Applying for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits in Marietta, Georgia can be complicated and time-consuming, and many people with legitimate disabilities get turned down. A good lawyer can help you apply and get approved, but not all lawyers provide the same level of knowledge and experience.
At John Foy & Associates, our Social Security Disability attorneys in Marietta have been helping people get approved for SSDI for over 20 years. We believe that disability benefits are your right, and we will not let government bureaucracy stop you from getting the benefits you need.
How Does Social Security Disability (SSDI) Work in Marietta?
SSDI is part of the federal Social Security Act that guarantees certain rights and benefits to all workers in the U.S. The disability benefits provided by this act are similar to an insurance policy.
Basically, if you have been working for a living and you find yourself with a disability – for any reason – you are then entitled to ongoing payments to replace your lost income. This money can be used to pay rent, provide for your family, or for anything else you would use your normal wages for. The basics of SSDI are:
- SSDI benefits are not a “handout.” You paid for these benefits with deductions from your paycheck while you were working.
- It does not matter how your disability came about; it does not have to be a work-related injury to qualify.
- Almost any kind of condition, physical or psychological, will count if it prevents you from working.
- To get SSDI benefits, you have to have worked fairly consistently over the past 10 years. However, many people qualify even if they worked less than full-time or had long periods without employment.
Unfortunately, the government is not quick to approve benefits. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the City of Marietta has a reputation for turning down applications based on nothing more than missing paperwork and technicalities.
In many cases, individuals who have a valid disability get turned down simply because they didn’t provide the right documentation. This is why it’s so important to have a professional help you with your application.
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How Do I Know if I Qualify for SSDI Benefits?
If you have worked for a living, and you can no longer work because of a medical condition, you should qualify. But the SSA will need proof of both your work history and your diagnosis. The factors they look at include:
- Whether you have a diagnosed medical condition
- Whether your medical condition will last at least a year (or is considered terminal)
- Whether your condition prevents you from performing your job duties
- Whether your condition makes it difficult to perform other potential jobs
- Whether you earned enough “work credits” under SSA guidelines – that is, whether you worked enough hours on average
- Whether you have worked recently (20+ credits in the past 10 years)
- If you do not meet the requirements for how many hours you worked, you could still qualify for benefits if you have a low income
You need documentation that supports each of these facts along with your application. One of the things our Marietta SSDI attorneys do is go over your application and evidence of disability for any flaws before applying or appealing your claim.
Which Conditions Count as “Disabilities” for SSDI?
Technically, any condition can qualify if it prevents you from working. It can be a condition related to an injury, a disease, or a psychological condition. But some conditions are easier to prove as “disabilities” than others.
The SSA already has a list of conditions that they know can count as disabilities. Having one of these conditions doesn’t automatically mean you qualify, but it makes it easier to prove your case. Some examples include:
- Severe back pain and back injuries
- Heart failure
- Low vision, blindness, and hearing loss
- Neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis and epilepsy
- Diagnosed depression, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Severe asthma
You can see the SSA’s full list of these conditions here. There are also some very severe conditions, like many types of cancer, that are automatically considered to qualify. With these severe conditions, simply being diagnosed is enough to count as a disability.
Most conditions, however, will require documentation and evidence to qualify. Don’t lose hope, if you legitimately cannot work because of your condition, you can get approved with the help of a good Marietta SSDI lawyer.
If My SSDI Claim Was Already Denied, What Can I Do?
The SSA’s appeals process is your “second chance” at getting benefits. But you cannot simply file the same paperwork over and over – this will lead to rejection after rejection until you are out of appeals. Instead, you have to figure out what exactly the SSA wants to see and then assemble the evidence to convince them.
Many conditions are considered “controversial” by some in the SSA, even though they are recognized as potentially causing a disability. It helps to have a professional on your side who knows the system. An SSDI lawyer in Marietta can help you understand what evidence is missing and what arguments a judge needs to hear.
Don’t give up and don’t panic. Initial claims are often turned down and get overturned on appeal. Talk with a lawyer with experience in SSDI appeals, like the ones at our firm, before you file for one.
Could I Lose My SSDI Benefits Later On?
Yes, the most common way is to engage in Substantial Gain Activity (SGA) beyond the earning limit for SSDI. This often happens when you find a job or a side gig to supplement your income. If you’re being denied for this reason, we can see if the SSA is correct in their assessment or not.
Much more rarely, it’s possible you could lose benefits if your condition is removed from the disability list. If a new cure came on the market that allowed you to work again, for instance, your condition might not qualify.
Also, if the SSA has reason to believe that your disability documentation was fraudulent, then that could put you in serious legal jeopardy.
If I Have Retirement Savings, Must I Tap into These First to Qualify?
No. The SSA does not care about any assets you hold when determining SSDI benefits. It’s strictly about if you can earn money through employment because of your disability. After all, if you’ve earned more over time, then you’ve paid more into the system. It would be unjust to remove the benefit for this reason.
However, there are certain other benefit programs given by the government that could count as SGA income. One notable example is SSI income, the form of SSD for people with extremely low income. Qualifying for both kinds of benefits can make income calculations tricky.
Talk to a Marietta Social Security Disability Attorney for Free
Many attorneys say they provide SSDI support even if they have rarely worked on an application. These attorneys then struggle because they are not well versed in SSDI appeal strategies or how to get disabilities like back pain, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and others approved.
Getting approved for SSDI benefits can make the difference between paying your mortgage and losing your home. Don’t let your claim be denied. John Foy & Associates has the experience and knowledge to file your claim correctly and represent you through the appeals process.
Let us give you a free consultation. Call us or fill out the form to your right to schedule one. Don’t let the SSA deny you your right to SSD benefits if you qualify.
404-400-4000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form