn anything unless you win your compensation, so there’s no risk.
Disability vs. Wrongful Termination
Individuals with disabilities face many roadblocks. One of those is discrimination in the workplace. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) protects all disabled Americans from being discriminated against in hiring, on the job, or in termination. The ADA is an important piece of legislation protecting disabled workers, but it can create a conflict with Social Security Act benefits.
The conflict is because the two acts define disabilities differently. Under the ADA, you cannot be fired for your disability if you were nonetheless “qualified” to do your job. But to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you have to prove you are unable to work.
For years, it was believed that you could only do one or the other—accepting disability payments meant giving up your right to sue for wrongful termination.
Luckily, the law doesn’t take that view. A 1999 Supreme Court decision ruled that receiving disability benefits does not disqualify you from making a claim for disability discrimination.
You do not give up any rights by applying for benefits, but claiming the benefits can still complicate your case. Our lawyers can advise you on how to proceed with both a Social Security Disability application, and a claim for wrongful termination by a past employer.
What If I Have Been Denied Social Security Benefits?
If you have been denied disability benefits, you need to speak to a lawyer right away. You do qualify if you are disabled and cannot work, but the SSA often denies people for unclear reasons.
You may have been denied because of an error in your paperwork, lack of medical documentation, or trusting a consultation from an SSA-chosen physician rather than seeing an impartial doctor. None of these denials is fair, and you can fight them.
The SSA offers an appeals process. If you go through it equipped with the right documentation, it’s very likely you will change the decision on your claim and be approved for disability benefits.
But the process is complicated, and you need to present a stronger case than you did in your initial application. If you’ve already been denied once, it is more important than ever that you talk to a disability lawyer.
How Much does an SSD Lawyer Cost in Columbus?
As with most of our services, we only get paid if you get the benefits you deserve. Our fees come out of your winnings. But for Social Security Disability cases, we do not charge above $6,000 in fees – that’s the maximum. But your Columbus SSD lawyer’s payment could be even less than that.
It’s impossible to say exactly how much your lawyer’s fees will be until they are able to assess your case. That’s why you should get an initial consultation and get a better understanding of how much your lawyer will charge. Since the first meeting is free and we charge nothing upfront, there’s no risk to at least meeting with us.
Talk to a Columbus Social Security Disability Attorney for Free
We believe that every disabled person should receive the benefits they deserve. The Columbus, GA, Social Security Disability lawyers at John Foy & Associates have guided countless clients through the process and we know how to get your claim approved.
We offer a 100% free consultation to give you a professional opinion on your claim and make an informed decision. Don’t miss out on your benefits. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.