The Social Security Disability Act defines it as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death, or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two types of benefits to disabled Americans. Depending on your work history, how much income you earn per month and whether you have contributed to the Social Security system, you may be eligible for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI benefits are available to individuals who have spent their lives working and paying into the Social Security system. SSI is available to low-income individuals, those who have not paid into the Social Security system or those who have not earned enough money in their lifetimes to qualify for SSDI.
The qualification process, as well as the types and amount of benefits under these systems, vary.
At the Law Office of Kathleen L. Day, attorney Kathleen Day carefully evaluates each client’s work history, income level and disability to determine whether SSDI or SSI benefits are available. Based on this analysis, our firm helps clients prepare SSDI or SSI applications that give them the best chance of obtaining the benefits they need to pay for medical treatments, pay their bills and support their families.
A complex list of requirements must be met in order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. We help clients prove their disabilities.
Social Security benefits are only available to those whose disabilities prevent them from working. If you are still working, there is a limit on the amount of income you can earn without becoming ineligible for Social Security benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will closely evaluate the nature and extent of your injury. In order to qualify for benefits, the SSA must deem your impairment to be disabling, preventing or limiting your ability to work for up to one year.
The SSA has a list of prescribed conditions considered to be so severe as to be disabling. If your impairment is not included in this list of disabilities, or is not similar to a prescribed condition, you will not qualify for benefits.
Your work history, skill set and education level will also be considered by SSA when deciding whether to grant benefits. The SSA considers not only whether you will be able to return to your previous work, but whether you will be able to maintain any type of employment.
Do not wait even a day. Generally, it is better to apply soon than later. You can actually apply on the day you become disabled, as long as you expect to be disabled for 12 months or longer.
We guide our clients through the SSD system in the most efficient manner possible and avoid the common pitfalls experienced by many trying to navigate the system without legal representation, including:
- i. Applying for the wrong type of Social Security benefit
- ii. Incomplete Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) applications
- iii. Missed deadlines
- iv. Incomplete medical evidence that fails to show proof of impairment
In order to obtain your SSDI or SSI benefits, it may be necessary to appear at an administrative hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). These hearings are akin to mini courtroom trials, involving witness testimony, exhibits and expert evaluations. The SSA will have an attorney who will cross-examine you and your witnesses, downplay the severity of your disability and attack your credibility.
It is important to have an experienced lawyer who understands how these hearings work, knows how to effectively present your case to the ALJ and who can protect your interests during these hearings.