You have options if you live in Monroe and cannot work because of a medical condition or illness. Social Security Disability (SSD) should provide income benefits to help support you and your family. However, many people struggle to get the benefits they so desperately need, so they turn to an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in Monroe for help.
Our lawyers at John Foy & Associates have been helping disabled individuals get the SSD benefits they need for over 20 years. Even if you clearly qualify for benefits, you might get denied for various reasons. We can figure out where your application needs to be improved to give you the best chance at approval.
If we don’t win you money, we don’t charge you a fee. To schedule a FREE consultation to discuss the details, call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online now.
What to Understand About the Social Security Disability System
Social Security Disability (SSD) was set up under the Social Security Act in 1935. Many people are most familiar with the Social Security program that provides benefits to those who are retired. However, it also pays disability benefits to people who have paid into Social Security through wages but can no longer work due to a medical condition.
SSD benefits are not a lot, but they are the difference between sinking or swimming for many families. Those who qualify for benefits should be eligible to receive a monthly payment to help cover living expenses, food, medical costs, and other things you need to live and support yourself.
Everyone should know the following about the Social Security Disability program.
Your Work History Matters
Although you must have a medical condition that prevents you from working to qualify, you must also have paid into the system for long enough (and recently enough).
The Social Security Administration (SSA), which is the independent government agency that administers Social Security benefits, will look to see if you have paid enough Social Security taxes to benefit from the program. We’ll get into the specifics of your work history requirements below.
Social Security Is Not a Handout
If you are eligible for Social Security Disability, you’ll be receiving benefits from a system that you actively paid into for many years. Social Security taxes should be taken as a deduction from your paychecks or self-employment income. So, you are applying for a benefit that you’ve paid for through your wages.
Any Medical Condition May Qualify
If you have a medical condition that prevents you from working at all, you might qualify for benefits. Your condition doesn’t have to result from work-related injuries or other reasons.
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How You Qualify for SSD in Monroe, GA
There are two main criteria the SSA uses to evaluate SSD applications and decide whether or not you qualify for benefits. The screening process is long and strict, which is why so many people can fall through the cracks. If there is a simple paperwork error or lack of enough evidence, your application will likely get denied.
Here are the two criteria you need to meet in order to qualify for benefits through Social Security Disability.
1. Social Security Work Credits
You must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security, through which you’ll receive work credits. The legal term for a work credit is Quarter of Coverage. These credits are based on your total yearly income (or self-employment income if you work for yourself).
Here’s how work credits work:
- The amount you must earn per credit changes each year. In 2020, one credit is earned for every $1,410 you earn.
- You can earn up to four credits each year.
- If you are 62 years old or older, you will typically need 40 credits—with 20 of those earned in the 10 years before you became disabled—to qualify.
Younger workers will need fewer credits to qualify for benefits. The SSA’s How You Earn Credits document provides what credits are needed per age group. If you have any questions about your work credits, contact a Monroe Social Security Disability lawyer.
If it turns out that you don’t have enough work credits to qualify for SSD, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This is a different program provided by the SSA that pays benefits to disabled adults (and children) with very low income and resources.
2. Disabling Condition
Besides having paid into Social Security enough, you must also have a condition that falls under the SSA’s definition of disability. Unlike some other programs, SSD does not cover anything other than a total disability that prevents you from working at all.
When looking at your application, the Social Security Administration will ask the following questions.
Are You Currently Working?
If you’re not working at all, your application will be sent to a Disability Determination Services (DDS) office to evaluate the details of your condition. However, if you are working and earning more than a certain amount, your application will likely be denied.
Do You Have a “Severe” Condition?
Your medical condition must greatly affect your ability to perform basic actions like walking, standing, sitting, lifting things, or remembering things. The condition also must have lasted (or be expected to last) for at least a year.
Is Your Condition on the List of Disabling Conditions?
The SSA has a list of medical conditions that they acknowledge can be serious enough to keep someone from working. They will consult this list. However, if your condition is not on the list, they will determine if it’s as severe as a similar listed condition.
Can You do Any Type of Work You Performed Before?
In your application, you will need to provide a lot of detail about past jobs you have worked in. The SSA will look to see if your condition definitely prevents you from doing previous types of work. If it doesn’t, you will likely not be considered to have a disability that qualifies.
Can You Perform Any Other Type of Work?
If you are unable to do previous work, the SSA will look to see if you can perform any other types of work with your condition.
If you meet all of these qualifications, you should be eligible for SSD benefits. A lawyer can help show your qualifications in the best way possible through your application.
Speak with a Social Security Disability (SSD) Lawyer in Monroe, GA for Free Today
If you get denied benefits or are overwhelmed by the process, don’t give up. At John Foy & Associates, we can help. Contact us today and we’ll give you a FREE, no-risk consultation to discuss your options. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to schedule your FREE consultation today.