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Those Seeking Social Security Disability Benefits Face Hurdles

Social Security Disability Insurance Claims, Denied Benefits, SSD, Disability Benefits | Attorneys, Lawyers

Those Seeking Social Security Disability Benefits Face Hurdles

Those Seeking Social Security Disability Benefits Face Hurdles

About one in five Americans, or 57 million people, live with a disability, and about one in 10, or 38 million, have a severe disability, according to the U.S. Census. Only those with the most severe disabilities, about 14 million, can collect the support provided by Social Security disability benefits.

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is funded through payroll contributions by workers and employers. It provides benefits to those who a.) have made their full contribution through payroll taxes, and b.) become critically disabled prior to full retirement age.

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, provides support primarily to low-income children and seniors with severe disabilities.

This means that only about 40 percent of those who apply for it end up receiving the benefits because of the strict disability standard. Beneficiaries either have severe impairments and health conditions, or likely are critically ill.

The Benefits of Obtaining Third-Party Assistance

It is not enough to simply qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. You have to apply for it, and since doing so can be a difficult process, a disability attorney may increase your chances of being awarded benefits by helping you to accurately complete the multifaceted paperwork, ensuring various deadlines are met, and providing you with representation if a hearing is required.

With the filing process as critical – and complicated – as it is, it should come as no surprise that about 90% of Social Security Disability (SSD) applicants hire an experienced SSD lawyer to appeal their denied benefits claim, according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. Most SSD applicants—about 90 percent—have a disability representative for their appeal, according to the Social Security Administration.

Many people submitting an initial disability application for SSD might benefit from the assistance of a third-party disability representative, according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. Having a disability representative by your side earlier in the process significantly improves the chances of those with four major types of disabilities getting approved for SSD.

Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?

The Social Security Administration classifies a person as eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance if:

  • The person has a physical or mental condition preventing them from engaging in any "substantial gainful activity," or SGA, and the condition is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death;
  • The person is under the age of 65, and they have accumulated 20 social security credits in the past 10 years prior to the onset of their disability. (The typical rate is four credits per full or partial year; one additional credit is required for every year by which the worker's age exceeds 42.)

The work requirement is waived for applicants who can prove that they became disabled at or before the age of 22, as these individuals may be allowed to collect on their parent's or parents' work credits, with the parent(s) experiencing no loss of benefits.

Medical evidence is classified as signs, symptoms and laboratory findings; these are required to document the SSD claim. Symptoms, such as pain, are considered but must be reasonably expected to come from a medically determinable impairment that the claimant is diagnosed as having. The decision is based on a sequential evaluation of the medical evidence. The sequence for adults is:

  1. Is the claimant performing a substantial gainful activity?
  2. Is the claimant's impairment severe?
  3. Does the impairment meet or equal the severity of impairments in the Listing of Impairments?
  4. Is the claimant performing a substantial gainful activity?
  5. Is the claimant performing a substantial gainful activity?

Medical evidence that demonstrates the applicant's inability to work is required. Each individual state's Disability Determination Services (DDS) department or an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may also require a visit to a third-party physician for medical documentation. This is done to supplement evidence supplied by the treating source. If the Social Security Disability applicant does not meet an SSA medical listing for their condition, their residual functional capacity is considered, along with their age. Additionally, past relevant work and education are used in determining the applicant's ability to perform either their past work, or other work generally available in the national economy.

If you or a loved one is seeking to file an initial claim, or appeal a previous one, for Social Security Disability Insurance, you may benefit from our expert assistance. Please fill out our online form or call 1(800)-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to speak with one of our experienced lawyers today.

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