If your ability to earn a living has been derailed by a debilitating injury or illness, you might be entitled to financial benefits from the federal government. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two disability benefits programs for qualifying individuals who are unable to work.
If you are considering filing a claim or have had your claim denied, now is the time to seek legal help. An attorney could help you navigate the claims process and get the fair outcome you deserve. Reach out to a St. Cloud Social Security disability lawyer right away.
Establishing a Disabling Condition
In order for anyone to recover disability benefits from SSA, they must provide evidence that they are living with a disabling condition. This condition must be accepted by SSA. In general, a disability is an illness or injury that prevents you from being able to participate in substantial gainful activity. Substantial gainful activity relates to your ability to work and earn a living.
The ability to hold down a job is not always substantial. Substantial work requires significant physical or mental activity that is performed on a full-time or even part-time basis. Employment is gainful if it is work that is performed for profit or typically performed for profit. A person is usually unable to perform substantial gainful activity when they can only perform limited amounts of part-time work that will not provide meaningful financial support.
In some situations, establishing that you have a disability is straightforward. There are many disabling conditions that SSA immediately acknowledges as a disability. These conditions are collected in a document known as the SSA Blue Book. If you do not have a condition listed in this document, you could still rely on your St. Cloud Social Security disability lawyer to show that you are unable to perform substantial gainful activity.
To consult with an experienced social security disability lawyer serving St. Cloud, call 855-780-9986
Types of Disability Benefits
Not all Social Security disability benefits are the same. In total, there are two unique disability benefits programs operated by SSA. In addition to establishing that you are disabled, it is also necessary to meet the eligibility requirements for both of SSA’s disability programs. These programs are known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI is a program that offers financial benefits to disabled members of the workforce. Unlike other programs that are funded through general tax dollars, SSDI is paid for by payroll tax receipts. This funding source means that SSDI benefits are only available to individuals who have substantially contributed to payroll taxes over the years and are no longer able to work.
In order to calculate eligibility, SSA keeps track of something known as work credits. Working 40 hours per week, you could accumulate up to four work credits per year. If you have amassed 40 work credits in the past decade, you are entitled to full SSDI benefits. Fewer work credits could entitle you to partial benefits.
SSI is a disability benefits program that provides for the disabled, the blind, and individuals over the age of 65. In order to qualify, a person must have limited financial resources. During the application process, SSA will evaluate every aspect of your finances to determine if you qualify. This goes beyond tracking your wages or other forms of income. SSI limitations take into account everything from your possessions to investments. Even things you receive for free—like a place to stay—could qualify as income for the purposes of SSI benefits.
St. Cloud Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 855-780-9986
Appealing a Social Security Disability Claim
Denied disability claims can be frustrating. Thankfully, they do not have to mean the end of your pursuit of financial benefits. You have the right to appeal your denial, and these appeals are often successful. The Social Security Disability appeals process can be challenging, especially on your own. Our firm could help you navigate each step in this process while pursuing a fair outcome in your case.
First, your attorney can request that SSA reconsider the decision they rendered in your case. This involves an SSA employee other than the person who issued your original denial looking over your case. If they decide that the original decision was made in error, they can reverse the decision.
If the reconsideration does not go your way, your next option is requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ will review your denial and provide you with an opportunity to be heard. This hearing could take place in person, or it could be held over the phone. In either case, your attorney has the right to represent you.
The final stage of appeals within the structure of SSA is the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council has the power to review decisions from an ALJ, but they do not have an obligation to hear every case. The Appeals Council could choose to rule on your case or opt not to consider it at all.
Your final option in the appellate process is federal review. If the Appeals Council rules against you or refuses to hear your case at all, you have the right to file a lawsuit in federal court to have your case reviewed by a judge.
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Talk to a Social Security Disability Attorney in St. Cloud
Legal counsel could make a tremendous difference when it comes to the outcome of your disability benefits case. This is true if you are filing for benefits for the first time, and it is also the case if your initial claim has been denied by SSA. An attorney could help you obtain the disability benefits you deserve.
Let the team at Bogin, Munns & Munns guide you through the process. Our attorneys understand how to build a successful claim, and we have experience addressing denials. Reach out to a St. Cloud Social Security disability lawyer as soon as possible for your free consultation.