The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefit programs for qualifying individuals who cannot work. These programs could provide life-saving support when a disabling injury or illness impacts your employment status.
If you are considering pursuing disability benefits through Social Security, now is the time to seek legal counsel. A disability attorney could ensure you make the strongest case possible for benefits. In addition, if your claim is denied, an attorney could assist with your appeal. Contact a Leesburg Social Security Disability lawyer from Bogin, Munns & Munns as soon as possible.
SSA Offers Two Social Security Disability Programs
The SSA offers two separate and distinct disability benefit programs. These programs have some similarities, as they are both designed to aid individuals living with disabling conditions. However, there are also important distinctions between the two programs.
What these programs have in common is that they are geared toward disabled individuals. Both programs require proof that an applicant meets the SSA’s criteria for being disabled. This is often done by establishing that you have been diagnosed with a condition listed in the SSA Blue Book. Outside of requiring a recognized disabling condition, the other qualifications for each program are very different.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Unlike other disability benefit programs, SSDI is not paid from the government’s general fund. Instead, these benefits are paid for with receipts from payroll taxes. For that reason, you must meet requirements related to your work history.
Every applicant seeking SSDI benefits must have a minimum number of work credits to qualify. Work credits represent a set amount of time a person works at least 40 hours per week. You can earn up to four work credits per year working full-time. However, it is possible to secure partial benefits even if you do not have the maximum number of work credits over the previous ten years.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI does not have any work requirements to speak of. Instead, these benefits are targeted toward low-income individuals who are disabled or blind. To qualify for SSI benefits, applicants must have limited resources available to cover their basic necessities. If your assets are above the threshold set by the SSA, you will not qualify for SSI benefits.
The income requirements for SSI eligibility are strict. These requirements go well beyond the traditional income you receive through wages or tips. The SSA considers all the assets you have available to cover your basic necessities. This includes wages, tips, investments, or other assets. If you are receiving in-kind contributions like free meals or a place to live, these could also qualify. There are only a handful of exceptions that will not qualify, including certain automobiles and your clothing. An attorney could review your assets and help you understand if you are eligible for benefits through SSI.
To consult with an experienced social security disability lawyer serving Leesburg, call 855-780-9986
Understanding the Disability Benefits Application Process
You must take steps to initiate the process and secure the benefits you deserve. These steps include:
- Gathering Evidence. There are important steps to take before filing your claim or preparing your application. To make a strong case for benefits, you will need evidence that supports your case.
- Preparing Paperwork. After gathering evidence, it is time to prepare the paperwork that initiates your disability benefits claim.
- Filing the Application. Once the evidence is gathered, it is time to file your application for benefits. Again, accuracy on your application is vital, as a single error could result in your claim getting rejected.
- Appeal a Denial. The SSA initially denies many claims for benefits. You have the right to appeal your denial, and a Social Security benefits lawyer could assist you with every stage of the appellate process.
Your case could take many different courses after you file for disability benefits. A Social Security lawyer could provide guidance to you during the process.
Leesburg Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 855-780-9986
Appealing an SSD Denial
When it comes to Social Security Disability applications, denials can happen. This is a common outcome even when the underlying facts are strong. You have the right to appeal the decision not only when your claim is denied but also when you disagree with the benefits of a successful claim. There are multiple stages in the appellate process, and each one offers you the opportunity to have your adverse decision overturned.
The initial stage of the appeal is known as reconsideration. Reconsideration allows for a complete review of your entire disability claim. This reconsideration is handled by a party that did not make the original decision in your case. Therefore, in addition to the initial evidence supplied with your application, you can provide additional documents that might address the reason for the denial.
Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge
If reconsideration does not go your way, the next step in the appellate process is a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). This is more than just an additional review of the original evidence. At the hearing, your Social Security attorney will have the opportunity to make the case that you are entitled to disability benefits.
The highest level of administrative appeal is at the Appeals Council. This council must consider your request for appeal, but they are not obligated to hear every case. In many situations, the Appeals Council will deny a request, leaving the decision of the ALJ to stand.
The final option in the appeals process involves filing a lawsuit in federal court. You have the right to proceed to this level if the Appeals Council denies your claim or refuses to hear your appeal. A federal judge oversees this type of appeal.
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There is no guarantee that your disability claim will be accepted. Many find their applications denied on their first attempt. Unfortunately, this is a common result when pursuing disability benefits without the legal guidance of an attorney. The good news is that you have the right to select legal counsel to assist with your case. The right SSI lawyer could make all the difference in securing the disability benefits you need.
Bogin, Munns & Munns is ready to help you through every step of the disability benefits process. Let a Leesburg Social Security Disability lawyer advise you on the required steps to obtain benefits or appeal a denial. Call right away for a free consultation.