Social Security Disability can serve as an invaluable lifeline when you’re too ill or injured to work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays these benefits to people with long-term disabilities that are expected to last for a year or more.
However, applying for Social Security disability can be incredibly confusing, and many people give up after the SSA denies their claim. If your claim has been denied, or if you need help applying for benefits learn how our Brooklyn Social Security disability lawyers can help.
If you’re dealing with a serious disability, finding an SSA rejection letter in the mail can be disheartening. You may be unaware it’s possible to appeal the SSA’s decision. Even if you do know this, figuring out how to make a successful appeal can be overwhelming.
Navigating the appeals process sometimes feels like walking through a minefield. You could make the journey yourself, but wouldn’t you rather have an experienced guide to walk you through so you don’t step in the wrong place?
That’s exactly what our Social Security disability law firm can do for you. We can:
In short, if you seek help from a disability law firm such as Pyrros, Serres & Rupwani, you stand a better chance of having your Social Security disability claim accepted.
You may have heard about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but you’re unsure which to apply for. Both are benefits programs that provide income to people with disabilities, but they’re not quite the same thing, so understanding the difference is crucial.
SSI pays benefits to people who are 65 or older, disabled, or blind. If you intend to apply for SSI, you must expect your disability to last for a year or more or result in death.
You must also have a very low income and extremely limited resources to qualify. The value of everything you own, including cash, investments, and property (with the exception of your home) can’t exceed $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple.
SSI has no work history requirement, but the benefits amount can be quite low. Individuals may earn a maximum of $914 per month, and couples may earn up to $1,372 monthly. The SSA adjusts these amounts annually.
SSDI provides benefits to people who can’t work due to a disability that will last for a year or more. This means if you have a short-term disability, you generally will not qualify.
You must have a disability that prevents you from doing your current job or any other type of job. For example, if you can no longer work in a factory but are able to transition to a work-from-home job, you probably won’t qualify for SSDI.
Unlike SSI, your income and resources don’t affect how much you earn from SSDI. Therefore, you can have a high income and a healthy retirement account and still qualify for benefits.
Neither does the SSA cap SSDI benefits as it does with SSI. How much you can earn is based on your average monthly pay. That means people with higher incomes can earn more than those with lower incomes.
One drawback of SSDI is that you must have a substantial work history to qualify. Exactly how much work history you need depends on your age. If you’re under 24, for instance, you’d only need about one-and-a-half years’ worth of experience in the three years before your disability. If you’re older than 31, you must have worked at least five out of the past 10 years.
When you’re disabled and can’t work, finding an SSA denial in the mail can feel like being kicked when you’re already down. The SSA denies claims for many reasons, and depending on the cause of your denial, it might be possible to file an appeal.
If applying for SSDI, you must meet the SSA’s work history requirements. The SSA converts income to credits, and you can earn up to four credits annually.
To qualify for SSDI, you’ll typically need at least 40 credits, 20 of which you’ve earned within the past 10 years (ending with the year your disability began). However, as discussed above, younger people may qualify with fewer credits.
To be eligible for benefits, you must have a disability that keeps you from working any job. If the SSA finds out you’re still working, it will deny your claim.
The SSA frequently denies SSI claims for having too many resources or an income that’s too high. Because of this, some people “spend down” their resources to ensure they qualify. Some ways to do this include:
Note that there is a three-year look-back period during which the SSA can review your transactions. If the SSA finds you sold an asset for less than its fair value, it will deny your claim.
The SSA has a list of conditions that qualify for benefits. If you don’t meet the criteria for any, expect a denial. However, Brooklyn Social Security disability lawyers may be able to make the case that your condition is comparable to a similar disability on the list.
Failing to supply enough medical evidence is a common reason for denials. Fortunately, this type of denial is rather easy to appeal. Simply collect all relevant medical treatment records, as well as statements from your doctors, and submit them to the SSA.
Following your doctor’s orders to the letter can be a pain, but failing to do so could be detrimental to your SSD claim. If the SSA learns you’re ignoring your doctor’s suggested treatments, medications and therapies, it could deny your claim or stop your benefits.
If the SSA denies your claim, you don’t have an infinite amount of time to make an appeal. The SSA gives you just 60 days to do so, which doesn’t seem long enough if you need time to put together a strong case for your appeal.
This is where an experienced SSD attorney can be so helpful. They can build a strong case and help you file your appeal before time is up.
Have more questions about SSI or SSDI? Are you wondering, “Does a lump sum settlement affect Social Security disability?” If so, call Pyrros, Serres & Rupwani at (718) 626-7730 for a free consultation with our Brooklyn Social Security disability lawyers.