If you have a disabling medical condition that restricts or prevents your ability to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Servicing hundreds of clients throughout the Central Gulf Coast region of Florida, The Golden Law Group has extensive experience with helping clients throughout the application and appeal process. Our Tampa Social Security disability attorney can help you obtain the benefits you deserve.
An Overview of Social Security Disability (SSD)
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) offers two programs that provide benefits to disabled applicants:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): To qualify, you must have a certain number of work credits. The SSA determines your benefits on your average income on which you paid social security taxes over a certain period of years.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Qualification and continued benefits for SSI depends on your financial need rather than your work history — you must have and maintain a limited income or resource.
A knowledgeable Tampa Social Security disability attorney can examine your qualifications to determine which program is right for you.
To qualify for SSD benefits, you must meet several non-medical criteria, such as:
- Employment (SSDI) or financial need (SSI)
You must also meet the medical requirement. To be considered “disabled” as defined by SSA,
- You must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment;
- That is expected to result in death or last for at least 12 consecutive months; and,
- Must keep you from engaging in any “substantial gainful activity” (SGA)
What Is a Medically Determinable Impairment?
You impairment is considered “medically determinable” if your condition is supported by objective medical evidence, such as clinical examinations, test results, and your doctor’s diagnosis and prognsis. If your medical evidence relies heavily or solely on your subjective complaints, your SSD claim will most likely be denied.
Your Tampa Social Security disability attorney can review your medical records to determine whether you have strong medical evidence to support your claim, including if you are receiving treatment from the appropriate providers and specialists.
The SSA also recognizes conditions as disabling impairments, outlined in its Compassionate Allowances List (CAL) and the Listing of Impairments.
Compassionate Allowances List
Impairments found on the Compassionate Allowances Conditions are medical conditions the SSA recognized as so severe that a simple diagnosis of the condition sufficiently qualifies you for benefits. In most cancer cases, however, your medical evidence must show that your cancer has progressed or metastasized for it to be considered disabling.
List of Impairments
Conditions in the List of Impairments are less severe, requiring you to meet additional criterion specified in the listing. Examples include:
- Respiratory disorders
- Mental disorders
- Neurological disorders
- Conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, such as back pain
If at first glance it does not appear your condition is disabling, a Tampa Social Security disability attorney can examine your medical records and develop a persuasive argument that:
- Aside from the listed impairment, you also have other medical conditions related to the listed impairment that are of equal “medical value” as the criterion in the listing.
- You have a condition that is “medically equal” to a similar listing in the List of Impairments
- You have multiple conditions that, although individually would not be considered “disabling,” the combined effect is “medically equal” to the impairments in the listing.
What Is SGA?
SGA refers to your work activity. Although you can work full- or part-time, your total earnings cannot exceed SSA’s predetermined amount. For 2018, this amount is $1,180 for non-blind applicants, and $1,970 for blind applications. If you do exceed that amount, you are engaging in “substantial” work.
“Gainful activity” is work that is:
- Performed for profit or pay;
- Intended for profit even if you do not receive it; or,
- The type usually done for profit or pay.
A Tampa Social Security disability attorney can review your employment and earnings to determine whether you are engaging in SGA and are therefore ineligible for SSD benefits.
Filing a Disability Claim
When preparing your claim, it is important that you are organized and thorough. A Tampa Social Security disability attorney can help you review your medical records to ensure you are providing the SSA with your complete medical evidence. We can also help you critically think about your restrictions and limitations by asking you several focused questions regarding:
- Your good and bad days
- When you are symptomatic
- What happens when you experience symptoms
- Rating your pain
- How you treat your symptoms
- Whether the treatments were effective
- Whether you have negative side effects
- Hobbies and pastimes you now avoid
Contact a Tampa Social Security Disability Attorney
Unfortunately, SSD claims are frequently denied. It is therefore vital to provide the SSA with your comprehensive evidence supporting your claim or appeal. A Tampa Social Security disability attorney with The Golden Law Group who will provide you with personalized attention and aggressive legal representation. Call us at (813) 370-1759 for a free consultation.