Social Security Disability
In the United States, there are an estimated 36 million people with at least one disabling condition. According to Disabled World, this means approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population has some type of impairment. While some disabled individuals may have relatively minor conditions, others have severe medical problems that interfere with their daily lives and that prevent them from working or earning a living.
For those who are unable to earn a living, the social security administration (SSA) provides an important social safety net. The social security administration has two different benefits programs available that provide monthly income for the disabled. One program is referred to as supplemental security income (SSI). SSI is a means-based program available not only to the disabled but also the elderly. The other program is called social security disability insurance (SSDI) and it is available to people who have earned coverage by working and paying into the social security system.
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, our Massachusetts Social Security Disability Insurance attorneys are committed to working aggressively on behalf of those injured in the workforce. Our Boston workers' compensation practice, combined with our thriving personal injury and wrongful death litigation departments, mean we have the knowledge and experience to handle your work injury claim from start to finish, and to win you the compensation you deserve.
While SSI and SSDI are both intended to ensure that a disabled worker has the money he needs to provide for himself and stay out of poverty, the social security administration has made the application process very difficult. Their aim is to prevent fraud and make sure only the truly disabled receive benefits. But unfortunately the effect of their stringent application process is that many qualified disabled persons are initially denied. Because applying for benefits is so difficult, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Boston social security disability attorney.Are you Eligible for SSDI Benefits?
SSDI stands for social security disability insurance and it is an earned benefit. This means that workers pay money into the social security system through their payroll taxes in order to become eligible for benefits in the event of a disabling work injury. Unlike SSI, family resources are not a determinative factor in whether someone can receive SSDI benefits. The basic eligibility criteria that must be met centers around whether you have a sufficient work history.
The amount of time that you must have worked in order to earn eligibility for SSDI benefits varies depending upon how old you are at the time when you become too disabled to work. Someone who becomes disabled when he is 24 years of age or younger, for example, must have earned six or more work credits in the three years before becoming disabled. A work credit is earned when you have earned $1,160 in qualified earnings. For older individuals, more work credits are necessary. The Social Security Administration has a chart on its website explaining the number of work credits required at each age.
In addition to having sufficient work credits, you also must meet the SSA's definition of disabled and your disability must prevent you from doing any type of work that you are qualified to perform.Defining Disabled for SSDI Benefits
To determine if you are disabled, the SSA will look at several different criteria. Considerations include:
- Whether you are currently engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA). For those who are blind, you can earn up to $1,740 per month (as of 2013) before the SSA considers you to be engaged in substantial gainful activity. For people who do not meet the definition of statutory blindness, you may only earn up to $1,040 per month before you become disqualified due to engaging in SGA.
- Whether your condition has or will last for twelve months or whether the condition will end in death
- Whether your condition is listed in the "blue book." The "blue book" is the SSA's list of qualifying medical conditions. In Part A, adult disabilities are listed and in Part B, childhood conditions are listed. Each listed disability is also accompanied by a set of symptoms that you must exhibit. If your condition is listed and you exhibit the required symptoms, you may qualify for benefits. If it is not, then you can qualify only if you can prove "medical equivalence," which means your health problems are just as bad as those listed.
If you believe you have a covered medical condition or impairment, you will need to provide solid medical proof of your illness or medical issues. The proof needs to come from medical records prepared by a specialist who is treating you. It is very important that your application be completed in full and that you have the proof the SSA will require. You should always consider having a Boston social security disability lawyer represent you when preparing your application in order to ensure it is in order and there are no needless delays or denials of benefits.What If You are Denied
Even if you do everything right, you may find your initial application is one of the majority of benefit claims that is denied. When your claim is denied, do not give up. There is a four-stage appeals process including a request for reconsideration; a benefits hearing; an appeal to the SSA review board and finally an appeal to federal court.
There are strict deadlines with the appeals process and you will want to make sure you can make a solid argument for why you deserve benefits. Again, the experience and advice of a Massachusetts SSDI attorney is invaluable in this process in order to have the best chance of receiving benefits.Getting Legal Help
When you are disabled and cannot work, it can be an incredibly stressful experience. You need to have an advocate on your side to help you obtain the financial support you need to provide for yourself and your family and to allow you to focus on your health. At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC, we are here to help you. Give us a call today at to learn more about how we can assist you in getting SSDI benefits.
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