Millions of Americans live with disabilities that prevent them from earning a sustainable wage, ranging from vision loss and chronic illnesses to severe injuries from accidents. Social security disability insurance is one option to alleviate some of the financial burden of these conditions.
However, filing for social security benefits can be a daunting experience, given that the Social Security Administration (SSA) only approves about 30% of all initial applications yearly. With the help of a skilled social security disability attorney and the proper preparation, you can increase your chances of receiving the benefits you need when you need them.
What Is the Purpose of Social Security Disability?
Social security disability (SSD) is a government insurance program that allows workers to earn coverage by paying social security taxes on their income.
That means if you become disabled and unable to make a living, the SSA will pay monthly benefits to you and possibly your dependents. The purpose of the program is to replace some income lost from severe medical issues. People with temporary medical conditions or medical conditions not lasting for more than twelve (12) months can’t apply for benefits, nor can those with partial disability.
Despite the benefits of SSD, getting approved is complicated. In some cases, the entire process of applying, appealing denials, and finally receiving benefits and back pay can take years.
Who Can Apply for SSD?
To be eligible for social security disability benefits, you must have previous work experience in jobs covered by social security. You also need enough work experience to accommodate the work credits the administration uses to determine eligibility. As of 2021, you earn one credit for every $1,470 you make in wages or self-employment.
Additionally, you must have a condition that the SSA describes as a disability. The administration defines a disability as any condition that leaves you unable to perform your previous job or seek any other form of employment for at least one year.
5 Crucial Steps to Take Before Applying for SSD
Even if you meet the criteria for SSD, that does not guarantee that the SSA will immediately approve your application. The law is complex, and there are many reasons the administration may deny your claim despite the severity of your long-term or permanent disability.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of a denial and speed the process along. Before you consider applying for benefits:
- Save all documentation you receive about your medical condition in a well-organized folder.
- Request medical files from your physicians and specialists that support your diagnosis and explain your condition and its limitations.
- Create a distinct timeline from the onset of your condition or injury and its progression that you can present with dated documentation.
- Develop a detailed list of ways your disability prevents you from working, such as chronic pain, an inability to perform simple tasks, etc. Ideally, your medical records or professional statements should support these points.
- Hire a social security disability attorney to present your case to the SSA.
Why You Should Consult with a Social Security Disability Lawyer
The primary reason to hire a disability lawyer is that representation can significantly increase your chances of SSD approval. Legal professionals who practice social security disability law understand the nuances of the field and the complexities it often presents. Thanks to their expertise, disability lawyers can effectively present your case in a favorable light to the administration.
A skilled social security disability lawyer can:
- Advise you on the documentation you need to present your case.
- Offer advice on your disability’s “alleged onset date,” which determines when you became eligible for benefits and how far your back pay will go.
- Use the SSA’s “blue book” of listed impairments to argue that your condition meets their eligibility criteria.
- Help you focus on details that will best persuade the administration.
It is possible to apply for SSD without legal representation, but it takes a lot of work. A lawyer’s experience can be invaluable when navigating the social security system for the first time, especially when you are already dealing with the aftermath of your disability and the resulting financial situation.
Turn to DiBiaggio Law for Help with Your SSD Claim
Whether you are ready to apply for social security disability now or currently receive lower-than-expected benefits, an experienced social security disability attorney from our team at DiBiaggio Law can help.
We serve clients in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties and will work with you to pursue a fair settlement on a contingency fee basis. Our team has extensive experience working on SSD cases and will gladly provide you with a clearly defined plan for proceeding toward your goal. Contact our friendly team at DiBiaggio Law today. Dial (561) 529-9811 to request a consultation.
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