Please Gather the Following Information
1. Are you currently working?
2. If you aren't, when did you last work?
3. What kind of work have you done over the past 15 years?
4. Have you APPLIED for Social Security Disability?
5. Have you been DENIED Social Security Disability?
6. If denied, WHEN were you last denied?
7. If denied, what STAGE/LEVEL of appeal?
8. Brief description regarding how your disability (medical or emotional condition) keep you from working.
Has your Social Security Disability claim been wrongfully denied?
If your application is initially denied, which happens in a majority of cases, you have a limited window of time to appeal the decision, and it can take a year or more for your appeal to be heard. The first appeal is a reconsideration of the original denial. The second appeal is heard by an Administrative Law Judge. If your claim is not approved, you have the right to appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council, and subsequently in federal court.
Determining SSD Eligibility
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is designed to provide benefits for people who have worked and paid into Social Security, but have suffered impairment through injury or illness and are unable to work. To qualify for SSDI, you must be completely disabled – unable to engage in any type of work for gainful employment, regardless of your occupation before you became disabled.
Your disability must arise from a serious medical condition that is expected to continue for at least one year or until death. Whether physical or mental, the condition must have been diagnosed using acceptable medical techniques, and specific evidence must be provided to support your claim.
The Social Security Administration has its own unique definition of “disability,” and according to SSA, it differs from the definitions used by other programs. No benefits are payable under SSD for partial or short-term disability. For SSD purposes, you are considered disabled only if:
You are unable to do the work that you did before you became disabled;
SSA decides that you are unable to adjust to other work because of your medical condition; and
Your disabling medical condition has lasted for at least one year or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
The Social Security Administration administers two separate programs that pay out benefits to disabled individuals: the Social Security Disability Insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. While Social Security Disability benefits are paid out of the Social Security fund, SSI benefits are not. This is a needs-based program, with benefits paid out of the general tax fund, and there is no work history requirement.
If you are disabled but cannot qualify for SSD benefits because of insufficient work history, you may still be eligible for SSI benefits. The purpose of the Supplemental Security Income program is to provide benefits to disabled children and adults who have limited means.
Under the Social Security Act, the types of disability benefits available are:
The five steps in the evaluation process for Social Security disability benefits
Are you working? If you are working, then the Social Security Administration does not consider you to be disabled. However, there are some exceptions because the Social Security Administration will look at your job and consider whether it is “substantial” and “gainful.” Work may not be substantial if it involves only minimal duties. Work may not be gainful if it is not the kind of work usually done for pay or profit.
If you don’t have a job, then there is no problem with step one. If you have a regular job and are getting a paycheck, then the Social Security Administration will not consider you to be disabled. The middle ground where this issue can be more complicated occurs sometimes with people who are working for relatives or are self-employed.
Is your impairment medically severe, and has it lasted or is it expected to last for 12 months (or result in death)? This step is generally easy to determine. The complicated situations are when a medical problem is intermittent so that it comes and goes.
Does your impairment meet or equal one of the impairments listed by the Social Security Administration? This requires comparing your symptoms with the symptoms of certain identified impairments.
Are you able to do your “past relevant work”? This step requires an analysis of your “residual functional capacity.”
Are you able to do other work? Similar to step four, this step requires an analysis of your “residual functional capacity.”
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A successful SSDI claimant must have:
Adequate work history (measured in years)
Adequate earnings (measured in work credits)