Signing up for Social Security Disability in Stockbridge sounds simple, but getting approved can be quite difficult. People with real disabilities are regularly denied benefits, even when they have a long history of working and paying Social Security taxes. Applications are denied for many reasons, ranging from incomplete paperwork to a misunderstanding on the part of the person reviewing your application. For many disability applicants, the process means months of frustration and financial stress because they can’t get the benefits they’re entitled to. A Stockbridge Social Security Disability lawyer can help.
For over two decades, the lawyers at John Foy & Associates have been helping people get Social Security Disability benefits, also known as SSDI. We believe that you have a right to benefits, and we know what sort of documentation the government wants to see when they evaluate your application. We will organize the paperwork and submit evidence to prove that you have a disability. We will even appeal your case to a judge if necessary. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case. Call us at 404-400-4000 to get your free consultation today.
What do I need to know about Social Security disability benefits in Stockbridge?
SSDI is part of the federal Social Security Act—the same set of laws that provides Social Security benefits when you retire. All of us have Social Security taxes withdrawn from our paychecks during our working lives, and these taxes are then used to provide income to people who are financially vulnerable because they are retired, injured, or for other reasons can’t work anymore. The SSDI program provides monthly income to people who used to have a job, but now have a medical condition that makes it impossible for them to work. SSDI can help you support your family, buy food and pay essential expenses like rent and utilities.
Here are some things to know about the SSDI program:
- It’s not a government handout. SSDI is financed by Social Security taxes, which you paid when you were working. Since you paid into the system, you now have a right to benefit from it.
- Any kind of disability can be eligible. You can be disabled because of any injury or illness that keeps you from working. You don’t have to have been injured at work.
- Work history is important. To collect SSDI, you must have paid enough into the system during your working years. In general, you must have worked regularly during the past 10 years, though “regularly” may mean that you worked part-time or had gaps in employment. If you have not worked enough, you may still qualify for a similar program if your income is low.
The SSDI program is administered in the City of Stockbridge by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Unfortunately, the SSA frequently turns down SSDI applications, even when the applicant is qualified. That’s why it’s critical to have an SSDI lawyer on your side as you navigate the process.
How can I qualify for SSDI in Stockbridge?
The general rules for eligibility are simple: If you have a long enough work history and can’t work anymore because of a medical condition, you are eligible for SSDI. The difficult part is that you must prove that you are eligible. To do this, you must show that:
- A doctor has diagnosed you with a health condition
- Your condition will continue for a year or longer, or your condition is terminal
- Because of your medical condition, you can’t do your job
- You also can’t do other kinds of jobs that you’re qualified for
- Your previous jobs have earned you enough “work credits” to be eligible for SSDI
- You have worked enough to earn 20 work credits in the past 10 years
- Alternately, your income is low (this may qualify you if you do not have enough work credits)
Many disabled people meet these conditions. But it can be hard to assemble the documentation needed to convince the SSA that you are entitled to benefits.
Is my condition considered a “disability?”
There’s no one size fits all answer to this question. The SSA easily approves some conditions as disabilities, while others need more proof.
A few very severe conditions, like certain types of cancer or kidney failure, are automatically classified as qualifying disabilities. All you need is a doctor’s diagnosis and the SSA will approve your disability.
But for most conditions, it’s less clear. The SSA may acknowledge that the condition might be serious enough to count as a disability, but it won’t approve SSDI benefits in every case. In other words, you have to prove that your case is serious enough to prevent you from working. The SSA has a long list of ailments and injuries that can qualify as “disabling conditions.” They include:
- Severe heart ailments, including heart failure
- Serious vision problems, including blindness and low vision
- Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis
- Depression, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses
- Incapacitating pain in your back
- Extreme cases of asthma
- Irritable bowel syndrome
There are many other conditions that may qualify. The SSA’s full list can be found here.
But SSA’s list isn’t necessarily complete. Other conditions can also qualify you for benefits, as long as you can provide documentation and evidence to prove that your case is severe enough that you can no longer hold a job.
My SSDI application was denied. Can I appeal?
You can. An initial denial is never final, and you can always file an appeal and have a second chance at approval. In fact, it’s not uncommon for an application to be denied the first time and then approved on appeal. However, it’s not a good idea to just re-file your original application as an appeal. The application was denied for a reason, and a good appeal will provide additional documentation to deal with that reason and satisfy the SSA that the application should be approved.
SSDI decisions can be appealed more than once, and ultimately your case can end up before a judge instead of an SSA employee. Judges are likely to have a better understanding of the law, and sometimes they’re more open-minded than SSA employees, especially in close cases. However, the appeals process can take months, with no guaranteed result. And if you lose your last appeal, you’ll have to start all over with a new application. That’s why it makes sense to have a lawyer on your side from the beginning.
Talk to a Stockbridge Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
Without SSDI benefits, you could lose your home or fall into debt. Don’t let the application process drag on for months—get an experienced SSDI law firm to help you. Let John Foy & Associates give you a free consultation and show you what we can do for you. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.