Suddenly being unable to work can be a stressful experience. For people who have worked their whole lives, providing for their family, and building a nest egg, a sudden disability can be frightening. Fortunately, most disabled workers are able to use the Social Security Disability program for financial benefits and assistance.
Few people ever anticipate becoming disabled before they have the chance to retire. However, national statistics show that 1 out of 4 people who are 20-years-old today will become disabled before they reach age 67. There are almost 10 million people currently benefiting from the disability program.
What is Social Security Disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the Social Security program in the U.S. Eligible individuals can apply for the program and will be approved if they meet specific requirements, including qualifying medical criteria. This will allow them to seek benefits under the Supplemental Security Income program or Social Security Disability Insurance.
Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits are available to individuals who qualify by earning enough Social Security credits by paying into the system over time. Credits are earned by employment covered by the Social Security system. This usually amounts to about 10 years of active work.
If an individual is no longer able to work because of a disability that will last for a year or more, or the disability will end in death, they may be approved for the benefits. Only certain types of medical conditions will meet the definition of a disability for the purposes of the program. If the individual is approved, they will receive monthly cash benefits to replace the loss of income.
Individuals who hope to return to work may be able to qualify for special work incentives. This allows some disabled workers to return to work, without penalizing them from returning to active employment. The individual may receive continued benefits and medical care while they transition back into the workplace.
However, if an individual is denied benefits by the SSA, the disabled worker may be left wondering what to do next. There is an appeals process to challenge the SSA's determination. Before appealing a disability denial, you may want to speak with a Social Security disability attorney about your case. They may be able to identify what may have caused the rejection and help you get approved.
What Are Disabling Conditions?
According to the Social Security Administration, you are considered disabled if:
- You cannot do work that you did before;
- They decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
There may be other conditions that disqualify an applicant from disability assistance. If you are working and earning an average of more than $1,130 per month, you generally cannot be considered disabled.
The disabling condition must be severe enough that it interferes with basic work-related activities. The SSA provides a list of medical conditions that are so severe they automatically consider the individual to be disabled. This includes Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy, Lou Gehrig's disease, cystic fibrosis, chronic heart failure, schizophrenia, epilepsy, leukemia, lupus, autism, vision loss, and certain forms of cancer.
If the applicant's medical condition is not one of those on the SSA's approved list, the SSA will evaluate the condition to determine if it is severe enough to meet the requirements.
Denied Social Security Disability
Some people apply for Social Security disability without thinking they could be denied. They may believe that their condition clearly makes them eligible for coverage. However, like with many government programs, if they do not double check that everything is in order, they may find they have been denied necessary coverage.
There may be a number of reasons why a disability application was denied. It could be because of an administrative error, a medical reason, a non-medical reason, or simply a mistake. Unfortunately for the applicant who is relying on disability payments to pay rent and put food on the table, the process is not simple or clear.
It takes time to go through the appeals process. The appeal may go through reconsideration, to an administrative law hearing, federal court review, or review by the Appeals Council. Before appealing a denial, you may want to speak to an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. They will review your application, determine why you may have been denied, and help to get you approved.
Washington D.C. Social Security Disability Attorney
Do not give up hope if you were denied a disability claim by the Social Security Administration. A Social Security disability lawyer can fight for you to get your claim approved. If you are injured or disabled, the Social Security program is supposed to provide you benefits. Your personal Social Security disability attorney will help guide you through the claims process and advise you of your options. Call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation so you can get the compensation you deserve.