Do you have a medical disability that leaves you unable to work? Certain medical diagnoses and conditions may allow you to apply for Social Security disability benefits. At The Golden Law Group our attorneys have extensive experience counseling clients on Social Security applications and appeals. We represent clients throughout the Central Gulf Coast region and the State of Florida. Our Bradenton Social Security disability attorney can help you evaluate your situation, as well as determine whether you are eligible to receive benefits.
Social Security Disability (SSD) Programs
The Social Security Administration provides qualified disabled applicants disability benefits under two separate programs:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): If you have an established work history and paid into Social Security, you may qualify for SSI based on earned work credits. Qualification is based on an evaluation of both your average income and Social Security taxes you paid over a time period.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI is for disabled individuals who do not qualify for SSI. They must demonstrate a significant financial need (little to no income) as well as minimal assets. The financial need must stay consistent to continue qualification.
Our experienced Bradenton Social Security disability attorney can advise you regarding whether you might qualify for either SSI or SSDI.
Other SSD Qualifications
In addition to the criteria listed above, the SSD requires compliance with several non-medical criteria, such as the following:
- Residence status
- Employment history for SSDI
- Financial need for SSI
- A qualification of “disabled.” The SSA defines “disabled” as:
- A “medically determinable” mental or physical impairment; and
- The identified impairment will be continuous for a minimum of 12 consecutive months, or result in death; and
- The applicant must routinely engage in “substantial gainful activity”(SGA)
What Are the Other SSD requirements?
A condition is “medically determinable” if it is supported by documented medical evidence, including examinations and concrete test results. Additionally, it must include a medical diagnosis and long-term prognosis. Without the proper medical diagnoses, for example a self-diagnosis, your SSD application will likely be denied.
Your Bradenton Social Security disability attorney can review both your documentation and medical history to help identify whether you have a medically determinable impairment.
SSD qualification also requires documentation of a disability impairment. Two lists, the Compassionate Allowances List (CAL) and the Listing of Impairments, help identify SSD qualified impairments.
Compassionate Allowances List
Conditions listed on the Compassionate Allowances Conditions automatically qualify for SSD when there is an official documented medical diagnosis of the same. Additionally, the other SSD criteria must be met. Cancer diagnoses require further evidence that the cancer has created a disabling condition.
Listing of Impairments
If your condition is listed on the List of Impairments, you must meet additional criteria for SSD qualification. Examples include the following:
- Mental disorders
- Cardiovascular impairments
- Digestive system disorders
If your condition is not on these lists, then your Bradenton Social Security disability attorney can examine your medical records and develop a persuasive argument that:
- Your medical situation, in the totality, has equal “medical value” as a listed Impairment; or
- Your medical condition is “medically equal” to an Impairment.
Understanding SGA requirement
SSD also requires a recipient to maintain SGA, which requires a defined level of work activity. “Gainful activity” includes work that is:
- Performed for pay; or
- Intended for monetary gain, whether you actually receive such pay is irrelevant; or
- An activity or work that is usually done for pay
It is important to note SGA has earning caps that can affect your SSD qualification. In 2018, the SGA total earnings cap is $1,180 for non-blind applicants and $1,970 for blind applications. You meet the SGA requirement if you do not exceed these thresholds.
A Bradenton Social Security disability attorney can review your work activity in order to determine how the the SGA requirement affects your SSD qualification.
Preparation to File a Disability Claim
You might be surprised to realize that many SSD applications are initially denied. The success of your disability claim is dependent on how complete your application is. A Bradenton Social Security disability attorney can inspect your medical records and then provide feedback regarding the completeness of your application. We can further assist in helping you think about your restrictions and limitations by preparing and analyzing the answers to several questions and statements, such as:
- What are your good days and bad days like?
- When are symptoms present?
- Describe what you feel when you have symptoms.
- When you have symptoms, what is your pain level?
- Describe your treatment plan.
- Are the treatments effective?
- Does your condition or treatment have side effects?
- Does your condition limit your hobbies or interests?
Contact a Bradenton Social Security Disability Attorney
As noted above, the Social Security Administration denies many applications. You can, however, improve your chances of having your application approved by ensuring it completely and accurately documents your claim or appeal. A Bradenton Social Security disability attorney at The Golden Law Group can help you with either your application or appeal review. Contact us today at (813) 370-1759.