Social Security Disability (SSD) programs offer benefits if you suffer from an impairment that prevents you from working and earning a living. To qualify, you must have a disability that completely prevents you from working and has lasted, or will last, at least a year to get these benefits.
If the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied your disability claim, a Charleston Social Security disability lawyer with George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers is here to help. We can guide you through the appeals process and represent you in front of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at your appeals hearing.
For a free legal consultation with a social security disability lawyer serving Charleston, call 843-628-0100
The Two Social Security Disability Programs
SSD is made up of two separate programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each program has different criteria you must satisfy. Keep in mind that you might qualify to collect both types of benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance
SSDI bridges the gap between when a worker suffers a qualifying impairment and when they reach retirement age. It requires you to meet strict work credit requirements but will pay out until you reach full retirement age and can begin drawing Social Security retirement benefits instead.
As of 2021, the SSA affirms that you can earn one credit for every $1,470 you make. So, you need to earn $5,880 to get four credits, the maximum amount, in the year.
Supplemental Security Income
SSI helps families and individuals over 65 in need. There is no work requirement for these benefits, but there are strict income and asset limits. These limits consider your entire household, making it very challenging to qualify.
There are some exemptions to the assets you must count, and it may be the key to getting the benefits you need. Still, the SSA says for 2021, the maximum amount of monthly SSI payments an eligible individual can collect is $794, which comes out to $9,530.12 per year.
Charleston Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me843-628-0100
Proving You Suffer from a Qualifying Impairment
To get SSD benefits, you need to prove to the SSA that you suffer from a qualifying impairment. To help speed this process along, the SSA publishes a list of potentially qualifying disabilities called the Blue Book. This book lists dozens of conditions and the criteria you need to meet to get benefits based on that condition.
Some of which are:
- Musculoskeletal disorders: Amputations, deformities
- Cardiovascular system disorders: Chronic heart failure, aortic aneurysm, ischemic heart disease
- Congenital disorders: Those who have non-mosaic down syndrome and congenital heart disease
- Respiratory disorders: Asthma, cystic fibrosis, respiratory failure
- Digestive system disorders: Liver transplant, inflammatory bowel disease, short bowel syndrome
- Skin disorders: Burns, dermatitis, ichthyosis
- Immune system disorders: HIV, inflammatory arthritis, systemic sclerosis
- Mental disorders: Depression, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder
- Endocrine disorders: Thyroid gland disorders, diabetes, hyperglycemia
To prove you meet the criteria, the Office of Disability Determination Services will request copies of your medical records and other medical evidence, including imaging scans, laboratory results, treatment records, and other clinical notes.
Getting Benefits Without Meeting an Impairment Listing
Often, we meet clients who cannot work because of a condition that does not meet the impairment listing criteria. In that event, they need to rely on their residual functional capacity (RFC) to qualify. Your RFC is an evaluation of:
- The type of work you can do
- How long you can work
- How often you can work
There are three general ways the disability examiner from the Office of Disability Determination Services can evaluate your RFC:
- They can determine your RFC on their own, based on your claim and supporting evidence; or
- They can ask your doctor to determine your RFC; or
- They can invite you to attend a consultative exam with a doctor they pay to evaluate your RFC.
If your RFC evaluation determines you cannot work at your last job or any other position, you may be eligible to receive benefits.
Technical Qualifications for Disability Programs
Some people will receive a denial before anyone from the Office of Disability Determination Services ever sees their disability claim. A claims representative from your local field office will review your application and ensure you meet all technical qualifications before they forward your claim. Technical denials are relatively common.
Common reasons claimants receive technical denials include:
- Failing to complete all parts of the application
- An issue with their name, birth date, or Social Security Number
- Not having enough work credits for SSDI
- Not enough recent work credits for SSDI
- Having their income or assets exceed limits for SSI
Some of these issues are easily avoidable if you pay close attention while completing your claim.
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Fighting a Denial of Your Social Security Disability in Charleston
If the SSA denies your claim, you can appeal this decision; however, the appeals process is difficult and lengthy. We can handle the work for you, but you only have a short time to act after you receive your denial notice.
According to the SSA, the appeals process is usually made up of the following stages:
- Reconsideration: This stage is another review of your claim by someone who wasn’t involved in your first application.
- A hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ): If you don’t agree with the determination in the Reconsideration stage, you can request a hearing before an ALJ.
- A new hearing in front of a different ALJ or a review in front of the Appeals Council: If they deny your claim at this stage, the Council can send it to an ALJ.
- A review in front of Federal Court: You can file a lawsuit in federal court if the Appeals Council doesn’t hear your case.
Sometimes it may take a year or more to get your case in front of an Administrative Law Judge. However, we may also be able to help you recover back pay to cover the months you spent waiting.
Let us review your case and help you understand your options.
Hire Our Social Security Disability Lawyer in Charleston, SC
The disability attorneys from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers offer free case reviews to help you understand why the SSA denied your disability application. Let us handle your appeal and pursue the benefits you deserve.
Call our Charleston, SC office today at (843) 628-0100 to get started. You pay nothing unless we secure benefits for you.*