If you are disabled and can no longer work, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI). But getting approved in Roswell, Georgia is not easy. Many people who are truly disabled are turned down for benefits even if they have a long work history.
At John Foy & Associates, our Social Security Disability lawyers in Roswell want to make the SSD process as frustration-free as possible. You have a right to Social Security benefits, and we know what documents and evidence the government needs to approve your claim.
How do Social Security Disability Benefits Work?
Most people think of Social Security as a government program that gives you a regular paycheck after you retire, but it can also help those who are disabled. The benefits are paid for with deductions from workers’ paychecks.
To qualify for SSD benefits, you do not need to be of retirement age. SSD benefits are paid to people who used to work, but now have a disability that prevents them from earning a living. SSD payments will help you stay in your home, pay utilities and buy food, clothing, and other necessities.
There are several important items to know about SSD before you apply for these benefits:
- It is not a handout. You are only eligible for benefits because you paid into the system while you worked. You must have paid into the system for a certain amount of time to qualify for these benefits.
- Any disability can count, as long as it keeps you from working. Your disability might be a result of an injury or a health issue, and it doesn’t matter if it happened on the job.
- Your work history is important. The SSA requires regular employment over 10 years to qualify for SSDI. However, this does not mean you had to work continuously, and if you do not have a long enough work history, you may still qualify for a similar program if you have a low enough income.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) processes SSD applications. People who apply for SSD in Roswell regularly have their applications turned down by the SSA, even though they should easily qualify. To keep this from happening to you, it’s important to hire an SSDI lawyer in Roswell as early in the process as possible.
Get the strong arm
How do I Qualify for SSD in Roswell?
SSD is available to people who pay Social Security taxes who used to hold a job but can’t work anymore because of disability. However, to be approved for benefits, you must prove your eligibility. You must show that:
- You have a doctor’s diagnosis of your medical condition.
- Your medical condition is terminal or it is expected to last for one year or longer.
- Because of your medical condition, you can’t perform your job.
- You also can’t do other kinds of work you’re qualified for.
- It would be hard for you to do other jobs you might potentially do.
- Your past work history has enough “work credits” to grant you access to SSD.
- You have recent work history (earning at least twenty credits in the last decade).
- If you don’t have enough work history, you must prove you have a very low income.
Even if you meet these requirements, the SSA wants to see particular types of documents and evidence – and it is hard to put together the documentation that will convince the SSA without the help of a legal expert.
How do I Know If My Condition Is Considered a “Disability”?
Many types of medical conditions can make it impossible for you to hold a job. In theory, all of them should count as disabilities. But in practice, some disabilities are easier to prove to the SSA than others.
A few conditions, like terminal cancer, automatically count as disabilities. To qualify with these, you just need a doctor’s diagnosis. For most conditions, though, things aren’t as clear-cut. The SSA recognizes that many conditions can keep you from working, but aren’t always serious enough to count as disabilities.
This means that you must show that in your particular case, your condition is damaging enough that you are unable to work. The SSA has a long list of these “disabling conditions.” Some of the more common ones include:
- Serious heart conditions and heart failure
- Blindness and other serious problems with eyesight.
- Neurological conditions
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Mental illness
- Frequent, severe back pain
- Serious asthma cases
The full list of conditions is here, but it is not exhaustive. Your condition may count as a disability even if it’s not on the list. You will just need to submit extra documentation to prove your condition has caused you to be unable to work.
Why Would My Social Security Disability Claim Be Denied?
The SSA has to justify its expenditures to Congress and show good stewardship of the fund. Thus, they need a lot of documentation to justify paying people out of the fund. If what they need is lacking, that can cause a denial.
Sometimes there’s a paperwork mistake or not enough documentation. Other times the government workers processing the claim simply don’t understand your medical situation. No matter what the reason, getting turned down is frustrating, and the delays mean needless financial struggles.
A Roswell Social Security disability attorney can help, both in making your initial application and in handling appeals to the SSA about your case. It’s best if you can work with one right from the start to maximize your chances of avoiding an appeal.
If the SSA Already Denied My Application, Can I Appeal the Decision?
Absolutely. In fact, many people who are denied benefits on their first application have much better luck on appeal. However, to win an appeal, you must fix your first application. Your application was rejected for a reason, and you need to understand the reason and correct any problems or deficiencies when you file your appeal.
If you lose your first appeal, you can file additional appeals. If you persist, your case will be brought before a judge. Judges tend to understand the law better than government workers, and sometimes they are more sympathetic to uncommon conditions or in edge cases.
However, there is a limit to how many appeals you can file, and if you use up all your appeals your only option is to start all over again with a new application. This involves waiting many months without benefits. That’s why it’s best to have a Social Security Disability attorney in Roswell on your team sooner rather than later.
SSDI’s Income Limits
To stay on SSDI after you’ve been approved, your income must stay below a certain level. This program is designed for people who absolutely cannot work again. Gaining income beyond the limits can kick you out of the program.
The Substantial Gainful Activity limit is the maximum you can earn each month and still stay in the program. As of this writing, this amount is $1,260 a month for most disabled people. Blind people are allowed $2110 a month.
Even if you have a disabling condition, you will lose your benefits if you find a way to earn income despite your disability. This is a problem that can surprise many people on SSDI who learn how to earn side income through the internet.
If I Have Assets, Can I Be Denied SSDI for Them?
Usually not. The SSD program is most interested in the money you’re earning right now through SGA. Money earned from a spouse or from your assets does not count as SGA. However, benefits through the SSI program and potentially other government programs could qualify.
Talk to a Roswell Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
At John Foy & Associates, we know the devastating toll a disability can take on your finances and your future. We’ve helped many people get SSDI benefits that have allowed them to stay in their homes and put food on the table.
We can prepare an application, prove that your condition counts as a disability, attend hearings, and handle appeals. We will consult with you for free about your application. Call us or use our contact form and get your free consultation today.