Signing up for Social Security Disability in Stockbridge sounds simple, but getting approved can be quite difficult. People with real disabilities are regularly denied benefits, even when they have a long history of working and paying Social Security taxes.
Applications are denied for many reasons, ranging from incomplete paperwork to a misunderstanding on the part of the person reviewing your application. For many disability applicants, the process means months of frustration and financial stress because they can’t get the benefits they’re entitled to. A Stockbridge Social Security Disability attorney can help.
For over two decades, the lawyers at John Foy & Associates have been helping people get Social Security Disability benefits, also known as SSDI. We believe that you have a right to benefits, and we know what sort of documentation the government wants to see when they evaluate your application.
Should I Get a Lawyer for Social Security Disability?
Many people find that their SSDI application is very hard to fill out. Gathering the information and materials necessary to have a successful claim can be complicated. If you’re having any trouble with your application, then it may be worth hiring a lawyer to help.
If your claim has been denied, then that’s even more reason to get a lawyer. Appealing the denial requires comprehensive knowledge of how Social Security works and what the Social Security Administration (SSA) wants to see from you. That’s why you should have a Stockbridge SSDI attorney by your side for the appeals process.
Our team will organize the paperwork and submit evidence to prove that you have a disability. We’ll even appeal your case to a judge if necessary. If you’re still not sure whether it’s worth getting a Social Security Disability lawyer for your claim, you can always get a free initial consultation to get a better idea of how we can help you.
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How Much does It Cost to Hire an SSDI Lawyer?
Hiring an SSDI lawyer should cost you nothing upfront. That’s why our attorneys work on a contingency-fee-basis. That means they don’t charge you anything unless you get the compensation you’re looking for.
For normal personal injury cases, lawyers usually charge between 30% and 40% of the compensation you receive, depending on the difficulty of the case. Things are different for Social Security Disability cases, though. Federal law states that SSDI lawyers cannot charge more than $6,000 or 25% of your past-due benefits, whichever is lower.
This is similar to how workers’ compensation lawyers in Stockbridge get paid, and it does not apply to any ongoing benefits that you get in the future. Your lawyer’s fees will only be based on the first compensation you receive from your claim.
When you first meet with your SSDI attorney, they will go over your case, including how much they’re likely to charge. When you decide to hire them, they will come to an agreement with you as to how much of your past-due benefits will go towards lawyer fees. The rest will go on to you so you can support yourself and your family.
What do I Need to Know About Social Security Disability Benefits in Stockbridge?
SSDI is part of the federal Social Security Act—the same set of laws that provides Social Security benefits when you retire. All of us have Social Security taxes withdrawn from our paychecks during our working lives, and these taxes are then used to provide income to people who are financially vulnerable because they are retired, injured, or for other reasons can’t work anymore.
The SSDI program provides monthly income to people who used to have a job, but now have a medical condition that makes it impossible for them to work. SSDI can help you support your family, buy food and pay essential expenses like rent and utilities. People between the ages of 18 and 64 who receive SSDI are also eligible for the Georgia Department of Labor’s Ticket to Work program.
Here are some things to know about the SSDI program:
- It’s not a government handout. SSDI is financed by Social Security taxes, which you paid when you were working. Since you paid into the system, you now have a right to benefit from it.
- Any kind of disability can be eligible. You can be disabled because of any injury or illness that keeps you from working. You don’t have to have been injured at work.
- Work history is important. To collect SSDI, you must have paid enough into the system during your working years. In general, you must have worked regularly during the past 10 years, though “regularly” may mean that you worked part-time or had gaps in employment. If you have not worked enough, you may still qualify for a similar program if your income is low.
The SSDI program is administered in the City of Stockbridge by the Social Security Administration. Unfortunately, the SSA frequently turns down SSDI applications, even when the applicant is qualified. That’s why it’s critical to have an SSDI lawyer on your side as you navigate the process.
How Can I Qualify for SSDI in Stockbridge?
The general rules for eligibility are simple: If you have a long enough work history and can’t work anymore because of a medical condition, you are eligible for SSDI. The difficult part is that you must prove that you are eligible. To do this, you must show that:
- A doctor has diagnosed you with a health condition.
- Your condition will continue for a year or longer, or your condition is terminal.
- Because of your medical condition, you can’t do your job.
- You also can’t do other kinds of jobs that you’re qualified for.
- Your previous jobs have earned you enough “work credits” to be eligible for SSDI.
- You have worked enough to earn 20 work credits in the past 10 years.
- Alternately, your income is low (this may qualify you if you do not have enough work credits).
Many disabled people meet these conditions. But it can be hard to assemble the documentation needed to convince the SSA that you are entitled to benefits.
Is My Condition Considered a “Disability?”
There’s no one size fits all answer to this question. The SSA easily approves some conditions as disabilities, while others need more proof. A few very severe conditions, like certain types of cancer or kidney failure, are automatically classified as qualifying disabilities – all you need is a doctor’s diagnosis and the SSA will approve your disability.
But for most conditions, it’s less clear. The SSA may acknowledge that the condition might be serious enough to count as a disability, but it won’t approve SSDI benefits in every case. In other words, you have to prove that your case is serious enough to prevent you from working.
Disabling Conditions, According to the SSA
The SSA has a long list of ailments and injuries that can qualify as “disabling conditions.” They include:
- Severe heart ailments, including heart failure
- Serious vision problems, including blindness and low vision
- Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis
- Depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses
- Incapacitating pain in your back
- Extreme cases of asthma
- Irritable bowel syndrome
There are many other conditions that may qualify, according to the SSA’s List of Impairments, but SSA’s list isn’t necessarily complete. Other conditions can also qualify you for benefits, as long as you can provide documentation and evidence to prove that your case is severe enough that you can no longer hold a job.
If My SSDI Application Was Denied, Can I Appeal?
You can. An initial denial is never final, and you can always file an appeal and have a second chance at approval. In fact, it’s not uncommon for an application to be denied the first time and then approved on appeal.
However, it’s not a good idea to just re-file your original application as an appeal. The application was denied for a reason, and a good appeal will provide additional documentation to deal with that reason and satisfy the SSA that the application should be approved.
SSDI decisions can be appealed more than once, and ultimately your case can end up before a judge instead of an SSA employee. Judges are likely to have a better understanding of the law, and sometimes they’re more open-minded than SSA employees, especially in close cases.
However, the appeals process can take months, with no guaranteed result. And if you lose your last appeal, you’ll have to start all over with a new application. That’s why it makes sense to have a lawyer on your side from the beginning.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Attorney in Stockbridge for Free
Without SSDI benefits, you could lose your home or fall into debt. Don’t let the application process drag on for months – get an experienced law firm to help you. Let the Social Security Disability lawyers at John Foy & Associates give you a free consultation and show you what we can do for you. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.