A physical or mental disability not only disrupts your health and everyday life, but it can also affect your ability to earn income and provide for yourself and your household. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides financial relief to eligible applicants through Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. The application process, however, is usually stressful, time-consuming, and frustrating, as are most dealings with government offices.
If you are disabled and need to apply for SSD benefits, or if you have already applied and been denied, reach out to Shelly Leeke Law Firm and speak to an expert, compassionate Walterboro Social Security disability lawyer right away. Your lawyer will relieve your stress by handling your application and increasing your chances for SSD approval.
Social Security Disability Benefits Explained
The Social Security Administration is a United States federal office. Along with assigning Social Security numbers, the SSA also administers funds through its retirement program and survivors and disability insurance programs.
Social Security Disability benefits provide financial support to people who are or have become significantly disabled and are unable to earn income through “substantial gainful activity” (SGA).
Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI) is funds distributed to eligible seniors, blind, or disabled people.
Basic Eligibility Qualifications
To qualify for SSD benefits you must show:
- You are experiencing a physical or mental disability that has last or will last a minimum of one year, or will cause death.
- Your condition prevents you from SGA and earning a sustainable income.
- You have prior employment experiences that have paid into the SSA.
- You have earned enough “work credits” to apply for SSD
The SSA has created two lists recognizing illnesses or conditions that potentially meet their requirements for a disability. The “Part A” list applies to those 18 years or older. However, some of the Part A conditions also apply to younger people. The “Part B” list includes qualifying disabilities for those under 18.
Examples of the conditions listed include but are not limited to cancer, heart conditions, autoimmune diseases, bipolar disorder, depression, autism spectrum disorder, and spinal cord injuries.
Works credits are “the ‘building blocks’ Social Security uses to find out whether you have worked long enough to qualify for each type of Social Security benefit.” Every year, the amount required to earn a work credit changes. For 2022, workers earned one credit for every $1,510 of income. Workers can earn up to four credits per year.
To qualify for SSD benefits, you need to have acquired a certain number of credits. The amount is based on the age when your disability started. Typically, the requirement is 40 credits, and 20 of them need to have been earned in the ten years prior to the onset of your disability.
Work Credit Exceptions
The SSA recognizes some may applicants may have circumstances preventing them from meeting the work-credit requirement and provide exceptions. The exceptions include:
- Children under the age of 21
- Those who became disabled before 22 years of age
- Disabled, widowed spouses whose deceased spouse worked and paid into the SSA
Determining eligibility and navigating exceptions is a high-stakes endeavor. It is important to represent yourself accurately while also ensuring you do not miss opportunities to collect the benefits you need. An experienced Social Security disability lawyer in Walterboro has the knowledge and experience to handle this process for you successfully.
How the Application Process Works
You can fill out an application for SSD online or at your local SSD office. After submission, you will need to submit a medical release form, giving the SSA approval to contact your doctors or other medical personnel.
If you create a “my Social Security” account, a recommended step, you can review the status of your application as you await a decision. You can call the SSA for updates as well, but will likely experience long wait times.
A South Carolina Division of Disability Determinations analyst reviews your case and decides if your condition meets the SSA standards for “disability.” During this analysis, you may be required to supply additional information. When the review is complete, you will receive a letter informing you of your application’s approval or denial.
Approval or Denial
If your application is approved, you will have to wait until you have been disabled for five full months before receiving your first payment. For those with conditions included in the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance Process, payments will start immediately.
If you have already applied for benefits and been denied, you can appeal the decision. For the best outcome, have a Social Security disability attorney in Walterboro mount the appeal.
How a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Waterboro Can Help
Your financial security depends on your SSD benefits approval. Submitting an accurate, thorough application is of utmost importance. The best approach is to have a Walterboro Social Security disability attorney from Shelly Leeke Law Firm handle the application for you.
The application requires documentation establishing your identity and citizenship and providing information about marriages, divorces, spouses, and children. You will need to give a thorough work history, including contact information for previous employers, and extensive medical information. You will need to give the SSA access to your medical records, including test results, treatments, prognosis, and your doctors’ and treatment facilities’ contact information.
You will also need to provide contact information for someone helping you with the application, and a social security disability attorney in Walterboro is your best option. Your lawyer will help you gather and organize all required documentation, ensuring you submit a robust, detailed, and accurate application.
Contact Shelly Leeke to Secure Your Social Security Disability Benefits
Whether you are a first-time SSD applicant or appealing a benefits denial, you need an expert fighting for you. Dealing with government agencies is difficult, even when those agencies are supposed to help you, but with a Walterboro Social Security disability lawyer from Shelly Leeke managing your case, you are free from those dealings. With experience, empathy, and skill, your attorney will guide your case from start to finish, complying with government requirements and dealing with bureaucratic obstacles.
Contact us today for a free consultation.