Most people in Covington pay into Social Security Disability (SSD) their entire working lives. If a medical condition prevents you from working, you should have access to these benefits. But many people get denied – even when they meet the qualifications – and must call a Social Security disability attorney in Covington for help.
Many times, Social Security disability applications are denied when they don’t provide enough information, they contain errors, or there was a misunderstanding with the Social Security Administration. No matter the reason, John Foy & Associates believes no one should get denied the benefits they are entitled to.
What You Need to Know About Social Security Disability in Covington
The Social Security Act was established in 1935 to provide benefits for those who become disabled, unemployed, or otherwise unable to work. Social Security was set up as insurance supported by taxes taken from work wages, which is how it still performs today.
Every Worker Pays Into Social Security
As a worker in the United States, Social Security taxes are taken out of your paychecks. So, if you become injured or develop a medical condition that prevents you from working, you should have access to the Social Security disability benefits you’ve been paying into.
Social Security disability payments are meant to provide money for you to pay your living expenses and feed yourself and your family. They are not simply a government handout. You have put money into this program from your own hard work, and it was set up to protect you.
You Must Have Worked a Certain Amount to Qualify
There are certain work qualifications you must meet to be eligible for Social Security disability payments. Thankfully, most workers can easily meet them. The Social Security Administration wants to see you have been working fairly regularly over the last 10 years. They use “work credits” to gauge whether or not you qualify.
How You Earn Work Credits
The amount you must earn for each work credit can increase slightly from year to year. As of 2019:
- You can get one work credit for every $1,360 you earn
- The maximum work credits you can receive per year is four
- Work credits stay on your record even if you switch jobs or have periods of unemployment
- The same rules apply if you are self-employed or in the military
The amount of work credits you need to qualify for Social Security disability depends on when you became disabled. Most people need between 20 and 40 work credits if they become disabled after age 30. If you were disabled at an earlier age, your requirements are typically much less.
Even if you do not have enough work credits, you may still have options if you are low income. If you need help understanding whether you qualify, a Covington Social Security disability attorney can help you figure out work credit requirements based on your situation.
Your Medical Condition Must Prevent You from Working
Besides having worked enough, you must also have a medical condition that makes you unable to work. The Social Security Administration has an entire process for determining this, so you will need to provide comprehensive proof in your application.
You and your Social Security disability lawyer will need to show that:
- Your disabling condition has been diagnosed by a doctor and it is expected to last for at least a year.
- You are unable to continue at your current job because of your condition.
- Other forms of work are not possible because of your condition.
This is where many applications are denied. If the Social Security Administration does not see enough documentation to prove your condition prevents you from doing any work, they will deny you benefits. That’s why a Social Security disability lawyer can help your case so much. They will know what needs to be included for a strong application.
Get the strong arm
What Documents do I Need for My SSD Application?
The documents that you need to provide for your Social Security Disability application can vary depending on your situation. However, you should go into the process prepared and have everything that they might ask for. Typically, the documents that the Social Security Administration may ask for include:
- Proof of birth like a birth certificate
- Proof of citizenship or lawful alien status
- Military discharge papers
- Employment documents like W-2s or tax returns from the past year
- An Adult Disability Report
- Any medical evidence you have of disability
This can be a lot to get together. So, if you’re having trouble, it may be worth having a Social Security disability lawyer in Covington to help you through the process.
Should I Get a Lawyer for Social Security Disability?
The Social Security Disability process can be long and complicated, and people’s applications are often rejected. If you think you are going to apply for benefits, it’s worth at least consulting with a Covington SSD lawyer who can help you understand how Social Security Disability is decided.
Having a lawyer on your side when you’re applying for Social Security benefits significantly increases your chances of getting approved. Our team knows the ins and outs of SSD requirements, and we can help you do everything you need to do. We’ve been working with applicants for years, so we understand what the SSA wants to see in an application.
Having a Social Security Disability attorney by your side can make the difference between being able to provide for your family and failing to pay your bills. With our team helping you, you can feel confident that you’re getting the medical benefits that you need.
Social Security Disability Benefits When Someone Dies
If someone who has paid into Social Security dies, their survivors may be able to receive benefits. Those who are eligible for survivor benefits include:
- Widows or widowers between age 50 (if disabled) and retirement age, depending on the circumstances
- Widows or widowers who care for the deceased’s child if they are disabled or below the age of 16 and receiving benefits
- Some divorced spouses
- Children who became disabled (and are still disabled) before turning 22
- Unmarried children below age 18 or up to age 19 if they are full-time students
- Stepchildren, adopted children, and grandchildren (in some cases)
- Parents age 62 or older who are dependents of the deceased
Eligibility depends on the details. If you are unsure whether your situation qualifies you or a family member for Social Security disability survivor benefits, contact a lawyer.
How to Appeal Your Application After a Denial
Unfortunately, many applicants are denied when they seek Social Security disability benefits. That can be incredibly frustrating when you know you are eligible. You are probably stressed about how to pay your bills and survive without an income—but don’t get discouraged.
It’s very important that you do not give up after a denial. Many times, you need to provide more thorough documentation or present information in a different way. The Social Security Administration is also not immune to mistakes.
Sometimes, they reject your application due to an error or oversight. It can be hard to sort out what’s wrong on your own, which is why we stress getting a Social Security lawyer as soon as possible.
The Four Steps in the Appeal Process
When an application is denied, the Social Security Administration will give you a reason. You and your lawyer can go over this and make changes as needed. Then, there are four steps in the appeal process.
1. Request for Review
You will need to request the initial denial be re-reviewed. If you are still denied after the review, you will receive an explanation of the denial.
2. Administrative Law Judge Hearing
After the second denial, you can appeal further by requesting an administrative law judge (ALJ) hearing within 60 days. About half of SSD applicants who proceed to this step start getting benefits.
3. Appeals Council Review
If the ALJ hearing is unsuccessful, you can request a review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council is very strict in which applications they accept and approve, but it is the next step in pursuing benefits.
4. Filing a Lawsuit
The final step in appealing your application is a review by the federal court. You will absolutely want to have an experienced Social Security disability lawyer at this stage. During the case, a judge will look at your case, mostly for legal errors. This is a long and expensive process, so it’s best to have a lawyer far before now to increase your chances of approval early on.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Attorney in Covington, GA for Free
If you need help with your application, the Covington Social Security disability lawyers at John Foy & Associates are here to support you every step of the way. We understand what the Social Security Administration is looking for. We can help improve your current application, guide you through the appeals process, and answer any questions you have along the way.