Since 1956, the government has been providing Social Security Disability benefits to disabled individuals in St. Mary’s and throughout the U.S. Contrary to what many people assume, Social Security Disability is not a handout—but it’s not necessarily easy to get approved, either. Most people need to work with an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in St. Mary’s to improve their applications.
If you’ve worked, you have paid into the Social Security program that provides these disability benefits. They are likely your right. At John Foy & Associates, we are dedicated to helping those who can longer work because of a medical condition get the help they need. It’s what we’ve been doing for over two decades now.
Contact us today and we’ll give you a FREE consultation to discuss the details of your situation, your claim, and how we can help. The consultation is always free to you, so there is no risk or pressure in reaching out. Simply call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today to get started with your FREE consultation.
How You Can Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits in St. Mary’s
The first step in seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is to make sure you qualify. You must meet these two criteria:
- Have a diagnosed medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of disability
- Have earned enough work credits through Social Security
To be deemed disabled enough for SSD benefits, you must have a condition that prevents you from working at all for at least one year (or that will result in death). This includes any past work you used to do or any new work you might be able to adjust to with your condition.
Work credits monitor how much you have paid into the Social Security system, which is where your benefits will come from. Here’s what you need to know about work credits:
- Most adults must have at least 40 work credits with 20 of those credits earned in the 10 years before they became disabled. Younger workers will require fewer credits.
- The amount of wages or self-employed income you must earn per credit varies per year. In 2020, one work credit equals $1,410 in income.
- You can earn up to four work credits per year.
If you meet these qualifications, you will need to thoroughly show this through your SSD application. If the process seems confusing or overwhelming at all, we recommend contacting a Social Security Disability lawyer who can help. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to schedule a FREE consultation.
Submitting Your Social Security Disability Application
If you qualify for SSD benefits, you’ll need to submit an application with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA is an independent federal agency that administers retirement, disability, and survivor benefits through Social Security.
You can submit your application by:
- Applying online through the SSA website
- Calling the SSA by phone
- Mailing an application
- Visiting a local Social Security office
You will need to have several pieces of information ready when submitting your application, including the names, addresses, and phone numbers for doctors you’ve received treatment from, your employment information and dates over the past 15 years, dates and locations of any marriages and divorces, emergency contact information, and more.
Most applications are processed at a local SSA office or through the SSA’s Disability Determination Services. After your application is received, you will get confirmation of your application by email or in the mail, depending on how you applied. If more information is needed to evaluate your application, you will be contacted by phone or mail.
If other family members are eligible to receive benefits, you will also be notified of that. When your application has been reviewed and processed, the SSA’s decision will be mailed to you.
The Appeal Process After Getting Denied for Social Security Disability
If you receive a response from the SSA and find out you were denied benefits, it’s easy to feel discouraged or defeated. However, don’t give up hope. The fact is that many first-time applicants are denied benefits, and there are options.
After you get denied, it’s best to contact a St. Mary’s SSD lawyer right away. They will review the SSA’s reasons for denial and help you to appeal the decision. It’s important to contact a trusted lawyer as soon as possible since you typically have 60 days from receiving your decision notice to ask for an appeal.
After you request an appeal, there are four different levels:
- Hearing by an administrative law judge
- Review by the Appeals Council
- Federal Court review
1. Request for Reconsideration
Your first step in appealing a denial is to request a reconsideration. You can do this online through the SSA website. Someone who was not involved in the first decision will review your claim and any new evidence you have provided with your appeal.
2. Hearing By an Administrative Law Judge
If you are still denied benefits at the reconsideration level, you can then request a hearing. This will be held by an administrative law judge (ALJ) who was not involved in any former part of your case. The ALJ hearing usually happens within 75 miles of where you live.
The ALJ can also be requested online.
3. Review by the Appeals Council
If you are still denied benefits after the ALJ hearing stage, you can request a review with the SSA’s Appeals Council. The Council will look at every request, but they might deny any that they believe were supported by the hearing decision. This can also be requested online.
4. Federal Court Review
The last option, if you disagree with the Appeals Council decision, is to file a civil suit. You cannot request this online.
To make sure that you have the best chance at approval throughout each step of the SSD application process, it’s best to work with an experienced lawyer from the beginning.
Talk to a St. Mary’s Social Security Disability (SSD) Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have been helping SSD applicants get approved for the benefits they deserve over the past 20 plus years. To discuss how we can help your case too, call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.