Dealing with a physical or emotional disability can make your daily life much more difficult. In many cases, disability victims can no longer earn a living and will continue to struggle financially. If this is the case, you may be exploring your options so you can get the financial support you need to provide for yourself and your family.
Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may make it more difficult than necessary to get your claim for Social Security disability benefits approved. A South Carolina SSI & Social Security disability lawyer at our firm will scrutinize the details of your application and be by your side every step of the way as you appeal your denied claim.
Fortunately, when you have an experienced Orangeburg Social Security disability lawyer at Shelly Leeke Law Firm advocating for you, you can get your application approved more quickly so you can get back to your life. Contact our office for a free consultation today to find out more about the stages of the Social Security disability appeals process and how long it might be before your case is resolved.
How Social Security Disability Benefits Work in Orangeburg
There are several types of Social Security disability (SSD) benefits that may be available after becoming disabled in Orangeburg. The Social Security Administration is responsible for overseeing the SSD program. This includes Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are generally available to anyone who is suffering from a severe disability, including blindness, is age 65 or older, and is struggling financially. You must have limited resources and income to be eligible for SSI benefits. You must also be considered a United States citizen to be eligible.
The maximum amount of income you can earn each month to qualify for SSI benefits is $2,000 for a child or individual and $3,000 for a couple. For the purposes of SSI benefits, income could be considered money received from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, worker’s compensation, SSDI, unemployment, wages, money borrowed from or gifted by relatives and friends, and free shelter or food.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are different from SSI benefits. To be eligible for SSDI, you must have paid into the program. When you earn a paycheck, a portion of your salary and wages gets taken out and put into the SSDI program.
Then, if you become disabled or otherwise unable to work, you can apply for access to these insured benefits. To qualify, you must have a disability and work a job covered by Social Security. The SSA keeps a list of qualifying medical conditions, but you may still be eligible for SSDI even if you have a disability that is not included on this list.
Understanding Work Credits
You must be out of work for at least one year to qualify for disability benefits. There is a five-month waiting period before you can begin receiving benefits after your application has been approved. You can generally collect SSDI benefits until you can return to work, or your benefits must be converted to permanent disability benefits.
You must also have earned the minimum number of work credits. Workers can earn up to four credits each year, and you must have earned at least 20 work credits over the last ten years to be eligible unless you are a younger worker. In 2023, you can earn one credit for every $1,640 in self-employment income or wages. This means once you have earned a minimum of $6,560, you have earned your four work credits for that year.
Why Social Security Disability Claims Are Denied
It is not unusual for SSI and SSDI applicants to face denials. In fact, the SSA denies approximately 70% of all applications they receive each year. Often, this is because claimants do not meet the eligibility requirements.
However, the SSA will also deny applications with mistakes, incorrect information, or those that lack sufficient supporting evidence or medical documentation. Usually, by providing SSA representatives with the information they need or making adjustments to your initial application, you can get your denial overturned.
In some cases, it may be necessary to connect with a Social Security disability attorney in Orangeburg, SC, who can help you navigate a formal appeal.
How to Handle an Orangeburg Social Security Disability Denial
There are several stages to the SSI and SSDI appeals processes. You may not need to go through each step to get your denial overturned.
First, you can request a reconsideration. Here, you are asking another SSA representative who did not have an initial stake in your application to review your claim.
Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge
Suppose you are granted a reconsideration request, and the new SSA representative upholds the initial denial. In that case, it may be time to move forward with a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Appeals Council Review
If you are granted a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge who does not return a decision in your favor, you can request an Appeals Council Review of your case. Most SSI and SSDI appeals are resolved at this stage.
Federal District Court Hearing
Suppose your reconsideration request, hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, and Appeals Council Review did not return a verdict in your favor. In that case, the last option is to file a Federal District Court action to get your application approved.
Connect with a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Orangeburg, SC, at Shelly Leeke Law Firm Today
When you are dealing with a significant disability that makes it impossible for you to support yourself and your family, you should be able to access Social Security disability benefits so you can stay afloat. Get help getting your application approved or your denial overturned when you reach out to a dedicated Orangeburg Social Security disability attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm.
Our team can guide you through the appeals and application processes so you can increase your chances of getting your Social Security disability claim approved as soon as possible. Get started on your case today by calling our office or completing our online contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.