If you are permanently disabled and unable to work, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, which can provide you with the necessary financial assistance you need to replace employment income. The process to apply for benefits can be long and complex, so many people hire a lawyer to help them.
A Social Security Disability lawyer in Carolina Forest from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can assist you with your initial application and all levels of an appeal. Call us to learn more and find out if you may qualify for benefits.
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What You Should Know About Benefits Eligibility Criteria
The medical criteria to qualify for SSI or SSDI is the same. You may have to have a “medically determinable physical or mental impairment” that makes you unable to perform substantial gainful activity. SSA states that this means that you cannot earn more than $1,260 for non-blind, disabled individuals.
Additionally, your medical condition must be one of the following:
- Expected to cause your death
- Has lasted for a continuous period of at least one year
- Is expected to last for a continuous period of at least one year
Other eligibility criteria are based on whether you are applying for SSI or SSDI.
The SSI disability program is needs-based, so you must have limited income and resources to qualify for this program. For example, your countable income cannot be more than the federal benefit amount, which is $783 per month in 2020. Additionally, your countable resources cannot be more than $2,000.
You have an ongoing duty to report any changes in income or resources to the Social Security Administration. Not all income or resources are “countable,” so it is important that you contact a Social Security Disability attorney in Carolina Forest who can explain whether you qualify based on your individual circumstances.
The SSDI program pays benefits to disabled individuals who have sufficient work credits and have paid into the Social Security system for long enough. For most people, they must have worked full-time for at least five out of the last ten years.
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Social Security Application Process
The process to apply for or appeal a claim for benefits are the same for the SSI and SSDI programs. Your claim can be approved at any point during the process. If the claim is denied, you will receive a notice that states why you were denied, how to appeal the decision, and your deadline to appeal.
The steps in the application and appeal process are:
You would provide identifying information, work history, information about how your disability affects you—and medical evidence to support your claim for benefits.
You would submit a request for reconsideration to have another representative review your claim (and you can submit additional supporting evidence).
You may appear for an in-person or telephone hearing with an administrative law judge. You can retain a lawyer to be with you at this hearing. The judge might ask you questions about your disability, work history, and social and occupational limitations. The judge issues a written decision after the hearing.
You may ask the Appeals Council to review your claim for any error in the judge’s decision and review your entire case file.
Federal District Court
This represents the final level of appeal, where your case is heard by a federal district court judge.
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How a Carolina Forest Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help
A Carolina Forest Social Security Disability attorney can provide important legal services that can help you. We can do so by:
Discussing Your Claim
When you contact us for information about your claim, we will talk to you about your medical condition(s), your work history, your current work status, and other information to determine whether you might be eligible for disability benefits.
If we do not believe you will meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled,” we will tell you this so that you do not waste your time. However, if your SSD lawyer determines that your claim has a likelihood of success, we will discuss the next steps on how we can help you.
Developing Evidence for Your Case
We will help develop the evidence necessary to prove your claim. The Social Security Administration puts a lot of weight on medical evidence, so our team can:
- Request medical records
- Submit relevant records to the Social Security Administration
- Determine whether you need to undergo additional testing
- Communicate with your treating doctor to obtain a residual functional capacity report
- Schedule a consultative examination, if necessary
Your lawyer may also obtain additional evidence to establish your claim, such as employment records or statements from those familiar with your medical condition and its impact on your life.
Preparing You for the Hearing
If your claim goes to the hearing level, we will work with you beforehand to prepare you for it. We will discuss the types of questions that will be asked during the hearing and give you tips on how to answer them. Some of the questions you may need to be prepared to answer include:
- What medical conditions do you suffer from?
- What are the symptoms of your condition?
- Have you sought treatment for your condition?
- Was treatment effective?
- What jobs have you had in the past?
- Can you cook? Shop? Use the bathroom on your own?
- What does an average “good” day look like? What does an average “bad” day look like?
If your claim is denied, our team can handle the entirety of your appeal.
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Contact Us Today for Help With Your Claim
If you are permanently disabled and unable to work, a Social Security Disability lawyer in Carolina Forest from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers is here to assist you with your initial application and all levels of appeal. When you hire our firm, you receive a free consultation to discuss your claim and pay no upfront fees.
We only get paid attorney fees if your claim is approved, so there is no risk in contacting us to learn more. Call us or fill out our online contact form to start your claim.
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