If you need help preparing and filing your application or fighting a denial of Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in Polk County, NC, Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, is here for you. Our disability lawyers help those who cannot work and earn a living explore their options and fight for the benefits they need.
A Polk County Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm reviews these cases for free. We explain what it takes to qualify for benefits and manage the application or appeals process. We may be able to handle this on your behalf while you continue to undergo treatment.
Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability is for people who live with a long-term, disabling condition that prevents them from working, known as engaging in “substantial gainful activity (SGA).” These programs provide a monthly cash benefit, usually by check or direct deposit. The benefit an individual could receive depends on a number of factors – we can help claimants understand the possible value of their claims as a part of assessing their cases.
The application process is not difficult, but you must have accurate and detailed information to complete it. There are very specific things the disability determination examiner will look for when they evaluate your claim. Before you can receive benefits, you will need to prove you:
- Meet the criteria for your diagnosis in the Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book; or
- Otherwise, have a condition that prevents you from engaging in SGA for at least 12 months; or
- Have a condition that will result in your passing
Our legal team can discuss your diagnosis, symptoms, and ability to work with you. In addition, we will talk about the medical evidence available to support your SSD claim and help you prepare your application. Our attorneys may also be able to offer advice if you need to get additional documentation, testing, imaging, or other evidence from your doctor or the SSA requests you see one of their physicians for a consultative examination.
Eligibility Requirements Depend on the SSD Program
Each SSD program also has its own criteria you will need to meet. Failing to meet these criteria could result in a technical denial before the disability examiner even considers whether you have a qualifying medical condition or otherwise meet the criteria for benefits.
The Social Security Administration Red Book explains the criteria, including the following information.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
For SSDI, the SSA requires applicants to work long enough to earn the correct number of Social Security credits based on their age. These are sometimes called “work credits.” This is important because SSDI benefits are paid from the money you paid into Social Security through your job. Those who are self-employed pay into Social Security through their income taxes. This is the same fund that pays Social Security retirement benefits.
Alternatively, a child who received their diagnosis of a disabling condition before age 22 may qualify if they have a parent who:
- Qualifies for an SSD program;
- Draws Social Security retirement; or
- Is deceased
There are no caps on income for the SSDI program, but you cannot have the capacity to work and earn more than the current SGA limit. The SGA limit changes each year, and only money earned from a job counts. You can qualify for benefits if you have income from other sources, including rental property or other disability programs. However, receiving SSDI could affect your other benefits. The total for 2022 is $1,350 per month.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI is a program meant to help those living with disabilities meet their basic necessities, such as shelter, food, water, and clothing. There are strict income and asset limits with this program. While there are few exceptions to these requirements, you can have work-related assets, a car, and a home that do not count against you.
In addition, applicants must be:
- Between age 18 and retirement age
- A U.S. citizen
There are no Social Security work credit requirements for SSI.
Under certain circumstances, some applicants may be eligible to apply for both SSDI and SSI. Our legal team can evaluate your case to determine if this may be possible in your situation.
Our Social Security Disability Attorneys Can Help You Secure SSD Benefits
Our attorneys for Social Security Disability can work with you no matter where you are in the process of seeking disability benefits. Whether you are just considering applying or have already received a denial, we are here for you. We can help:
- Determine if you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits
- Weigh your options for SSDI, SSI, or both programs
- Complete the necessary forms accurately and completely
- Gather and submit evidence to support your claim
- Explain your options for fighting a disability denial
- Manage your appeal
- Represent you in your appeal hearings or lawsuit
Our lawyers handle SSDI and SSI applications and appeals based on contingency, so we do not charge our clients any attorney’s fees unless they receive benefits. Our percentage of your financial recovery comes only from any retroactive benefits we secure in your case. You will never pay our lawyers any fees from your own pocket.
We represent clients in Columbus, Tryon, Saluda, and other areas in and around Polk County. If you live in the foothills, we are here for you. We can help you understand your options, file your claim, and fight for the benefits you need and deserve.
Our Lawyers Can Manage Your Appeal After Your Disability Benefits Are Denied
Even when there is a strong case with compelling medical evidence, it is not always easy to get SSDI or SSI approved. Many people receive denials based on their initial claims. This could occur because of:
- Minor mistakes on the application, such as an incorrect answer or skipped question
- Lack of evidence or additional support needed to verify your condition
- Missing information about your work history, income, or assets
- Overlooked vital information to confirm you qualify by the examiner
According to reports, between 66 and 70 percent of first-time applicants receive a denial. If you received a denial, you are not alone. It may encourage you to know that we are often able to help our clients get approval and retroactive benefits (backpay) from the date of their original application.
At Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, we know how frustrating it can be to receive a denial of SSD benefits when you need the income available through these programs. However, if you feel discouraged because you did not receive approval, we can help you understand and explore your options. We manage appeals for clients like you every day.
Steps in the Social Security Benefits Appeals Process
According to the SSA, you only have 60 days to appeal a denial, so you will need to act quickly. We will navigate the appeals process for you and may be able to get your monthly income benefits approved at any step in this process.
The appeals process includes three primary steps:
- Reconsideration: This stage takes the application and information you already submitted and asks an examiner not involved in the initial review to take another look.
- Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing: If your reconsideration ends with another denial, you can take the appeal in front of an official known as an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). During this hearing, we can represent you, explain your qualifications, and present new evidence as needed.
- Appeals Council review: If the ALJ denies your application, you can request an Appeals Council review. They can approve you, deny you, or send your case back to the ALJ for further consideration.
In some cases, you may need to raise your appeal to the federal level. We can facilitate taking your denial to federal court if necessary. This is rare, but our team is prepared to take this step on your behalf to secure the benefits you need and deserve. We will not back down if we believe you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits based on the evidence available.
Contact Our SSD Lawyers for Help with Your Application or Denial of Benefits
You can speak with a Social Security Disability attorney in Polk County from Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, about your application or denial for free. We provide complimentary case consultations. Let us help you understand your next steps to getting SSDI or SSI.
Call (828) 286-3866 now to discuss your options with a member of our team.