If you have a medical condition that keeps you from working, you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD). But in Warner Robins, it can be hard to get approved for benefits. It’s common to be turned down, even if you have a serious disability and a long history of working and paying into the Social Security system. Sometimes there’s a paperwork error, but other times the people processing your application aren’t well informed about your condition. This can lead to months without benefits. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You need to talk to a Warner Robins Social Security disability lawyer.
John Foy & Associates can help you get the money you’re entitled to. For the past two decades, we have been helping people get approved for SSD benefits. We understand the process and the information the government needs to approve your application. We can put together a complete application, show that you have a disability, and continue the process through appeals and hearings. And we’ll give you a free consultation to talk about your application. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What is the procedure for applying for Social Security disability benefits in Warner Robins?
SSD was created as part of the federal Social Security Act. The act includes several programs to ensure that people can still receive an income when they are no longer able to work for a living. The most well- known of these is the retirement program that offers benefits beginning at age 62. But Social Security also helps people who can no longer hold a job because of a medical condition. Social Security disability benefits can help you remain in your home, pay your monthly bills and take care of your family.
Many people are confused about what Social Security disability is. Here are some important things to know about the program:
- It is not a handout. You probably know that you can collect Social Security when you retire because you paid Social Security taxes throughout your working life. SSD works the same way—you have a right to benefits because you paid for them.
- Any disability can qualify, as long as it keeps you from working. You don’t have to be injured on the job. Any illness, disease or injury can qualify, no matter where or how it happened.
- You must have a long enough work history. SSD benefits are only available if you worked regularly and paid Social Security taxes over the past 10 years. However, your work history doesn’t have to be continuous—you can have periods of unemployment or work part time and still qualify. If you don’t have the work history needed for SSD, you may still qualify for a similar program if you have a low enough income.
SSD is administered by the Social Security Administration, or SSA. The SSA office in the City of Warner Robins has a reputation for turning down SSD applications, even when the applicant should qualify for benefits. Because of this, it is important to have a lawyer to help you prepare your application and any appeals.
How can I qualify for SSD in Warner Robins?
SSD eligibility is based on two things: you must have a medical condition that prevents you from working, and you must have worked enough in the past to be qualified for benefits. To be approved for benefits, you need to prove both of these things to the SSA. Specifically, you will need to show the following:
- You have a doctor’s diagnosis of a medical condition
- Your medical condition is expected to last for a year or more (or it is a terminal condition)
- Because of your condition, you cannot continue to do your job
- You also cannot perform other types of work that you might be qualified for
- Whether your condition would make it hard for you to do other potential jobs you might be qualified for
- Because of your past work history, you have accumulated enough “work credits” with Social Security to qualify for SSD
- If you don’t have enough work credits, your income is below a certain level
Most people who are disabled can easily meet all these conditions, but it can be hard to put together the kind of documentation that will convince the government workers at the SSA.
How can I tell if the SSA will count my condition as a “disability”?
If you have a health condition that prevents you from holding a job, it should count as a disability. However, in the SSA’s eyes, all conditions are not created equal.
Some conditions always lead to disability, and the SSA’s policy is to automatically allow disability benefits if the person has a sufficient work history. These conditions include kidney failure and many types of cancer, among others.
Other conditions fall into more of a gray area: sometimes they are serious enough to prevent you from working, but not always. This means that in order to get benefits, you must prove that in your case, the condition is so severe that you cannot work. The SSA keeps a list of these “disabling conditions.” Some common ones are:
- Heart disease and heart failure
- Blindness and other serious vision problems
- Neurological conditions like MS
- Mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Severe back pain
- Severe asthma
You can read the full list of disabling conditions here.
If you don’t see your condition on the list, don’t worry. It just means that the SSA hasn’t yet recognized your condition as disabling, and you will need to submit additional documentation to explain your condition and show why it keeps you from working.
I already applied for SSD and was denied. Can I appeal?
Yes. It is extremely common to be denied the first time you apply for SSD benefits. In many cases, your chances of being approved are actually better when you submit an appeal. This is because the denial letter will tell you why the SSA rejected your application, and an appeal gives you a second chance to respond to those issues and submit the right kind of documentation. When appealing, make sure you don’t just submit the same application you used before.
You can appeal an SSD decision more than once. Eventually, your case will come before a judge, who may have a better understanding of the law and be more sympathetic to your claim than an SSA employee. This is especially true if your condition is controversial or your case is a close call. You can also run out of appeals, meaning that to get benefits, you will have to start all over with a new application. The appeals process can delay your benefits for months, which is why it’s important to have a lawyer on your side as early in the process as possible.
Talk to a Warner Robins Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
SSD benefits can be a lifeline if you have a medical condition that leaves you unable to work. You are entitled to these benefits, and you shouldn’t have to suffer through months of delay and denials. Let John Foy & Associates help you, starting with a free consultation to talk about your disability and explain how the process works. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.