If you’ve worked your whole life in Brookhaven, it can be hard to face a medical condition that makes it impossible to go to a job anymore. You may feel frustrated because you can’t earn a living, and stressed about the bills that are piling up. You may even have applied for Social Security Disability benefits (SSD), only to have your application rejected. We want you to know that you are not alone, and a Social Security Disability lawyer in Brookhaven can help you.
At John Foy & Associates, we can help you file your SSD application and deal with the bureaucratic process of appealing a decision and getting benefits approved. We know what kind of proof to put together to convince the Social Security Administration to award you the benefits you are entitled to. And we won’t charge you a fee unless we get you money. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
How is SSD different than Social Security for retirees?
Both programs are part of the federal Social Security Act, and both are overseen by the Social Security Administration, or SSA. Both programs are funded by employer and employee contributions. When you were working, a percentage of your paycheck was deducted for Social Security taxes, and your employer paid an equal percentage on your behalf. You can’t get any kind of Social Security benefits unless you worked and paid into the system –people who have never held a job are not eligible for Social Security.
If you have worked and paid Social Security taxes long enough to be eligible, you can begin receiving Social Security retirement payments anytime after age 62 – you don’t have to prove you can’t keep working.
SSD is different because it can pay benefits long before you reach retirement age. However, in order to qualify, you must have the following:
- A medical condition that is serious enough to prevent you from working, AND
- A long enough work history to be eligible for Social Security benefits. In general, this means you must have worked fairly regularly over the past 10 years.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get approved for benefits in the City of Brookhaven. The SSA regularly turns down applicants who have long work histories and serious conditions – even though they clearly qualify. A lawyer’s help can save you months of frustration, denied applications and waiting for benefits.
Do I qualify for SSD?
In order to be approved for SSD, you must demonstrate several things to the SSA. The SSA reviews applications carefully, and you can easily be denied for a paperwork error or because the worker evaluating your application doesn’t think you have supplied enough information about your condition.
In general, though, to receive benefits you must meet these qualifications:
- A doctor has diagnosed you with a medical condition that is either terminal, or is expected to last for a year or more
- Because of your condition, you can’t do your usual job anymore
- You also can’t do any other work that you’re qualified for, and jobs you potentially qualify for would be difficult to do
- You have earned enough “work credits” through working and paying Social Security taxes
If you cannot meet the “work credit” requirement, you may still be able to receive government benefits. Another program, Supplemental Security Income, provides benefits to low income people who cannot work but do not have a long enough work history to qualify for Social Security.
What kind of medical condition do I need to have to qualify for Social Security Disability?
It doesn’t matter what kind of medical condition you have. What counts is that your condition has left you unable to work for a living. However, in most cases the SSA won’t approve your application just because you have a medical condition – you will need to show that your particular case is serious enough to leave you disabled.
The SSA has done some of the work for you. It keeps a list of medical conditions that it knows might be serious enough to cause disability. For example, you might be unable to work because of your heart condition, but many other people are able to continue their careers if they have heart trouble. If you have a heart condition or any other “disabling condition” you will need a doctor’s opinion that your condition is so severe that you can’t go back to work. The SSA’s list of disabling conditions is here.
If your condition isn’t on the list, you will need more documentation to help the SSA understand your condition and why it has caused you to be disabled.
In a few very serious situations, such as end-stage kidney disease and certain forms of cancer, the SSA knows you won’t be able to work anymore, and you don’t have to prove anything other than your diagnosis to get benefits.
If my application was already denied, can I still get benefits?
Yes, in fact it is routine for the SSA to deny applications the first time around. If your application was denied, you have a right to appeal. The appeal gives you an opportunity to fix the problems the SSA identified in your original application, offering you a second chance at approval. In fact, you can appeal more than once, and we have found that many applications that are originally denied are approved when we file a carefully prepared appeal.
A lawyer’s help can be invaluable in an appeal, because Social Security Disability lawyers have been through this process many times before, and they know exactly what the SSA is looking for in an application. When you put a lawyer to work for you, you increase your chance of an approval that will get benefits flowing to you sooner rather than later.
Talk to a Brookhaven Social Security Disability Lawyer
At John Foy & Associates, we have more than 20 years of experience getting Social Security Disability benefits for people who can no longer work because of a medical condition. We’d like to give you a free consultation to talk about your claim, explain the process, and tell you how we can help. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.