It can be difficult to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits in Douglasville, Georgia. Even if you clearly have a real disability and a long history of working and paying Social Security taxes, it’s routine to be turned down when you first apply.
At John Foy & Associates, we have spent the past 20 years helping people get their benefits. We are committed to working hard to get our clients a regular income to sustain them after a disability. Here’s how our Douglasville Social Security Disability lawyers can help you.
What Are Social Security Disability (SSDI) Benefits?
Congress passed the Social Security Act to ensure that working Americans would not fall into poverty when they retired or suffered a disability that left them unable to work. As part of the Act, Social Security Disability Income, or SSDI, is available to provide an income to people who used to have a job, but can no longer work because of a medical condition.
The benefits you receive under SSDI can help you afford your rent or mortgage, buy food for yourself and your family, and pay other expenses. In other words, SSDI benefits help ease the financial burden of being unable to work.
3 Things to Know About Social Security Disability Insurance
The three things you need to know about Social Security Disability Insurance include the following:
- SSDI is not charity or welfare. To be entitled to SSDI, you must have paid money into the Social Security system through payroll taxes when you were working. Just as paying Social Security taxes gives you a right to collect Social Security when you retire, you have a right to SSDI if you become disabled.
- You don’t have to be injured at work to qualify. Any type of disability that leaves you unable to work can entitle you to SSDI, including a disease, medical condition or injury.
- The government will look at your work history. You must have worked regularly over the past 10 years to qualify for SSDI benefits, but you may still qualify if you had periods of unemployment or worked part-time. If you have a low income, you may be able to receive benefits similar to SSDI even if you do not have sufficient work history to be eligible for SSDI.
SSDI benefits are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in Douglasville, GA. The SSA in the City of Douglasville routinely turns down applications for SSDI, even when the person submitting the application qualifies for benefits and should have been approved.
For this reason, it is important to have a Social Security disability lawyer in Douglasville help you file and/or appeal your application.
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Am I Eligible for SSDI in Douglasville?
To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must prove to the SSA that you have worked in the past, but that you now have a medical condition that makes it impossible for you to hold a job. More particularly, you must prove that:
- A doctor has diagnosed your health condition.
- The doctor predicts that your condition will go on for at least a year, or your condition is terminal.
- Because of your medical condition, you can’t do your job.
- Your condition also keeps you from doing other types of work that you are qualified for.
- Your past work history has earned you enough “work credits” to qualify you for SSDI benefits.
- You have earned at least 20 work credits in the past 10 years.
- If your past work history has not earned you enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits, you must prove you have a low income.
It sounds simple enough to meet these conditions, but it can be complicated and frustrating to gather and present the documentation needed to prove your eligibility to the SSA. A denial can add insult to injury, but you can fight back with our help.
Why Was My SSDI Claim Denied?
This happens for a variety of reasons. The person handling your application may not understand your disability. There may be an error in your paperwork. Or the government may ask you to provide further documentation.
You may wait for months as one delay after another derails what seems like a simple process. And meanwhile, you have no benefits. But our Douglasville Social Security disability attorneys can help.
Our experience has taught us what it takes to put together a strong application. Our Douglasville SSDI lawyers will gather the right documentation for your case and offer evidence to prove that your condition qualifies for disability payments. If your claim is denied, we will handle appeals and attend hearings.
How Do I Know if My Condition Counts as a “Disability”?
Any condition that leaves you unable to work is a disability, but some conditions get approved more easily than others. The SSA gives automatic approval to some very serious conditions, like kidney failure or some types of cancer. All you need is a doctor’s diagnosis and you’re eligible for benefits as long as you have a sufficient work history.
Most conditions fall within more of a gray area. They can be serious enough to cause a disability, but they don’t always qualify. For these conditions, you must prove to the SSA that your condition is serious enough to prevent you from working.
The SSA has an extensive list of conditions that fall within this category, which it calls “disabling conditions.” Common examples include:
- Heart disease
- Serious vision problems or blindness
- Neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
- Incapacitating back pain
- Serious cases of asthma
You may qualify for SSDI benefits even if your condition isn’t on the SSA’s list. However, you may need to provide additional evidence to show that your condition is severe enough to keep you from working.
Can I Appeal My SSDI Application if It Was Denied?
Yes, the SSA has an appeal process that, in many cases, offers a better chance of approval than the initial application process. However, in preparing an appeal, it’s important to think strategically, find out why the initial application was denied, and put together the documents needed to overcome the original problem that caused the denial.
If your first appeal is also denied, you can appeal again, and eventually your case will be heard by a judge rather than an employee of the SSA. A judge may have a better grasp of the law and may be more willing to grant benefits, especially in close cases involving controversial medical conditions.
These appeals take time, however, and eventually you may have to start over with a new application. To avoid months of frustration with no benefits in sight, it’s important to get a qualified SSDI attorney in Douglasville to help you.
You Must Make Regular Reports to the SSA to Prove You’re Still Disabled
Getting on SSDI is tough and you’ll need to make regular reports to the SSA to show that you’re still disabled. If you start to get better, find an alternative way to work, or even come into an inheritance, the government may try to stop your benefits.
This is another place where our Social Security Disability attorneys can help you out. We can investigate the reasons why the SSA believes you should lose your benefits and argue why you still need them. A small temporary bump in income shouldn’t kick you out of a program you need to survive.
We Can Speak to the SSA on Your Behalf
Social Security is a complicated system and sometimes parts of it intersect with others. For instance, if you have a spouse that’s caretaking you and they pass away, how does their spousal benefits interfere with SSDI calculations?
The SSA often takes a fact-and-numbers based approach to allowing benefits. They don’t look at your emotional state or your true needs. But we know the laws, the evidence, and the language that will get them to listen.
Talk to a Douglasville Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
SSDI benefits can make it possible to put food on the table, pay the utilities and keep your home. Don’t wait years for the benefit you worked hard for. Let John Foy & Associates give you a free consultation and show how we can help you present your best case for SSDI benefits. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.