When you have become disabled through an accident, or you have developed a medical condition that affects your ability to work, the list of questions seems to mount as quickly as the unpaid bills. For those who qualify, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers income benefits that can help cover medical and living expenses. The Social Security Disability (SSD) program, workers who have accumulated sufficient number of work credits can apply for benefits. In recent years, an aging population and economic factors have resulted a dramatic increase in the amount of applications for SSD. Because of this increase, it’s essential that you learn as much as you can about the Social Security Disability program and the application process to prevent delays and denial.
The Social Security Administration considers disability being unable to perform your previous occupation and an inability to adjust your skills to other work that may be easier for you. Your medical condition must have lasted, or be expected to last longer than a year, and you must meet financial requirements for income. Each state has an agency whose examiners review your application and determine your eligibility for benefits. You should know that eligibility for other benefit programs, including workers’ compensation or certain federal and state aid programs can reduce your SSD benefits; payments that equal more than 80% of your expected SSD benefit puts your money at risk. To prepare your application, you will need to produce physician’s treatment notes, laboratory results, mental health records, and financial documents that establish your income. You must be able to prove that you have earned 40 credits with the SSA, and that 20 of your credit were earned in the ten years immediately prior to your disability to meet passing criteria for the “recent work test.” Additionally, you must be able to document that you have worked a sufficient number of years for the credits you have earned to meet passing criteria for the “duration of work test.” Proving your case based on these and many more requirements can be lengthy, involved and stressful.
If you or someone you love has become disabled and you feel overwhelmed by the SSD application process, or your application has been denied and you need to file an appeal—there is help. At Atkinson Petruska Kozma Hart & Couture, our knowledgeable and caring attorneys have the experience and skills to review and present your best possible Social Security Disability case. Gary Kozma is an expert in Social Security Disability and has helped clients with a wide range of disabilities receive benefits and peace of mind. Involving a skillful attorney in the SSD application process as early as possible takes the guess work out of qualifying for benefits. Call us today at 1.877.732.2491 or fill out the free consultation form in the sidebar for a free case review and get the answers you need.