If you cannot work because of a medical condition, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. But it’s not easy to get approved in East Point. The local Social Security office regularly turns down people who have real disabilities and a long work history. If you apply, you may be rejected because the person reviewing your application doesn’t understand your condition or thinks you didn’t submit enough documentation. And the appeals process can take months. An East Point Social Security Disability lawyer can help you.
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping disabled people get SSD benefits for more than two decades. We understand what it will take to get your application approved. We can put together the right documentation to show that you have a disability—either in your first application, or on appeal. We’ll give you a free consultation to talk about your application and explain the process. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
How do Social Security Disability benefits work?
The federal Social Security Act pays benefits to people who have worked for a living, but now cannot work anymore. Almost everyone is familiar with the Social Security benefits people receive after they retire. SSD is another part of this same Social Security program. It pays benefits to people who are not yet retirement age, but cannot work anymore because of their health. You can use your income from SSD the same way you might use your paycheck: to pay for your house, buy groceries and medicine, and support your family.
Basic facts to know about SSD include:
- It is not a handout. You can onlyget SSD if you have paid into the Social Security system while you were working. Because you paid, you are entitled to benefits if you become unable to work.
- Any disability can qualify, as long as it keeps you from working. You can qualify if you have a disease, an injury or a chronic condition. You don’t need an on-the-job injury.
- Work history is important. You must have worked enough over the past 10 years to be eligible for benefits. This does not mean you had to continuously work full-time—you may qualify even if you were a part-time worker or had period of unemployment. If you do not have enough work history, you may still qualify for a similar program for people with low incomes.
The SSD program is run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). But the SSA in the City of East Point routinely turns down applications, even when you should qualify. For this reason, it is important to have a lawyer to help you file or appeal your application.
How do I qualify for SSD benefits in East Point?
The basic rule is this: if you used to work for a living, but you can’t work anymore because of a medical condition, you should qualify for SSD benefits. However, the SSA doesn’t just hand out benefits to everyone who applies: you have to prove you’re eligible. The SSA wants to see proof of the following:
- You have a medical condition—in other words, a doctor’s diagnosis
- Your condition is either terminal, or expected to last a year or more
- Because of your medical condition, you cannot go back to your old type of work
- Your medical condition also keeps you from doing other kinds of work that you are qualified for
- Whether your medical condition makes it hard to do other potential jobs
- Your past work history has earned you enough Social Security “work credits” to qualify
- Your work credits include 20 or more credits earned in the last 10 years
- You have a low income (you only need to prove this if you do not have enough work credits)
If you are disabled, there’s a good chance you meet all these qualifications. But it can be hard to satisfy the SSA.
What conditions count as “disabilities”?
Any condition that leaves you unable to work will potentially count as a disability. But some conditions are easier to prove to the SSA than others.
The SSA recognizes that there are a few conditions that are so serious that they will ALWAYS keep you from working. All you need to be approved is a doctor’s diagnosis and enough work history. These conditions include kidney failure and some forms of cancer.
Most other conditions are what the SSA refers to as “disabling conditions.” These are conditions that can be serious enough to prevent you from working. But they are not always that severe. If you have one of these conditions, you will have to prove that you have the condition, and you will also have to convince the SSA that your particular case is bad enough that you cannot work. The SSA has a long list of disabling conditions, including:
- Serious heart conditions
- Blindness and low vision
- Multiple sclerosis and other neurological ailments
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Depression and other mental health disorders
- Severe back pain
- Severe asthma
This is just a sampling—the complete list is found here.
If you don’t see your condition on the list, don’t worry. You may still qualify for benefits, but you will have to give the SSA additional documentation to explain your condition and why it has left you unable to work.
If my SSD application was denied, do I have a right to appeal?
Yes. An appeal gives you another chance to be approved. In fact, many people report that they have had better success on appeal than they did the first time around. To maximize your chances, you need to pay careful attention to the reason your original application was denied. It may have been a paperwork error, missing documentation, or something else. To be successful, your appeal will need to correct the issues the SSA found in your application.
You can actually appeal more than once, and eventually your case will go to a judge instead of a government employee. A judge may understand the law more thoroughly and may be more willing to grant benefits if you have a controversial condition. However, at some point you will have used up all your appeals. If your final appeal is denied, you will not be able to get benefits without starting all over again. And meanwhile, you may have no way of supporting yourself. This is why you need a lawyer to help you.
Talk to an East Point Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
The SSD process can be long and frustrating, but you can get help. The lawyers at John Foy & Associates have helped many people get approved for benefits that provide a financial lifeline during a challenging time. Let us give you a free consultation to explain how we can help you. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.