Individuals in Alpharetta who suffer from disabilities and are unable to work may qualify for income and medical benefits administered by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). However, the process for obtaining benefits can be complex and often involves reconsiderations and appeals.
Even the first stages of preparation to file an initial application can be confusing, particularly for those unfamiliar with basic terms the SSA uses when referring to disability benefits. For more information or to learn how these key Alpharetta Social Security disability benefits terms apply to cases, it may be helpful to consult a Social Security attorney who is experienced in handling Social Security disability claims.
Two Types of Disability Benefits
The SSA oversees two benefit programs for those suffering from disabilities that render them unable to obtain gainful employment. While both programs require applicants to demonstrate a certain level of medical and functional impairment, their other eligibility requirements substantially differ.
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program supports employees who have worked and paid into the Social Security system. To qualify, an employee must have earned a certain number of work credits, and many of those must have been earned in recent years. The number of working years needed may vary depending on the age at which the employee suffers the disability.
Although the SSA administers the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, worker contributions do not fund it like they do SSDI. Instead, SSI is more of a general welfare program designed to help those with few assets. Applicants do not need to demonstrate work qualifications, only financial need sufficient to qualify. Although the threshold is low, the relevant calculations exclude certain assets.
Eligibility for disability benefits depends on if the applicant meets the SSA’s definition of “disability.” The agency uses a five-step process to determine whether an applicant’s level of disability qualifies for benefits. Examiners will consider whether:
- An applicant is working
- The applicant’s condition is “severe” enough to qualify as such by the agency’s definition of the term
- The condition is listed among the agency’s schedule of medical conditions
- The applicant’s medical impairment prevents the performance of work done in the past
- The applicant can perform any other type of work
Consideration of these factors may vary depending on the applicant. For instance, having employment would not necessarily disqualify their eligibility unless their earnings average a certain amount per month.
In determining whether an applicant’s condition is “severe,” the agency holds that a condition must make it difficult for an applicant to perform basic tasks such as sitting, standing, walking, lifting and remembering. In addition, the limitation must last for at least one year.
Call a Lawyer for More Information about Terms Related to Alpharetta SSA Disability Benefits
Applicants seeking more information about disability benefits terms or wishing to apply for benefits may start online, over the phone, or in person at a local Social Security office. Applicants have the option of scheduling an interview in advance, but you may be able to obtain clarification of Alpharetta Social Security disability benefits terms without an appointment.
It is often helpful to have an experienced legal counselor or another professional review your documentation to ensure that you are using relevant terms correctly and presenting evidence of disability and other eligibility requirements as persuasively as possible. For information about or assistance with filing a claim for benefits or appealing a denial, call our firm to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced team members.