If you work for a living and pay into the Social Security system, you are entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits if you become disabled. But many disabled workers who apply for benefits in Macon are turned down due to paperwork errors, incorrect documentation or a Social Security employee who doesn’t understand the medical condition. This can be extremely discouraging and frustrating when you’re already struggling to cope with an illness and make ends meet with no job. But you can get the benefits you’re entitled to. You need to talk to a Macon social security disability lawyer.
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve got more than 20 years’ experience getting SSD benefits for our clients. We know how to prepare an application that gives the government the information it needs to approve your claim. We will put together the right documentation and handle your case through the appeals process if necessary. We’ll give you a free consultation to discuss your disability and explain your rights. Call us at 478-217-7042 and get your free consultation today.
How does Social Security Disability work in Macon?
SSD is a part of the federal Social Security Act, the same law that allows you to collect Social Security when you retire. The purpose of the act is to ensure that people continue to have a source of income when they can no longer work. You are eligible for SSD if you used to work, but can no longer hold a job because of an injury or a medical condition. SSD payments can keep you in your home, pay for food and other essentials, and help you support your family.
Here are some important things to know about the SSD program:
- It’s not charity or a government handout. During your working career, you had Social Security taxes taken out of your pay. These taxes finance Social Security payments to retired and disabled people. Because you paid into the system, you are entitled to benefit from it.
- It doesn’t matter what kind of disability you have, so long as it keeps you from working. Your disability may be a chronic condition, a disease or an injury. It does not have to be related to your job.
- You must have an adequate work history. In general, you must have worked regularly over the past 10 years to qualify for SSD benefits. However, some people qualify even though they worked part time or were sometimes unemployed. If your income is low enough, you may be able to collect benefits through a similar program even if you do not have a long enough work history.
SSD is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). In Macon-Bibb County, the SSA routinely turns down applications, even when the applicant is clearly disabled and should be approved. You can appeal your application, but to succeed it is often essential to get assistance from an experienced lawyer.
How do I qualify for SSD in Macon?
You probably qualify for SSD if you worked in the past but can no longer hold a job because of a medical issue. However, the SSA evaluates applications carefully, and you must prove that you are truly eligible. You will have to show that:
- A doctor has diagnosed you with a medical condition such as an illness or injury
- The doctor expects your condition to continue for at least a year, or your condition is considered terminal
- Because of your medical condition, you can’t continue working at your job
- You are also unable to do any other kind of work that you might be qualified for
- Because of your medical condition, it is difficult for you to do other types of work
- You have earned enough Social Security “work credits,” meaning you have a sufficient work history.
- You have recent work history—you will need at least 20 work credits over the past 10 years
- If you don’t have enough work credits, you must show that you have a low income to get approved
Even though you may clearly meet these requirements, it’s not easy to convince the SSA. A lawyer can help you assemble the kind of documentation you need to present a strong case.
What kinds of conditions are considered “disabilities” for SSD?
Any health condition that leaves you unable to work is a disability. However, the SSA is more willing to recognize some conditions as disabilities than others.
There are handful of conditions that automatically entitle you to SSD benefits, if have an adequate work history. These include kidney failure and many types of cancer. All you need to do is supply a doctor’s diagnosis and you qualify.
For everything else, you’ll have to prove that your condition is serious enough to count as a disability. If you fall into this category, you have what is known as a “disabling condition.” The SSA has a list of every condition that might qualify you for benefits. Common conditions that can count as disabilities include:
- Severe heart conditions and heart failure
- Serious vision problems, such as blindness or low vision
- Neurological disorders such as MS
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Mental disorders, including depression or bipolar disorder
- Debilitating back pain
- Respiratory disorders such as severe asthma or COPD
This is only a small sampling of the many disorders that qualify. The full list is here.
Even if your condition isn’t on the SSA list, you may still be able to get benefits. But you will have to submit enough documentation to prove that your condition is serious enough to keep you from working.
What if my SSD application was already turned down?
You can appeal the SSA’s decision. In fact, it’s common to be turned down the first time you apply for benefits. With the proper help, you may be more likely to get approval on appeal than you were the first time around. Being turned down is a signal that there was something incorrect or missing in your original application. When you file an appeal, the key is to understand why you were denied and submit the information the SSA is looking for.
You can appeal your SSD case more than once. Initial appeals are heard by government workers, but eventually your appeal will go before a judge. Judges are usually more well-versed in the law, and they may be more sympathetic than the SSA, especially if you have a condition that isn’t typical. But the appeals process is time consuming. And if you run out of appeals, you will have to start all over with a new application—and no income or benefits for months. This is why it is important to get an attorney working on your case as soon as possible.
Talk to a Macon Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
SSD benefits can give you a much-needed source of income during a serious illness or after an accident. But it can be hard to convince the Social Security office that you qualify. Don’t lose your hard-earned benefits or struggle while you case drags on for months. Let John Foy and Associates take care of your case. We’ll give you a free consultation to explain how we can help you get the benefits you’re entitled to. Call us at 478-217-7042 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.