Having knowledge about social security disability options can be very beneficial for someone who needs it or is currently applying for it. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure to read the information on this page so that you have a better understanding before moving on with the process.
The Social Security Disability system is designed to provide financial support to disabled individuals who have worked and paid into the social security system through their participation in FICA taxes. In order to be entitled to benefits, an individual must have worked and paid FICA taxes for a total of five out of the last ten years, with at least one year’s worth of coverage in the three years prior to becoming disabled. Additionally, there is a statutory time limit on how long an individual may receive disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates this time period by dividing your age into the number 120 and then adding 2 months to that number; therefore, individuals who are 50 years old would be entitled to receive benefits for 10.5 years.
The SSA has established a series of steps in order to determine eligibility and apply for disability benefits. These steps include:
In order to be eligible for benefits under Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI), you must have worked long enough to have paid FICA taxes and accumulated “work credits”. Most people need 40 work credits in order to qualify for SSDI however there are exceptions, so it is important that you speak with a qualified attorney before assuming you are not eligible. There are also special rules that apply if you receive workers’ compensation or private disability benefits.
Applying for insurance benefits can be complicated and difficult even with the assistance of an experienced disability attorney. For example, the SSA will determine if you are “disabled” by using a number of guidelines that include your work history, age, education, and whether you can do certain types of work.
An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help explain these guidelines so you better understand how they apply to your situation. Furthermore, experienced SSDI attorneys like at the Laporte Law Firm know what kind of evidence is needed in order to prove your claim at each stage of the appeal process. If one application is denied, but you want to continue fighting for benefits, an attorney can prepare another application or set up an appeal hearing before an administrative law judge who specializes in disability cases. An experienced SSDI attorney can also help you understand the judge’s decision and whether you should file a new application, request an appeal hearing, or file another claim if your initial claim was denied.
If you apply for Social Security Disability and do not qualify for benefits, the SSA will only state that your claim was “denied.” If your appeal is also denied, however, the Appeals Council will send a letter explaining why. The most common reasons include:
The SSA uses what they call a “best interests” rule when deciding how to handle certain claims for disability benefits. For example, if a person files a claim for benefits but then fails to pursue that claim because they cannot afford a lawyer or do not know how, the SSA will usually close that case. It is very important that you continue pursuing your case despite any obstacles in order to avoid having it closed by the SSA. If this happens, however, an attorney can help you reopen your claim.
It is important that all who are applying for disability benefits understand the process in order not to complicate their case. An experienced lawyer can advise and guide their clients through the difficult process in order to ensure that they receive the benefits to which they are legally entitled.