Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is a program to support workers in Sandy Springs and elsewhere who are unable to continue working due to a disabling illness or injury. Payments through this program can provide a lifeline for those suffering from a physical or mental disability. However, workers applying for SSDI benefits often have their claims denied.
Because the process of applying for SSDI benefits and proving eligibility is so complex and because denials are common, applicants frequently find it advantageous to seek help from a local Social Security disability attorney. If you are considering filing for disability benefits, consider also working with an experienced Sandy Springs SSDI lawyer to successfully navigate the process and ensure that all requirements are properly fulfilled.
As with Social Security retirement benefits, SSDI benefits are designed to assist workers who have economically supported the Social Security system through either employee payroll deductions or payments made through self-employment taxes.
In most cases, a worker needs about 10 years of work to qualify for SSDI benefits, depending on the amount earned. Moreover, five of those years must fall within the 10 years leading up to the disability. Exceptions can be made for younger workers who become disabled.
In addition to the work requirements, there are numerous disability requirements that must be satisfied before a worker can qualify for SSDI benefits. The degree of disability must be such that the applying worker is unable to perform any type of work. Suffering from a disability that makes it impossible to perform a prior occupation is not adequate—the worker must be unable to qualify for any type of employment whatsoever.
In addition, the disability must be traceable to a long-term medical condition, one which doctors expect to continue to last at least one year or lead to the applicant’s death before a year passes. Furthermore, the disability must be established by qualified evidence and diagnosed through accepted medical practices.
Although the SSDI program is part of the national Social Security scheme administered by the Social Security Administration, the determination of a worker’s eligibility for SSDI is made at the state level by an agency under contract with the federal government. For applicants in Sandy Springs, that agency is the Georgia Disability Adjudication Services (DAS) headquartered in Stone Mountain.
SSDI applicants file claims at SSA field offices which are forwarded to the DAS. Adjudicators at the DAS then examine the applicant’s stated reasons for their inability to work, as well as their submitted record of medical treatment. Using SSA criteria, the adjudicator determines what medical evidence is needed before a medical consultant and other team members assess whether the applicant meets the requirements for establishing a total disability.
If DAS denies an SSDI claim, the applicant may appeal through the reconsideration process or by requesting a hearing with an administrative law judge through the SSA Office of Hearing Operations, formerly known as the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. A seasoned SSDI lawyer in Sandy Springs can help facilitate this process in pursuit of benefits which were previously not granted.
The process of applying for and appealing decisions involving SSDI benefits is often complex. Moreover, it is important when applying to ensure that the appropriate evidence involving medical findings and employment history is properly presented, so that your case is as strong as possible.
The government entities judging your SSDI application—and arguing against you in any SSDI appeal—would be represented by experienced attorneys, so it is advisable to make use of an equally experienced disability advocate to ensure your arguments are given their due. For these reasons and more, it may be wise for you to work with a Sandy Springs SSDI lawyer who could use their knowledge and experience to help you reach your desired outcome.
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