Social security disability insurance provides payments to qualified persons who are considered “disabled” by the federal government. Often, injured persons will apply for social security disability benefits but will be denied. The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. specializes in social security disability appeals and works closely with clients to help them obtain the benefits they deserve.
What is Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability is a benefit received from the Social Security Administration by disabled workers, and in some cases, their dependents, that are similar to old-age benefits received by retired workers.
Typically, the benefit is a monthly check sent by the federal government. The amount of the check depends on a number of factors, including your work history, the number of dependents, and previous income.
How do I qualify for Social Security Disability?
To quality for Social Security Disability benefits, you must meet the federal government’s definition of disability. Disability is defined as being unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least12 months, or be expected to result in death.
Inability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) means that if you work, you do not earn more than a certain amount of money. This amount changes every year. If you have an impairment that meets the requirements for disability, you won’t qualify for SSD if you earn more than the SGA level.
A medically determinable physical or mental impairment is a disorder that results from anatomical, physiological or psychological abnormalities that can be established by medically acceptable tests. To discover this information, the government can ask to examine your medical records, order medical tests, or have you examined by a physician they chose. Your individual complaints are important, but those alone are not enough to show disability.
Who is eligible for Social Security Disability?
To receive Social Security Disability benefits, a person must also be eligible. Generally, SSD benefits are available to individuals under 65 who have been employed for at least five out of the last ten years. The law requires that you earn a certain number of work credits in a specified time before you are eligible for benefits. The number of work credits needed to receive benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Most people need at least 20 credits earned over ten years; however, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.
How does the Social Security Administration decide claims?
When determining a social security disability claim, the SSA evaluates a specific set of criteria. This criteria is the same for each person:
The SSA first determines if you are engaged in a substantial gainful activity. If you the answer is no, the SSA moves on to determine the severity of your impairments or injuries.
The severity of your impairments or injuries is determined by looking at your medical records and injuries. The fact that you suffer from multiple injuries doesn’t matter. What does matter is their effect on your ability to function physically or mentally. The SSA will compare your disability to a list, called the Listing of Impairments, to determine if your impairments are severe enough to qualify. The listings are federal regulations.
If an impairment you have matches a listing, you will be found disabled and granted benefits. However, if none of your impairments meet a listing, the SSA must determine if your impairments in total equal the severity required for a similar impairment. If the SSA determines your impairment equals those from the Listing of Impairments, you will receive benefits.
Prior Work – If you can perform your prior work, you will not qualify. However, if you can’t perform your prior work, the process continues.
Age, Education and Work Experience – If you cannot return to your previous work, the SSA will look at your age, education and work experience, to determine if you can do any work.
What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?
SSD is different from SSI (Supplemental Security Income). SSI is a program which provides payments to an adult or child who is disabled and has limited income and resources. Typically, SSI is available to disabled adults or children who have not worked long enough within the last ten years to receive SSD benefits.
To qualify for SSI, your monthly income cannot exceed something called the federal benefit rate (FBR). In addition, your resources cannot exceed certain limits. These “resources” include cash or another asset that can be converted to cash and used for support. SSI disability payments are usually only available to U.S. citizens.
What is the process for obtaining Social Security Disability?
The first step is to actually apply for social security benefits from the federal government. This can be done by filling out an application at your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office or by applying online at www.ssa.gov. SSA may ask you for your last pay stub or W-2 as well as copies of your medical records.
Most disability applications are denied at the initial level by the Social Security Administration. If denied, you are given a time frame in which to file an appeal. If an appeal is not filed within the given time, you must start the entire process all over again.
If you elect to appeal, our law firm can help you complete the appropriate appeal forms and file a Request for Hearing and have your case heard before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Our firm will help compile medical records and other documentation to ensure the ALJ makes an informed decision on your disability case.
How much money do I receive if I qualify for Social Security Disability?
The amount of money a disabled claimant receives depends on a person’s previous work history and income.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. has successfully represented countless clients in appealing their initial Social Security Disability denial. We understand the difficulties our clients face in obtaining benefits and fight for the benefits our clients deserve. We are committed to a successful resolution of our client’s Social Security Disability benefits claim.
Call the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. at 1.800.LEE.FREE (533-3733) for your free consultation.
“Because it’s not just the law, it’s Lee.”
I exclusively practice social security disability law with the Lee Steinberg Law Firm. We provide legal services for individuals who are seeking assistance in filing their initial applications for social security disability or supplemental security income. And in the event that they are denied the initial application, we also help them file the appeal.
The social security administration offers benefit programs for individuals who are unable to work. And that will provide them with financial relief. I represent clients at the initial application, at their administrative law hearings, appeals counsel claims, and also I’ve done some federal court work as well. And altogether I’ve represented over 1,000 clients or claimants before the social security administration in pursuit of their social security disability claims.
You should contact the Lee Steinberg Law Firm for your disability claim for several reasons. Number one, we are a full service law firm. We will assist you in filing the application and guide you through the process, as it can be very confusing. And we will be there to assist you along the way. We will represent you at the initial application. And in the event that you are denied, we will take it up to the appeals counsel for further review.
Here at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, we have trained individuals. We’re passionate about doing this kind of work and helping people. We are here to answer your phone calls and to answer any questions you may have. We also will be here to guide you along the way and to develop your case before the administrative law judge in an effort to maximize your chances of winning a social security disability claim.