For thousands of Americans, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are all that stand between average quality of life and poverty. SSD provides supplemental income to U.S. citizens with disabilities. Disabled citizens, whose health complications mean they can no longer make a living wage on their own, rely on SSD to provide for them and their families. Sadly, the Social Security Administration (SSA) often denies legitimate SSD claims. If you need help applying for benefits or appealing the SSA’s decision, HawkLaw is here to help.
Benefits Available Through SSD
Two types of benefits are available that people with disabilities may be eligible to receive: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI pays benefits to you and certain family members if you’ve worked and paid Social Security taxes long enough for SSD to cover you. SSI delivers disability benefits based on a person’s financial need. You may apply for either program but should choose the one that best fits your situation.
The SSA will calculate your benefit amount based on the amount you earned prior to your disability. Using your average monthly earnings and primary insurance amount, the SSA will give you an appropriate amount. It’s difficult to calculate benefits on your own, as the formula is quite complicated and involves cost of living adjustments and disability back pay.
How to File for Social Security Disability
Before you try to apply for SSD, find out if you qualify for this type of benefit. SSD only covers citizens who are unable to work due to medical conditions they expect to last more than 12 months or result in death. The SSD federal insurance program must insure the citizen, and the citizen must meet the requirements of what the SSA deems “disabled.” The criteria for eligibility is lengthy and includes:
The individual must have a medical, psychological, or psychiatric impairment that makes it impossible to complete substantial gainful activity.
The impairment must have prevented, or will likely prevent, gainful activity for at least 12 months.
The individual must be unable to earn above a minimum amount. The exact amount changes but is currently at about $1,090 per month.
The individual must have medical records with evidence of his/her impairment, including how it prevents gainful activity.
If you meet the criteria for what the SSA deems impairment, continue the application process. If you’re at least 18 years old, are not currently receiving benefits on your Social Security record, and the SSA has not denied your disability benefits in the past 60 days, you’re eligible to complete your application online. You can find the application form on the SSA’s official website.
Consider hiring a South Carolina Social Security disability lawyer to help you fill out this form, as it’s important to do everything correctly. Improperly filling out the form can result in an application denial, followed by a lengthy appeals process.
When to Call an Attorney
The application process can take up to five months – longer if you have to appeal a denial. A disabled citizen may not be able to afford simple costs of living while he or she waits for SSD. The immense amount of paperwork and documentation a successful SSD benefits application requires makes hiring an attorney in every applicant’s best interest.
If the SSA does deny your claim, our licensed South Carolina Social Security disability lawyers can advocate for you at your hearing and make firm legal arguments on your behalf. We’ll help you present a persuasive case to your appeals judge, using medical documentation of your injuries and key witness testimony if necessary. Call 888-HAWKLAW to set up your free consultation* today.
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