Workers in Alpharetta who become disabled and are unable to continue employment may qualify to receive benefits from the federal government under the Social Security Disability Insurance program, often referred to by the acronym SSDI.
While these benefits can make it possible for a disabled worker to maintain a home, pay utility bills, and put food on the table, the process of proving your eligibility to receive SSDI benefits is complex, and applicants frequently find their claims denied.
For those reasons, Social Security disability applicants often choose to work with an experienced Alpharetta SSDI lawyer who can help ensure that all relevant requirements are met and all disabilities are described with the correct terminology, and who can advocate on your behalf if appeals become necessary. Call today to see how a dedicated Social Security attorney can help in your case.
Processing Federal SSDI Claims
The Social Security Disability Insurance program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) near Washington, D.C. However, claims for SSDI benefits are actually processed — and an applicant’s eligibility is evaluated — in the applicant’s home state. Applications filed by local residents are processed by the Georgia Disability Adjudication Services (DAS) just over the county line in Stone Mountain.
Although applications are evaluated at the state level, these evaluations are conducted according to federal guidelines, and applications are initiated at SSA field offices or on the SSA website. At this point in the process, the federal government forwards applications to the DAS so that adjudicators can review each applicant’s medical records and statements describing the reasons they are unable to perform any type of work.
The adjudicator may decide that more medical evidence is needed. If so, the adjudicator and a Georgia state medical consultant would work together to determine whether the application satisfies the provisions of the Social Security laws. Their decision would be forwarded to the SSA, who would then notify the applicant.
What if a Claim is Denied?
If an SSDI claim is denied, there are four levels of appeal:
Because procedural rules applicable to appeals must be followed, it is often wise for applicants to seek counsel from an experienced Alpharetta SSDI representative before appealing a denial.
How to Qualify for SSDI Benefits
Because SSDI benefits are based on a form of employment insurance, disabled workers must have earned enough work credits to qualify. Specifically, they must have been employed in an eligible position for ten years.
In addition, five of those years must be recent, meaning they must have occurred within ten years of the onset of the disability. The number of years required is reduced for workers who become disabled at a young age.
Besides these work requirements, an applicant must fulfill certain disability requirements as well. SSDI benefits are only payable to workers who are found to be completely disabled—either mentally or physically—and not able to work at any type of paying employment.
Furthermore, the disability must be expected to last at least one year or to result in death. Evidence of the disability must show that the condition was diagnosed through accepted medical practices.
How an Alpharetta SSDI Attorney Could Help
Where there are no “magic words” to make an application for SSDI automatically successful, experienced Social Security attorneys know that sometimes the right phrasing can make a tremendous difference in how an application is perceived by the team undertaking evaluations or reviewing appeals.
A knowledgeable Alpharetta SSDI lawyer could not only help ensure that an application contains proper documentation and is phrased in a manner most likely to lead to a positive outcome, but also make sure that correct procedure is followed during any subsequent appeals.
A skilled disability representative could provide advice and guidance throughout the process and serve as an advocate to speak on your behalf. For more information about how a disability attorney could assist you, call today for a case evaluation.