Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are supposed to help people who can no longer work because of a medical condition, but it’s not easy to get approved for benefits. SSD applications in Dunwoody are routinely denied, even when the applicant has a long work history and a legitimate disability. Don’t miss out on the disability benefits you’ve earned. Let a Dunwoody Social Security disability lawyer help you.
At John Foy & Associates, our law practice focuses exclusively on helping people who have been injured, and we have a long history of helping people get SSD benefits for injuries as well as other medical conditions. We know what the government is looking for in an SSD application, and we can put together a strong case, either in your original application or on appeal. We’ll give you a free consultation to talk about your application. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
How do Social Security Disability benefits work?
The federal Social Security Act is best known for paying Social Security benefits to retirees, but it also provides disability payments to people who have worked in the past, but can’t work now because of a medical condition. If you qualify for benefits, you receive a monthly Social Security payment that can pay your monthly bills, buy groceries, pay medical expenses and help you support yourself if you are unable to work.
There are several important things to understand about the SSD program:
- SSD is not a handout. While you were working, you paid into the Social Security system through deductions from your paycheck. These payments mean that you have access to ALL of the Social Security system’s programs, including retirement pay and disability pay if you need it. By applying for disability benefits, you are taking advantage of a benefit you paid for.
- Any medical condition can qualify, as long as it keeps you from working. Your medical condition can be a chronic condition like rheumatoid arthritis, a sudden diagnosis like cancer, or an injury caused by an accident. It does not have to be related to your job in any way.
- Work history is important. To qualify for Social Security benefits, you must have worked and paid into the system. Generally, you must have worked regularly over the past 10 years. However, you can still qualify if you worked part-time or had gaps in employment. If you do not have a long enough work history, you may still qualify for benefits under the Supplemental Security Income program for low income individuals.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees the SSD program. The SSA in the City of Dunwoody regularly turns down applications for SSD benefits, even when the applicant clearly should qualify. Because of this, it is important to have an experienced lawyer to help you through the process.
How do I qualify for SSD benefits in Dunwoody?
The rule is quite simple: if you worked regularly in the past but you cannot work now because of a medical condition, you should be eligible for SSD. But it’s up to you to prove to the SSA that you are eligible. This means you will need evidence of several things:
- A doctor’s diagnosis of your medical condition.
- Your condition is expected to last at least a year, or your condition is terminal.
- You cannot do your job because of your medical condition.
- You also cannot do other types of work you might be qualified for.
- It would be difficult to perform any other potential job.
- You have earned enough Social Security “work credits” to qualify you for SSD.
- At least 20 of those work credits were earned in the past 10 years.
- If you do not have enough work credits, you have a low income.
Even if you meet these qualifications, it can be hard to assemble the documents you need to convince the SSA.
What kinds of conditions count as “disabilities”?
In theory, any condition that prevents you from working counts as a disability. But the SSA views different types of conditions differently.
There are a few, very serious conditions that the SSA recognizes will ALWAYS leave you unable to work. This might include end-stage kidney disease or some forms of cancer. If you have one of these types of conditions, all you need is a doctor’s diagnosis and an adequate work history.
For most other conditions, the SSA wants to see more documentation. It keeps a long list of “diabling conditions” that it recognizes could be serious enough to keep you from working. But since not all cases are that serious, the SSA looks at each applicant individually. You will need to show that you have a doctor’s diagnosis AND that your condition is serious enough to prevent you from holding a job. Conditions that fall into this category include:
- Serious heart conditions
- Multiple sclerosis and other neurological ailments
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder
- Severe back pain
- Severe asthma
This is only a very small sampling of the many “disabling conditions.” You can find the full list here.
If your condition is not on the SSA’s list, you may still have a legitimate disability. But you will have to submit additional documentation to get approved.
Can I appeal my SSD application if it was denied?
Yes, you have several opportunities to appeal. An appeal is another chance to get approved for benefits, and many people have better success on appeal than they did the first time around. However, it is important to understand that the people reviewing your appeal will be looking for additional documentation to correct the issues that caused your application to be denied the first time around.
At some point, your application will go before a judge instead of a government employee. Judges tend to have a better understanding of the law and may be more sympathetic if you have a close case or a unique situation. If you run out of appeals, your case will be over and you will not be able to get benefits unless you start over again with a new application. Don’t leave yourself without the money you need. Get a good lawyer as soon as possible.
Talk to a Dunwoody Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
When you can’t work, SSD benefits are a lifeline that can keep you in your home and pay the bills. Give yourself the best possible chance of being approved quickly by letting John Foy & Associates help. We will give you a free consultation to talk about your application. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.