If you become unable to work in Forest Park because of a medical condition, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. These benefits are meant to help you continue supporting yourself and your family even when you can’t continue earning income. Unfortunately, many individuals find themselves getting denied—even if they meet the qualifications. A Social Security Disability (SSD) lawyer in Forest Park can help increase the chances of approval.
Our Social Security Disability lawyers at John Foy & Associates are on a mission to help disabled workers get the benefits they deserve. We can go through your entire application and help you make large improvements before submitting or requesting an appeal. To schedule a FREE consultation to go over your case, call us today at (404) 400-4000.
What Social Security Disability Means in Forest Park
Here are some facts to know about Social Security Disability:
- Social Security Disability (SSD) is a federal program set up for people who have paid into the system and can no longer work.
- Social Security taxes are automatically taken out of your paychecks, so you are entitled to benefits if you meet the qualifications for SSD.
- Social Security Disability benefits act as an income when a medical condition prevents you from working.
- Unlike workers’ compensation, SSD does not require that your disability result from a work injury. Any condition that keeps you from working may count.
The problem with SSD is that getting approved is difficult for many individuals. A lot of Forest Park applicants get denied even if they truly can’t work and have a serious medical condition. Other times, disabled individuals fail to apply at all because the process is too overwhelming or they assume they don’t have a chance.
Below, we’ll go over the main requirements for SSD and what to do if you get denied. (Hint: It does not mean you need to give up or that you don’t still have a chance at receiving benefits.)
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Work History Requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance
Since Social Security Disability is paid through taxes from workers’ income, you will need to meet a certain minimum of work time. You will also need to have worked recently enough.
Thankfully, most people will meet the requirements if they have worked much at all in the last 10 years. The Social Security Administration (SSA), the federal agency that provides SSD and other retirement and disability benefits, will review your work history based on your work credits:
- In 2019, you earn one work credit per $1,360 in earnings. This amount changes from year to year.
- You can a maximum of four work credits per year.
- Most applicants will need at least 40 work credits—with 20 of those credits earned in the last 10 years.
- Those who become disabled at age 61 or younger will require fewer credits. (For example, those age 31 through 42 will require 20 credits.)
Most people who have worked on a regular basis will meet the minimums for work credits, even with part-time work. Your credits also stay on your record if you have periods of unemployment. However, having more credits than the requirement does not increase your chances of approval.
How the Social Security Administration Determines If You Qualify in Forest Park
Besides the qualifications for work history, your medical condition must also need to be severe enough to prevent you from working. Social Security Disability only covers total disabilities, not short-term or partial disabilities.
To determine if you are disabled, the SSA will look at five factors:
1. Whether or Not You Are Working
You typically cannot be considered disabled if you are working in the current year and have earned, on average, over $1,220 per month.
If you are not working, your application will move to the next step. It will be sent to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office for evaluation of your medical condition.
2. If Your Condition Is Severe Enough
To be considered disabled, your medical condition must prevent or mostly limit your ability to stand, walk, sit, lift, or remember things as required during typical work. It must also prevent you from doing so for a year or more.
If your condition fits this criterion, it will proceed to the next step.
3. If Your Condition Is on Their List
The SSA maintains a Listing of Impairments that they will use to evaluate your condition. Medical conditions on this list have been considered severe enough to keep someone from working. The list is divided into sections like:
- Cardiovascular System
- Musculoskeletal System
- Respiratory Disorders
- Digestive System
- Skin Disorders
- Immune System Disorders
- Mental Disorders
If your medical condition is not on this list, the SSA will determine whether it is as severe as a listed condition. If your condition is deemed severe enough, you will be considered disabled. If not, your application will move to the next step.
Some conditions will qualify for SSD as soon as you are diagnosed with them. These are very serious cases like pancreatic cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), or acute leukemia. These conditions are fast-tracked through Compassionate Allowances.
4. Whether You Can Perform Any Previous Work
If you have not yet been considered disabled, the SSA will determine whether you can still perform any past work. If you can, you will likely be denied disability. If you can’t, your application moves on.
5. If You Can Do Any Other Types of Work
Next, it will be determined whether or not there is other work you could perform with your condition. Factors like age, past work, and education are taken into account here. If it’s decided you cannot do other types of work, you’ll be considered disabled. Otherwise, you will be denied.
Talk to a Forest Park Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
As you can see from the above information, the approval and denial process for Social Security Disability benefits is complex and complicated. It’s understandable to be overwhelmed when applying for disability or getting a notice of denial. At John Foy & Associates, we can help.
Whether you have yet to apply or you have already been denied, we can guide you through the next best steps. Many applicants give up after being denied, but this is an unfortunate mistake. Let us give you a FREE consultation to have your situation evaluated. We can discuss the best options for you. Call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with your FREE consultation.