Injuries, chronic conditions, and medical problems can cause you to lose the ability to work. When you are unable to maintain steady employment, you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits. The type of benefits you qualify for largely depends on the severity of your condition and work history. At Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, we understand how the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews applications and can help you apply for benefits if you qualify.
Whether you are just entering the application process or have been faced with a denial, a Rutherfordton Social Security disability lawyer can help you:
- Apply for all programs for which you are eligible
- Help you fill out the application for benefits completely and accurately
- Submit evidence to support your claim
- Inform you of your options if your application is denied
- Represent you at Social Security disability hearings
If you are considering filing for Social Security disability benefits, you do not have to undertake this task alone. Call Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC today at (828) 286-3866, to learn more about how we can help.
You Must Have a Condition that Keeps You from Working
The SSA offers a resource called “the blue book,” which outlines conditions that the agency recognizes as disabling. SSR 82-52 notes that to qualify for benefits, you must prove that you have a disabling condition that prevents you from engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Your disability must last for at least 12 months or ultimately result in your passing.
The disability for which you are claiming must fall under one or more of the following sections:
- Musculoskeletal system
- Special senses and speech
- Respiratory disorders
- Cardiovascular system
- Digestive system
- Genitourinary disorders
- Hematological disorders
- Skin disorders
- Endocrine disorders
- Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems
- Neurological disorders
- Mental disorders
- Cancer (malignant neoplastic diseases)
- Immune system disorders
When you are filling out your application for benefits, you will need to include various pieces of information that reflect on your work history, health, and income. Medical evidence such as doctors’ reports, medications, imaging scans, and test results must be included to prove that you are suffering from a condition that qualifies as a disability.
For a free legal consultation with a social security disability lawyer serving Rutherfordton, call 828.286.3866
Types of Social Security Benefits
Depending on your situation, you may be eligible to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI is for people who:
- Have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes, or
- Be a child whose disability started before they were 22 years old with a parent who draws Social Security disability, Social Security retirement, or is deceased
SSI is for disabled applicants who have limited income and resources.
Quoted directly from the SSA, applicants who qualify for this type of benefit are:
- Between the ages of 18 and 65
- Have never been married
- Are not blind
- Are U.S. citizens
- Have not applied or received SSI benefits in the past
SSI can offer assistance for basic necessities, including food, water, shelter, and clothing. Depending on your situation, you may be able to file for both of these benefits concurrently. A Rutherfordton Social Security disability lawyer can evaluate the evidence you provide and determine which benefit applies to your case.
Rutherfordton Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 828.286.3866
Explaining Work Credits
For every year that you work, you gain “work credits.” The SSA defines this element of your application as “based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits a year… In 2020, for example, you earn one credit for each $1,410 in wages or self-employment income. When you’ve earned $5,640, you’ve earned your four credits for the year.”
Qualifying for SSDI requires you to earn a minimum number of work credits within a specific number of years preceding your filing to qualify for benefits. When you work with a Rutherfordton Social Security disability lawyer, they can explain in further detail how your work credits apply to your situation and include those details in your application.
What Happens if Your Application is Denied
Unfortunately, sometimes despite compelling evidence, many initial claims for SSI and SSDI benefits are denied. In some situations, the denial can be attributed to a small error made when filling out the application. In others, you may be asked to provide additional evidence supporting your condition and work history. When you work with Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, we understand how discouraging these setbacks can be. Yet, you have legal options.
Generally, you have 60 days from the date of your application’s denial to file an appeal. If you are denied, our team encourages you to act quickly.
According to the SSA, at the baseline, the appeals process is as follows:
- Your application will be reviewed by an official that was not involved in the first determination.
- Request a hearing. If your application was denied even after reconsideration, you can file an appeal with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who also had no part in the original decision. You will have the opportunity to appear in court to explain your situation.
- Appealing to the Appeals Council. If your application is still facing denial, the Appeals Council can either choose to rule in your favor or send your case back to an ALJ for further review.
Still, after these steps, if you are still facing denial, you may be able to take your case to federal court. Our team acknowledges that the denial phase is a lengthy and involved process. For that reason, you may not want to undertake these legal proceedings alone.
To get help from our dedicated legal team, call Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, at (828) 286-3866.
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If you become disabled, it can be difficult to maintain financial independence. A work injury or car accident can cause permanent disabilities, while chronic medical and mental health conditions can likewise impact your ability to work. Talking to a Rutherfordton Social Security disability lawyer when you are reviewing whether you are entitled to SSDI or SSI benefits may be able to provide clarity through this complicated legal process.
To find out more about Social Security disability benefits, call Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC today at (828) 286-3866 for a free case review.