Most of us spend a lot of time thinking about our careers, but we rarely stop to think about what would happen if we could no longer work. Unfortunately, becoming disabled from working is more common than you’d think in Winder.
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), more than a quarter of 20-year-olds today will be disabled before they turn 67. Disability can happen to anyone, and if it does, a Social Security Disability (SSD) lawyer in Winder can help you seek benefits.
SSD benefits are meant to act as a safety net for those who become unable to work because of a disabling condition. However, it’s often hard to get approved for these benefits—even if you fully qualify. That’s where John Foy & Associates can help. We can assist you with your application or appeal, giving you the best chance at approval. Call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.
How to Qualify for Social Security Disability
The SSA uses a strict set of criteria to evaluate each application for disability benefits. In order to qualify, you will need to meet the following guidelines.
You Must Meet the Definition of Disability
To qualify, you must fall under the SSA’s definition of disability. To determine whether or not your condition counts, the SSA asks five questions:
- Are you working? If the answer is “yes” and you are making more than $1,220 a month on average, you probably won’t qualify.
- Is your condition considered to be “severe”? Your medical condition must seriously limit your ability to perform basic actions—such as walking, standing, lifting, and remembering—for 12 months or more.
- Is your condition found on the List of Impairments? This is a list that the SSA maintains of conditions that have been deemed potentially serious enough to prevent someone from working. If your condition is not on this list, it might still qualify as long as it is as serious as a similar listed condition.
- Can you do the work you did previously? The SSA will look at whether or not you can do any past jobs.
- Can you do any new forms of work? Besides past work, you must also not be able to perform any other type of work with your condition.
You Must Have Worked Enough
Besides meeting the definition of disability as outlined above, you will also need to have worked enough. To determine this, the SSA uses work credits:
Work credits are based on your yearly income:
- In 2019, you can earn one work credit per $1,360 in wages or income you earn. (This number changes slightly each year.)
- You can earn up to four work credits (or $5,440, as of 2019) per year.
- Most adults need 40 work credits with 20 of those credits earned in the last 10 years. However, younger people typically require less credits.
As you might have guessed, it’s easy for someone who fully qualifies to get overlooked during this process. Many times, it’s because an application simply doesn’t provide enough information to demonstrate the full extent of a disability. This is why many SSD applicants in Winder can benefit so much from working with an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer.
Benefits for Disabled Spouses
If someone is killed and a disabled spouse (or divorced disabled spouse) is left behind, the surviving spouse may be able to receive Social Security benefits if they:
- Are between ages 50 and 60
- Meet the definition of disability as mentioned above
- Became disability before or within seven years of the working spouse’s death
What You Need to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
It’s best to apply for SSD benefits as soon as you become disabled. You can apply online, over the phone, or in person at the Social Security office in Winder, which is located at 389 East Broad St.
You will need the following information when you apply:
- Your Social Security number
- Proof of your current age
- The names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of visits for all doctors, clinics, and caseworkers who helped you with your condition
- Medical records from all doctors, hospitals, clinics, caseworkers, and therapists
- Test and lab results
- Names and dosage amounts of all prescription medications
- The most recent W-2 form for your work (or a copy of your federal tax return if you were self-employed)
- Summaries of where you worked and what types of work you performed
To have a successful claim, you will need to provide as much detail as possible. Incomplete applications will be denied quickly. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the process, contact a Winder Social Security Disability lawyer as soon as you can. John Foy & Associates can help you get started. Call (404) 400-4000 for a FREE consultation.
Your Options if You Get Denied Social Security Disability Benefits
Many applicants feel discouraged or hopeless after being denied benefits. However, please know that not all hope is lost. You can appeal your application—and you should. You will need to request an appeal within 60 days, so act quickly. It’s best to contact a SSD lawyer who can help you as soon as possible.
Also, do not file a new application. Appeal your existing one. Otherwise, you might miss out on any chance of benefits.
There are four levels of appealing a Social Security Disability application:
- Administrative law judge (ALJ) hearing
- Appeals Council review
- Federal Court review
Your lawyer can help you request the first three online. You will also need to ensure that your application is as strong as possible when you appeal. Hopefully, you can get approved for benefits during the reconsideration. However, if you don’t, an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer will give you the best chance of fighting for the benefits you deserve.
Talk to a Winder Social Security Disability (SSD) Lawyer for Free Today
John Foy & Associates has been helping disabled workers win the benefits they and their families need for over 20 years. We know what the Social Security Administration is looking for to approve someone for benefits, and we can assist you in building a strong application.
Don’t wait to get help. Contact us today and we’ll get started with a FREE consultation. Then, if you decide to work with us, you won’t have to pay a thing unless we win you money. Call today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for your FREE consultation.