Social Security disability (SSD) programs offer benefits if you suffer from an impairment that prevents you from working and earning a living. If your medical condition makes it difficult to make ends meet, these programs could be your best bet for addressing said issue. The SSA offers monthly benefits if you meet the qualifications, including not being able to work because of a permanent impairment. 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 Social Security disability lawyer in Charleston, SC is here to help. We can guide you through the appeals process and represent you in front of the Administrative Law Judge at your appeals hearing.
The Two Social Security Disability Programs
SSD consists of two separate programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each program has different criteria you must satisfy:
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 your full retirement age and can begin drawing Social Security retirement benefits instead.
Supplemental Security Income
SSI helps families and individuals 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 this may be the key to getting the benefits you need.
Proving You Suffer from a Qualifying Impairment
To get SSDI or SSI based on your disability, 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 must meet to get benefits based on that condition.
To prove you meet the criteria, the Office of Disability Determination Services will request copies of your medical records and other medical evidence. This may include 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 their condition but do not meet the criteria under any published impairment listing. When this occurs, 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 for which you might qualify, 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. This is because a claims representative from your local field office will review your application and ensure you meet all technical qualifications before they ever 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, birthdate, 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.
Fighting a Denial of Your Social Security Disability in Charleston
The SSA denies many more claims than it approves, so do not be surprised if you receive a denial letter. You can appeal this decision; however, the appeals process is difficult and lengthy. We may be able to handle the appeals process for you but know that you only have a short time to act after you receive your denial notice.
Let us review your case and help you understand your options. Sometimes it may take a year or more to get your case in front of an Administrative Law Judge, where you have the best chance of approval. However, we may also be able to help you recover back pay to cover the months you spent waiting.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Charleston, SC
The disability attorneys from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers offer free case reviews and can help you understand why the SSA denied your disability application. Let us handle your appeal and aggressively pursue the benefits you deserve.
Call our Charleston, SC office today at 843-628-0100 to get started.