Social Security Disability benefits should be available to many disabled individuals in Conyers. Unfortunately, getting approved for benefits is not always easy. Those who qualify can slip through the cracks if they do not provide the exact information the Social Security Administration is looking for. Thankfully, if you were denied benefits or are worried about your application, a Conyers Social Security Disability lawyer can help.
At John Foy & Associates, we understand how important Social Security Disability benefits can be for you and your family if you’re disabled from working. Our SSD lawyers have been helping disabled workers get the weekly benefits they deserve for over 20 years.
Let us give you a FREE consultation to discuss your case and how we can help improve your application. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with your FREE consultation.
What to Know About the Social Security System in Conyers
Social Security Disability benefits are provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA provides:
- Retirement benefits
- Survivors’ benefits and
- Social Security disability benefits
Retirement benefits through the SSA allow workers to begin collecting Social Security benefits at the age of 62. Social Security Disability benefits, on the other hand, are available to those who can’t continue working because of a health condition. SSD benefits are meant to provide weekly income so you can pay your living expenses and support your family.
You should also know the following facts about SSD.
SSD Benefits Are Not Handouts
Social Security taxes are taken as a portion of each American’s paycheck. When you were working, you were paying into the Social Security system. That means, if you become disabled and qualify for SSD, you are entitled to its benefits.
You Don’t Need to Be Disabled from Your Job
To qualify for SSD, you must have a medical condition or illness that prevents you from working. Your condition or illness does not need to result from conditions of a previous job.
It doesn’t matter how you became disabled. If you cannot work at all because of your condition, your condition will likely qualify for benefits.
You Must Have a Long Enough Work History
Besides having a disabling condition, you must have paid into Social Security long enough to qualify. When you submit your application, the SSA will look at your work history over the last 10 years.
You also don’t need to have a consecutive work history. If you had periods of unemployment or part-time work, you may still qualify if you have worked enough. Your chances of qualifying are also high if you worked much at all in the past 10 years.
Criteria You Must Meet to Qualify for SSD Benefits
As mentioned above, to qualify for SSD benefits, you must meet these two criteria:
- Be unable to work because of a disabling condition
- Have earned enough work credits, some of those within the past 10 years
Let’s break each of these down further.
Meeting the SSA’s Definition of “Disabling Condition”
Under Social Security’s guidelines, you are considered to be “disabled” if, because of your medical condition, all of the following apply:
- You cannot perform any work you did in the past.
- You cannot adjust to another type of work.
- You are expected to be disabled for at least one year (or your condition is expected to result in death).
If you’re working and earning about a certain amount per month, you cannot qualify as disabled through Social Security. The maximum earnings vary per year. In 2020, you cannot be earning more than $1,260 each month.
Your medical condition must also greatly limit your ability to perform basic types of work like standing, sitting, walking, remembering, or lifting things. These limitations must exist for at least a year. You will need to provide documentation from your doctors and other medical records to show the severity of your condition.
When analyzing your condition, the SSA will consult their listing of impairments. These are disabling conditions that are considered severe enough to keep someone from earning substantial gainful activity (SGA). If your condition is not listed, the SSA will determine if it’s as serious as another similar condition on the list.
Having Enough Work Credits to Qualify for SSD
Even if you meet the SSA’s definition of a disability, you cannot fully qualify unless you also have enough work credits:
- Work credits are earned through your yearly income or wages.
- In 2020, you can earn one work credit per $1,410 in wages. The number changes a little each year.
- You can earn up to four work credits per year.
The age at which you became disabled will determine how many work credits you need to qualify for SSD benefits. If you are 62 years old or older, you will need 40 work credits with 20 of those earned within the last 10 years. If you’re younger than 62, you will require fewer work credits but still need to earn a portion of them in the years leading up to your disability.
Where Your Application is Processed
You will first complete your application with your local Social Security office, over the phone, or online. When SSA receives your application, if they can see you are definitely not working, your application will be sent to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office for evaluation.
In the first stage, your application will either be approved or denied. Very few applications are approved in the first stage. If you are denied, you can:
- Not do anything
- File a request for reconsideration
- File a new claim
It’s very important that you file a request for reconsideration rather than file a new claim. If you start a new claim, you may get automatically denied. You might also be tempted to give up trying if your application gets denied, but we would encourage you to instead call a Social Security Disability lawyer who can give you the best chance at approval.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Conyers for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we are dedicated to helping you get the benefits you and your family so desperately need. Contact us today for a FREE consultation at (404) 400-4000 or online. We can look over your case and determine where changes need to be made. To get started for FREE, call (404) 400-4000 today.