Social Security Disability Attorney Medford
Millions of Americans – and many people here in Medford – are currently living with a disability. For many of these disabled individuals, the idea of returning to work and earning an income to provide for themselves and their families is impossible. Their disability prevents them from working to earn a living.
For people in this situation, Social Security disability benefits may ease some of the financial strain that comes with being unable to return to the workforce. Unfortunately, getting vital disability benefits from Social Security is often challenging.
At Brooks Law, our Medford Social Security disability lawyers are here to help you seek the benefits that you deserve. Reach out to our law firm today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
Before you can apply for Social Security disability benefits, it’s important that you understand the differences between the two types of disability programs that are offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA): Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
The first, SSI, is designed for people who are aged, blind, or disabled and who are of limited income and assets (money and things you own). In fact, in order to qualify for this type of disability coverage, a person is not allowed to make over a certain amount of income, or have money and property over a certain value.
On the other hand, SSDI is designed for people who have earned Social Security disability benefits by paying into the Social Security system while working. In addition to meeting the SSA’s definition of “disabled,” an individual who is applying for SSDI benefits must have earned enough work credits. If a claimant does not have enough work credits, they cannot receive SSDI benefits.
Once you have determined which type of disability benefits you will be applying for, the next step is to gather all the documentation that is required by the SSA as part of your application. You’ll need to provide:
- Your Social Security number
- Proof of your age
- Details about your medical conditions
- Names and details of all medications and treatments you’ve been prescribed
- Information about where you worked prior to your disability and the type of work that you did
- Your most recent tax information
- Names of your doctors
- Information about your family members if you have family members who may qualify for benefits on your record
You can complete your application online or at your local Social Security office. Our attorneys can help you prepare and submit your application for benefits.
SSA’s Definition of Disability
In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, a person must have a condition that is considered “disabling” by the SSA. A disabling condition refers to a “medically-determinable physical or mental impairment” that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death, and which prevents you from engaging in any substantial gainful activity.
The SSA defines “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) as work that involves performing significant physical or mental activities and which is performed in exchange for pay or profit.
In other words, if your condition does not prevent you from working, then you are not considered disabled in the eyes of the SSA. Even if your condition prevents you from doing your old job, but doesn’t prevent you from engaging in other work, you will not be considered disabled, and will not be eligible for benefits.
Process for Appealing a Denied SSD Claim
After you file your claim for disability benefits, either online or at the Social Security office, your application will be reviewed by the SSA and you will receive notice in the mail stating one of these three:
- Your application has been approved.
- The SSA needs more information in order to process your claim.
- Your application has been denied.
If your application has been denied, the SSA must include information about why the claim has been denied.
If your claim has been denied, you may feel frustrated and discouraged, as well as at a loss as to what you should do next. While this can certainly be disheartening, it’s important that you realize that you can appeal the initial decision. Many valid applications are denied at first, but are later approved during the appeals process.
If you want to appeal, you must request the appeal within 60 days of receiving your notice of denial in the mail. If you wait longer than 60 days, your request for appeal will likely be denied, and you will need to start the application process again from scratch.
The easiest way to request an appeal is online. However, if you are unsure of how to do this, you can call the SSA or consult with your attorney about your options.
The first level of appeal is reconsideration. Essentially, this means that you are asking the SSA to reconsider its decision regarding your claim. You can submit new and additional evidence supporting your request for benefits at this time.
If reconsideration does not yield an approval, do not give up hope. The next step in the appeals process is requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You can bring witnesses to support your case, as well as submit new evidence. You will also get to tell the judge why you believe you should qualify for benefits.
Again, if this step in the process does not yield the intended results, you are not out of options. You can file an appeal with the Appeals Council, and also file a lawsuit in federal district court if necessary.
How Our Medford Disability Lawyers Can Help You
When you are disabled and unable to work, recovering the benefits that you need is extremely important. At Brooks Law, we understand that you need benefits, and that a delay in the process, or being denied benefits, can be stressful and frustrating.
When you work with our Medford disability lawyers, we can gather the evidence the SSA is looking for, ensure your application is filled out correctly and in full, and manage the appeals process on your behalf.
We work on a contingency-fee basis, and always offer free consultations. Reach us today to get started.