Employees in Buckhead have money taken out of their paychecks every pay period for FICA taxes. While a portion of this deduction goes to support Social Security retirement benefits, some of it also supports the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.
SSDI provides long term disability insurance to workers who become unable to continue employment due to a disabling illness or condition. Demonstrating that you qualify for SSDI can be complicated, so it may be advisable to work with an experienced Buckhead SSDI lawyer if you need to file an initial claim or if your application for benefits has been denied. Let our team of dedicated disability representatives help you.
Understanding the SSDI Program
The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages the SSDI program, and only those who pay the premiums are eligible to apply for benefits when they experience a disability. However, if a disabled employee does qualify to receive benefits, the SSA may also provide benefits to their family members.
The amount of benefits a disabled worker may receive depends on what percentage of their income goes to SSDI. A Buckhead SSDI attorney can help determine whether a disabled worker meets the eligibility requirements as well as the approximate amount of benefits available to them and their family.
What Documents Will I Need to File for SSDI?
Applying for SSDI benefits requires disabled individuals to provide extensive documentary evidence. Providing this evidence up front is important, as it can expedite the claims process and avoid unnecessary denials.
First and foremost, a person filing for SSDI must have a valid Social Security number. Providing a physical copy of the card is ideal, although an accurate Social Security number will suffice.
A claimant must also provide proof of their age. The types of SSDI benefits available will depend on the filer’s age, making some form of birth record necessary. Individuals who have previously applied for Social Security benefits and proved their age at that time can skip this step.
It is also necessary to provide proof of citizenship or immigration status with a birth certification, certificate of citizenship, passport, or similar document.
Next, an applicant must include proof of income which accounts for all types of income including payroll stubs and tax returns. Other crucial documents to prove eligibility for SSDI include medical records and work history documentation.
To be eligible for SSDI benefits, a worker must acquire a certain number of work “credits” over several years. The amount of work credits an employee needs to qualify for SSDI varies depending on their age at the time of the disability.
For example, a worker who suffers a disability at the age of 58 would need 36 work credits to qualify, which is approximately nine years of full-time employment. Meanwhile, an employee who becomes disabled at age 27 would need only 12 work credits, or three years of employment, to be eligible for benefits from the SSA.
Furthermore, employees who have not worked much in the years preceding their disability may not qualify for benefits. The SSA imposes recency requirements that make it imperative for an eligible employee to have worked within a relevant period, which is also determined by their age at the onset of disability.
For instance, if a worker needs 40 credits to qualify for benefits, at least 20 of those credits – or five years of work – must have been earned in the past ten years. The recency requirement is designed to deter those who want to avoid working from taking advantage of SSDI.
The most challenging aspect of applying for SSDI benefits is usually demonstrating that an applicant meets the disability requirements. Unlike workers’ compensation programs, SSDI only pays benefits to employees who suffer long-term, total disabilities.
The SSA will request detailed evidence of a worker’s condition and whether it makes them unable to perform employment duties. Moreover, a qualifying condition must be expected to last for at least a year or to result in death.
Often, the SSA will deny a worker’s application for lack of adequate evidence to demonstrate their eligibility. Ideally, evidence should be presented at the time of an initial application, but a claimant may submit additional documentation during an appeal. A skilled SSDI hearings claim advocate in Buckhead who is familiar with agency requirements could help an applicant present sufficient evidence to support their claim for benefits.
Who Decides whether Disability Requirements Are Satisfied?
All decisions regarding disability requirements are made by SSA employees known as Disability Examiners. These examiners not only consider the initial disability claims, but all reconsideration filings as well. While Disability Examiners handle the first two stages of the SSDI claims process, a request for reconsideration will always be taken up by a different examiner than the one who made the initial decision.
Are Certain Conditions Automatically Considered Disabilities?
The SSA automatically considers certain conditions as disabilities, known as compassionate allowances. By establishing evidence of an official diagnosis for a qualifying condition, an applicant will automatically satisfy the SSA’s disability requirements for SSDI. Some examples of compassionate allowances include Lou Gehrig’s Disease, acute leukemia, and certain cancers.
Consult an SSDI Attorney Today
The Social Security Administration has developed a complex set of standards for evaluating the sizeable quantity of applications they receive. Failure to fulfill one technical requirement could result in a denial of benefits, even if an applicant’s condition qualifies.
For assistance with determining your eligibility for SSDI or if you have been denied benefits, consult a seasoned Social Security disability law firm in Buckhead. Let an accomplished Buckhead SSDI lawyer help you.