Many people in Lithonia struggle to get approved for Social Security Disability benefits, even if they clearly qualify. It helps to have the assistance of a Lithonia Social Security Disability (SSD) lawyer who can help improve your application and begin receiving the payments you so desperately need. However, you’ll need to work with a lawyer who specializes in SSD applications and knows how to handle appeals, denials, and more.
At John Foy & Associates, we have some of the more experienced and compassionate Social Security Disability lawyers in the state of Georgia. We’ve been helping those with disabilities in Lithonia get the benefits they need to pay for their living costs and support their families. If you need help with your own SSD application, call us today for a FREE consultation at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
How Social Security Disability Works in Lithonia
When you were working, a portion of your paycheck was taken to pay into the Social Security system. Thus, if you have become unable to continue working because of a disabling condition, you have the right to the benefits you’ve paid into for so many years. If you qualify, Social Security should send you regular checks (known as Social Security Disability Insurance) to use as income for your living needs.
The problem many SSD applicants run into is that it’s not easy to get approved. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a lengthy process for evaluating applications, and yours will need to make it through each stage before you are approved. Even when you qualify, your application can get denied if the details aren’t clear, there is not enough information in the application, or even if there are paperwork errors.
Since there is such a high chance of denial, even when you qualify, it’s best to get a Lithonia Social Security Disability lawyer on your side as soon as possible.
Social Security Disability Eligibility
Although most people who have worked previously and can no longer work because of a medical condition are eligible, there are specific criteria you must meet to official be approved for SSD.
In your application, you will need to prove that you have:
- Enough work credits from your past work history
- Accumulated 20 work credits or more in the last 10 years
- Have a medical condition that has been diagnosed by a doctor, is expected to last a year or more (or will result in death), and prevents you from performing your job or taking on any new type of work
Social Security work credits are what the SSA uses to find out if you have the minimum amount of work required to qualify for SSD benefits. The amount of earnings it takes to earn a work credit varies per year. In 2019, you must earn $1,360 to rack up on work credit, and you can earn up to four work credits per year.
Most people need 40 credits, with 20 of those being earned in the last 10 years, to qualify for benefits. However, younger workers typically have lower requirements.
If you become disabled:
- Prior to age 24, you might qualify if you have earned six work credits in the three years ending when you became disabled.
- At age 24 to 31, you may qualify if you have accrued credits for half the time between when you became disabled and your 21st birthday.
- At age 31 or older, you will need anywhere between 20 and 40 work credits to qualify.
You will need to provide thorough documentation of your work history, medical records, diagnosis, treatment plans, and proof of your disabling condition in your SSD application to have a chance of getting approved. This is why many applicants decide to work with a Social Security Disability lawyer who knows what the SSA is looking for.
What Counts as a Disabling Condition Under Social Security Disability
Any medical condition that prevents you from working may qualify for Social Security Disability—but you will need to provide proof of the condition and the fact that it keeps you from working. Your condition does not need to have resulted from being injured at work; it can be from a disease or injury not related to your work.
The SSA has a List of Disabling Conditions that they recognize as disabling. If your medical condition is listed, you have a better chance of getting approved. However, you can still get denied benefits unless you prove the condition truly disables you from working at all.
Common disabling conditions the SSA recognizes fall under:
- Heart failure
- Back issues
- Hearing loss or vision loss
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Neurological disorders
- Psychological disorders
If a condition is so serious that the SSA clearly sees they are disabling, you may be able to fast-tracked for approval. This is known as a Compassionate Allowance and includes conditions like adult brain disorders, certain cancers, and rare childhood disorders.
How to Handle a Denied Social Security Disability Claim
Unfortunately, Social Security Disability applications are often denied, especially on the first try. The good news is that denial does not mean you have no chance of getting benefits. In fact, we encourage you to reach out to a Social Security Disability lawyer right away to increase your chances of approval.
After a denial, you will need to appeal your application—not begin a new one. Submitting another application is a good way to get denied all over again.
Instead, you should work with an experienced lawyer who can help you improve your initial application and submit an appeal. Your lawyer will investigate the reason behind your denial so that you can strengthen your documentation during the next try.
Talk to a Social Security Disability (SSD) Lawyer in Lithonia, GA for Free
At John Foy & Associates, we understand how vital Social Security Disability benefits are for you and your family when you can no longer work. We can help you improve your application and boost your chances of getting the benefits you so desperately need. Our lawyers have been doing this for over 20 years, so we have expert knowledge of the SSD system and how each application is handled.
Contact us today and we’ll give you a FREE consultation to discuss your application and your condition. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started today.