It’s not easy to get approved for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits in Athens, even if you need them. SSDI can make a crucial difference for individuals who are unable to work due to a disability, and it is supposed to be your right as an American who paid into the Social Security system. Unfortunately, all too often the government agency in charge of reviewing and approving SSDI claims makes the process labyrinthine and onerous. Good people with a solid work history who have a legitimate disability are routinely turned away. That’s why you need a lawyer.
Not all lawyers are equally experienced with Social Security claims. Many take these cases simply because they see it as an easy way to pick up clients. But those lawyers may not have the experience to successfully appeal a denied SSDI claim. In some cases they may not even be familiar with the reasons the Social Security Administration turns down applications or the specific information most likely to get you approved. Any lawyer who offers to help you with your claim should have a strong history of successfully helping people just like you. They should be dedicated to Social Security disability law.
John Foy & Associates has some of the most experienced Social Security disability lawyers in the Athens area. Our firm has over 20 years of experience helping individuals get approved for their benefits. In that time we have grown to become one of the largest and most respected SSDI law firms in the state. And we make it easy for you. Call us today at 706-400-4000 and let us evaluate your case for free.
How does Social Security disability work in Athens?
SSDI was originally established by the federal Social Security Act. It was conceived of as a sort of insurance policy to protect workers in the event that they become disabled. Since a disability can rob you of the ability to work and support yourself, SSDI provides a sort of “safety net” to provide you with an income.
Under the Social Security Act, if you develop a disability that prevents you from working, you are given benefit payments that will help you pay your rent and basic necessities. In some cases an SSDI payment if the difference between being able to take care of your family or not.
Any kind of disability can potentially qualify you for SSDI. It does not have to be an injury that is work related, or even necessarily an injury at all. People with serious diseases such as cancer qualify for SSDI too. The benefits are supposed to be available to all who need them.
Unfortunately, the government doesn’t always make it that easy. The agency in charge of processing claims is the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the Athens SSA office has a reputation for denying claims on the basis of missing paperwork, minor clerical errors, or simply because they demand more documentation.
How do I know if I qualify for Social Security disability?
As a general rule, all former workers who cannot work because of a disability qualify for SSDI. This includes both physical disabilities and psychological ones. But you need to prove to the SSA that you worked enough in the past to qualify, and that your disability is legitimate.
Here are the criteria the SSA looks at:
- Did you earn enough work credits, by working enough hours in the past, under SSA rules?
- Have you worked recently prior to your disability claim (20+ work credits in the past 10 years)
- If you don’t meet the work credit requirements, do you qualify as low income?
- Do you have a medically diagnosed condition, with documentation from a doctor?
- Is your medical condition terminal?
- If the condition isn’t terminal, is it likely to last 1 year or more?
- Does your condition prevent you from performing your previous job?
- Does your condition prevent you from entering a new line of work?
For most people seeking SSDI, the answer to the above questions is “yes.” But the SSA will require paperwork to support your claim, and this is where many applicants go awry.
Are there specific conditions that count as disabilities?
Any condition that prevents you from working will count, but there are some specific conditions the SSA already considers disabilities. If your condition isn’t on the list, it’s harder to get approved.
The SSA’s list of “disabling conditions” is broad, however, and includes things like:
- Back problems
- Heart problems
- Blindness, low vision and hearing loss
- Nerve conditions like multiple sclerosis
- Mental disorders such as anxiety disorders or depression
- Gastrointestinal disorders like IBS
- Life threatening illnesses like cancer or kidney disease
- Severe asthma
All of these conditions are seen as potentially preventing you from working. Even if you have one of these conditions, you may have to justify that it is advanced enough to count. The exception is a group of very serious conditions that qualify for “compassionate allowance.” These always count as disabilities. They include kidney failure, Parkinson’s disease and other serious medical conditions.
You can see the SSA’s full list of disabling conditions.
Remember, you don’t need any of these conditions to qualify for disability. Any condition qualifies if it prevents you from working.
What if I already had my Social Security disability claim denied?
You aren’t alone. This is very common for first time applicants in Athens-Clarke County, and it usually results from one of several things:
- Paperwork errors
- Not enough documentation
- A wrongful denial on the part of the SSA
Fortunately there is an appeals process. When you appeal your SSDI application, there is a good chance you can get it approved even though it was denied in the first round. However, you should not try to handle the appeal yourself. Many applicants submit their appeal with the same or similar paperwork to the first one. This just means the SSA will deny it again. Eventually, you will run out of appeals and then you may miss your chance at disability payments forever.
If you have already had your SSDI application denied, it is imperative that you speak to a lawyer.
Talk to an Athens, Georgia Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
Getting your disability benefits may be the only way to pay your rent. Don’t let it slip through your fingers. At John Foy & Associates, we believe in helping people like you get the benefits you deserve. And we will sit down with you for a FREE consultation. Don’t wait. Call us at 706-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.