SSDI, which refers to Social Security Disability Insurance, is a program that provides benefits to disabled workers in Gwinnett County who are insured by the program. To be insured, workers must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a sufficient period of time, and some of that work must have been recent.
Those filing Gwinnett County SSDI claims must both demonstrate sufficient work history and provide evidence to prove that they meet the disability standards set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). A qualified Social Security disability attorney may be able to help with all these components of the disability claims process.
Determining Eligibility to File an SSDI Claim
To be eligible for SSDI, an employee must have worked in a position covered by the program and earned at least 40 work credits. For many employees, a credit is earned for every calendar quarter of work, so it takes most workers about 10 years to earn 40 credits. Workers who become disabled at a young age may be eligible with fewer than 40 credits.
At least half of those credits—equivalent to five years of full-time employment—must be earned with 10 years of the onset of the disability. So, employees with more than 10 years history of work experience may not be eligible if they have not worked much recently. A disabled worker who does not meet the employment requirements may still qualify for disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which is also administered by the SSA.
In addition to the work component of eligibility, the worker must satisfy disability qualifications to prove that they are totally disabled and not capable of holding gainful employment. An SSDI claim in Gwinnett County must show that the applicant suffers from a long-term medical condition that renders them unable to perform previous jobs and prevents them from learning a new job.
Filing an SSDI Claim
Applicants in Gwinnett County may file an SSDI application online or make an appointment for an application interview either over the phone or at the Gwinnett County SSA office in Norcross. Before filling out the application or starting the interview, the applicant should have all necessary information on hand, including medical records that demonstrate the disability.
When an SSDI Claim is Denied
It is very common for an initial claim for SSDI benefits in Gwinnett to be denied for lack of sufficient evidence or other reasons. A denial of benefits may be appealed four times by, in order of priority:
- Seeking an agency reconsideration, where staff review the original evidence plus any new evidence the applicant provides
- Requesting an administrative hearing where an administrative law judge reviews the evidence
- Seeking a review of the administrative hearing decision by the SSA Appeals Council
- Filing a civil lawsuit in federal district court
The first three appeals are undertaken within the SSA, but when a lawsuit is filed, the matter is governed by federal court procedure. The administrative hearing is the last occasion where new evidence may be introduced, so it is important to ensure that adequate information about the extent of the disability has been submitted by that point.
Getting Professional Assistance with SSDI Claims in Gwinnett County
The SSDI claims process can be confusing and frustrating, particularly when it comes to satisfying the SSA requirements to demonstrate total long-term disability. You may find it helpful to work with an experienced disability attorney from the start of the Gwinnett County SSDI claims process to ensure that the best possible evidence is produced and submitted to increase your chances of a successful outcome.