When you suffer a permanent disability that prevents you from working, it can seem impossible to provide for your family. This is where Social Security Disability programs come in. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) allow qualifying individuals to draw benefits that help make ends meet and bridge the gap until they qualify for Social Security retirement.
A Social Security Disability lawyer in Oakdale, Long Island can evaluate your qualifications for SSDI and SSI, and help you prepare your claim. He or she can also represent you through the appeals process if the Social Security Administration has already denied your claim for benefits. Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. at 631-600-0000 to talk about your disability with one of our lawyers. We offer complimentary case evaluations, so you have nothing to lose.
Do I Meet the Qualifications for Social Security Disability Based on My Impairments?
To qualify for Social Security Disability programs, you must suffer from a total, permanent disability that lasts for at least a year will likely last for at least a year, or will cause your death. It also must prevent you from working a normal job. If you can work enough hours to earn the substantial gainful activity limit, you will not qualify for benefits. For 2017, the Social Security Administration set this limit at $1,170 per month.
To prove you suffer from a qualifying impairment requires either:
- Showing medical evidence you meet the criteria for your health condition listed in their book of impairment listings; or
- Having a residual functional capacity that shows you cannot work
Either of these methods calls for intense scrutiny of your medical records, test results, and other documentation of your health, treatment history, and abilities. When you file a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, the disability examiner assigned to your case requests your records and paperwork from your doctors and specialists. They then look for specific evidence in your file, based on your diagnosis. Without the proper documentation, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not approve your claim.
The process is similar no matter if you qualify based on an impairment listing or your residual functional capacity. However, if you do not meet the criteria for an impairment listing, the SSA’s review of your medical records serves a different purpose. It will look for evidence to show you cannot work, and attempt to document how long you can work, how often, and what type of tasks you might be capable of. It may even ask you to attend an examination by an independent doctor to get a better idea of your abilities and limitations.
From this process, the SSA determines your residual functional capacity. If it looks at your medical records and sees you cannot work any regular job you might qualify for, it will likely approve you for SSDI or SSI benefits.
Are There Other Qualifications to Get SSDI and SSI Benefits?
Proving you have a permanent disability is usually the biggest hurdle for most people when it comes to getting the Social Security Disability benefits they need. However, there are also other criteria you have to meet to qualify for these programs as well. They vary based on the program, but include:
Social Security Disability Insurance
SSDI offers benefits to workers who can no longer participate in the workforce. To this end, this program requires you have a minimum number of work credits to qualify. Because this number varies based on age, you will likely qualify as long as you have not taken significant time away from the workforce during the last decade. While SSDI is not an income-based program, there is a maximum earned income limit, known as the substantial gainful activity limit. The Social Security Administration only considers earned income from a job for this total, meaning you can also earn income from investments and still qualify for these benefits.
Supplemental Security Income
SSI pays out to help individuals and families who have an extremely low income. This need-based program has strict limits on how much income you can make and still qualify. It is important to note that almost all income counts toward the limit for SSI, so it can be very hard to qualify for this program. For 2017, you must:
- Make less than $735 per person or $1,103 per couple; and
- Have less than $2,000 in qualifying assets
When we discuss your claim, we can help you understand your qualifications. We will also review your application before we file, ensuring we address any problems that might lead to a technical denial of your application for benefits.
What If the Social Security Administration Denied My Application for Benefits?
If the Social Security Administration denies your SSDI or SSI benefits, you need to give us a call as soon as possible. We have a limited time to take action and help you begin the appeals process. It is not unusual to have to take this step in the application process, but it is important that we meet all necessary deadlines.
Early in the appeals process, we will have the opportunity to present your case to a judge during an administrative law hearing. If the judge rules in your favor and overturns your denial, you will receive Social Security Disability benefits as well as back pay to cover the months between your application and your approval.
If necessary, we can also continue the appeals process, fighting for the benefits you deserve based on your work history, qualifying impairments, and other facts of your case.
How Can I Discuss My Claim with a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Oakdale, Long Island?
The Social Security Disability lawyers at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. understand how difficult it can be to get disability benefits. Call us today at 631-600-0000 to schedule your free consultation today.