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How Do I Prove My Disability?
Elk Grove SSDI Lawyer
The Social Security system is meant to support hard-working Americans and provide a safety net at necessary junctures in our lives. Unfortunately, many find the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) system overwhelming to navigate or unsupportive when they need it the most. Working with an Elk Grove SSDI attorney in your area can save time and energy, as well as ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.
It can be difficult to know what Social Security benefits you have earned over the years and even more difficult to advocate for yourself throughout the process. Those filing for Social Security disability may also be facing additional physical, financial, and emotional challenges. Knowing you have an expert lawyer to fight for your rights can alleviate additional stress and result in greater satisfaction overall.
Choosing a Qualified SSDI Attorney
When finding an SSDI attorney, it is important to look for an advocate who truly understands the SSI and SSDI systems and who has the knowledge to guide you beyond the application process. At Gade & Parekh, LLP, our experience and knowledge lie in Social Security.
We can provide legal support from start to finish. We go beyond simply helping with initial paperwork to work for your success. Our years of experience and past successes can give you peace of mind when navigating the intricacies of the social security system. We are dedicated to doing our jobs effectively and to helping hard-working people like you.
What Is SSDI Versus SSI?
SSDI and SSI are both government benefit programs. Both programs are designed for individuals with qualifying physical or mental conditions. However, each program has its own eligibility requirements, application process, and benefit determinations.
SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Income. It is only available to individuals with some kind of disability or limitation who have worked for a number of years. If you have never worked in the U.S., this benefit will not apply to you. The number of years you must have worked to qualify for SSDI will depend on your age and at what point your disability began.
SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. It is available to individuals with a disability or over a certain age whose assets and income are below a certain threshold. SSI does not have requirements about the number of years previously worked.
What Kind of Disability Makes You Eligible to File a Disability Claim?
As with any government aid program, there are certain guidelines that determine whether you qualify for assistance. When Social Security is determining if your disability claim will be accepted, they must first decide if you meet the qualifying rules. For your disability to potentially qualify for benefits, you must:
- Have a physical or mental condition that is impairing yo
- Specifically have a condition that prevents you from doing any work with substantial earnings
- The conditions must either last or be predicted to last a minimum of 12 months or must be expected to result in death
One potentially difficult aspect of the rules surrounding Social Security benefits is that the mental or physical condition must be defined or diagnosed by a medical professional. It is key to not only have a competent disability lawyer but to work with your doctor or other health professionals to make sure you have the paperwork and records that Social Security demands.
Another aspect to consider in applying for benefits is whether you are able to have gainful employment with earnings above a certain level. What Social Security determines to be substantial gainful employment will vary, just as the poverty line, minimum wage, or other governmentally determined financial thresholds change over time. Currently, around $1,500/month is considered substantial.
Social Security benefit applications become increasingly complex as claims take the individual’s demographics into account. Age, work experience, job skills, and other factors are evaluated in each claim. Over 60% of filed claims are rejected by Social Security for various reasons. This is yet another reason it can be helpful to have a Social Security disability attorney evaluate your claim and make it as strong as possible.
What Is the Most Approved Disability
Musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis, are the most commonly approved disabilities. This is particularly true if the condition also impacts common office skills, such as typing and writing. As with all conditions, they must be confirmed and documented by a doctor.
Other commonly approved disabilities include heart disease, degenerative disc disease, later-stage or aggressive cancers, Parkinson’s, dementia, etc. Unsurprisingly, mental health conditions can be harder to prove than physical conditions. Make sure to find a health professional to give you support and provide documentation when applying for benefits.
How Do You File a Social Security Disability Claim
There are several steps that must be taken to file a Social Security disability claim. While it is possible to complete these steps without the assistance of an SSDI attorney, it can be very helpful to have someone walking you through each part of the process. This is especially true if the disability that has you applying for benefits makes filing claims a challenge. The basic steps for all SSDI claims are as follows:
- Gather all necessary paperwork, including:
- Social Security number and proof of age
- Proof of marriage if your spouse is also applying for benefits
- Contact information for all medical professionals you have seen or other professionals such as social workers, therapists, etc.
- Any and all medical records pertaining to the claim
- Types and dosages of medications taken
- Testing or laboratory results
- Work history, including what you did and where you worked
- Federal tax returns or W-2 forms, as applicable
- Fill out an online application, call the Social Security office, or arrange an in-person appointment
- Social Security will initially review all submitted information and request missing or supplementary documents
- Social Security will thoroughly review all medical information submitted, look for incongruities, and verify a qualifying disability condition
- Social Security will review all submitted financial information, including work history, current income, and job skills, to determine benefit amounts and your ability to work
- Receive notification of SSDI determination, usually including information about the amount of benefits, if approved
- Appeal (if necessary): if your claim is rejected or you disagree with the benefits amount, you will need to appeal and possibly appear before a judge
- Receive benefits
- Be reviewed periodically by the Social Security Administration, which will evaluate if your medical or financial status has changed
How Are Benefits for SSDI Calculated
Calculations for SSDI benefits can be very complex and can feel even more so when you are unfamiliar with the terms and formulas being used. Generally speaking, benefits are based on how much someone has paid into Social Security over their lifetime and use Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) as the basis for this calculation. The Social Security Administration also uses your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) to calculate your monthly benefits.
Since every person’s case is unique, it is difficult to say how much your benefits could amount to. Working with a Social Security disability lawyer will allow you to estimate the amount more accurately, but you can only know for certain once Social Security makes a determination on your claim.
Appealing a Claim
Even if a claim is initially rejected by Social Security, you are entitled to appeal the decision. Having to appeal a claim takes more time, however, and can increase stress levels. Choosing a Social Security disability attorney from the beginning helps make sure paperwork is as organized and thorough as possible from the start. It also means if you do need to appeal your case, you have a skilled professional who already thoroughly understands your situation.
What Is the Most an SSDI Lawyer Can Charge?
Paying for legal services may seem counterintuitive when you are already unable to work and might be paying medical bills as well. Rest assured that the law guarantees that the amount you pay to an SSDI lawyer is capped and cannot exceed $6,000. Up to that amount, your SSDI lawyer receives 25% of your back benefits.
For the sake of SSDI applicants filing a claim, Social Security has to approve the amount that an SSDI attorney is asking for. If your claim is rejected, you will not lose money in legal fees. This means that hiring an attorney in Elk Grove, CA, is a safe investment.
Find an Social Security Disability Attorney in Elk Grove Today
We all run into challenges in our lives, and there are times when we face physical or mental barriers that we simply cannot overcome on our own. It is overwhelming when we no longer feel we can provide for our needs or the needs of those we love.
In the case of applying for Social Security disability benefits, we often need an experienced professional to help us with our disability claim. Our Social Security disability attorneys want to work with you and make sure you get the financial help and benefits you deserve. If you or someone you love need support in applying for Social Security benefits, please reach out to us today.