Being unable to work due to a medical condition can be frustrating. Your medical disability may qualify you for Social Security disability benefits. At The Golden Law Group, we have extensive experience throughout Florida and the Central Gulf Coast region in assisting clients with both Social Security applications and appeals. Our Brandon Social Security disability attorney can educate you about the process and whether you might qualify.
Social Security Disability (SSD) Overview
Under the Social Security Administration, qualified disabled applicants may qualify for benefits under two programs:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This program is if you have prior work history that qualifies you based on work credits. The SSA will examine your benefits based on the average income and social security taxes you paid over a certain time period.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Under this program you must demonstrate a significant financial need (insufficient or virtually no income) as well as minimal assets. This standard must be maintained to continue to receive benefits.
Our experienced Brandon Social Security disability attorney can review your situation, as well as assist in determining your qualifications for either program.
Non-Medical SSA Required Qualifications
In order to qualify for SSD benefits, there are several non-medical criteria that must also be met. These include the following:
- Employment of SSDI
- Finance need fro SSI
- “Disabled” as defined by the SSA including (1) a “medically determinable” mental or physical impairment; (2) Such impairment is expected to continue for at least 12 consecutive months, or result in death; and (3) you must regularly engage in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA).
Defining a Medically Determinable Impairment
In order to meet the criteria of “medically determinable” your condition needs to be supported by documented medical evidence, such as formal examinations, detailed test results, and a medical diagnosis and long-term prognosis. In the event your medical document primarily consists of your own medical analysis or complaints, your SSD application will likely fail.
Your Brandon Social Security disability attorney can assist in reviewing your medical history and records to determine if you have a medically determinable impairment that might qualify you for SSD.
Further, another qualification for SSD, is documentation of a disability impairment. These are outlined in the Compassionate Allowances List (CAL) and the Listing of Impairments.
Compassionate Allowances List
The SSA has compiled a list of impairments on the Compassionate Allowances Conditions where a diagnosis of the medical condition alone qualifies your for SSD benefits. However, most cancer diagnosis’ will require further evidence that the cancer has created a disability effect.
Listing of Impairments
When a condition is listed on the List of Impairments, it will require you to meet additional requirements specified in that listing to qualify for SSD. For example:
- Mental disorders
- Cardiovascular impairments
- Digestive system disorders
If your disabling condition does not appear on these lists, you may still qualify for SSD. A Brandon Social Security disability attorney can examine your medical records and develop a persuasive argument that:
- You have other medical conditions that have equal “medical value” as the required criterion for the Impairment.
- You have a medical condition that is “medically equal” to an Impairment on the list.
- Your multiple conditions, when combined, are “medically equal” to the an Impairment on the list.
Understanding SGA requirement
One of the medical criteria for SSA is that you maintain SGA. It references your work activity. “Gainful activity” is work that is:
- Performed for monetary gain, such as profit or pay
- Intended to receive profit, even if you receive none; or
- A type of activity usually done for profit or pay
SGA total earnings cannot exceed the SSA’s allowed cap. In 2018, that max amount is $1,180 for non-blind applicants, and $1,970 for blind applications. As long as you do exceed these caps, you met the SGA requirement.
A Brandon Social Security disability attorney can review your employment and earnings to determine your eligibility under the SGA requirement.
Preparation to File a Disability Claim
Part of the success of filing your disability claim is making sure your application is both organized and complete. A Brandon Social Security disability attorney can thoroughly review your medical records and supporting document you plan on providing the SSA. We can further assist in helping you categorize and document your restrictions and limitations by considering the answers to several questions, including:
- Describe your good days and bad days.
- When do you feel symptoms ?
- How do you feel when the symptoms are present?
- What is your pain level on a scale of 1-10?
- What is the treatment plan for your symptoms?
- Explain how the treatments are effective, or not.
- Do you have side effects from your condition? from treatment?
- How does your condition limit your hobbies or interests?
Contact a Brandon Social Security Disability Attorney
SSD applications have a high rate of denial. Your chances may improve, however, if you ensure that your application is complete and accurately documents your claim or appeal. A Brandon Social Security disability attorney at The Golden Law Group can assist in thoroughly assessing your application or appeal. Contact us today at (813) 370-1759 for a free consultation.