Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability Income may be available to you if you are insured by Social Security and have become disabled and are no longer able to do significant gainful activity. “Significant gainful activity” means not being able to earn more than $1,040 a month in 2013. That number is increased periodically by the Social Security Administration. The disability must have lasted or be expected to last at least 12 months. Social Security has rules that they apply to each applicant’s situation in order to determine if he/she is disabled for Social Security Disability purposes. In most cases, Social Security will examine your work history, education, age, and disabling conditions before making a decision.
First, you must determine whether you are insured for Social Security purposes. In order to be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Income, you must have earned enough “credits” from your work to be insured by Social Security. Social Security can tell you whether or not you are insured for Social Security purposes by reviewing your earnings history. Generally, if you have worked full-time for five out of the last 10 years, you are most likely “insured” for Social Security purposes. However, you do not necessarily have to work full-time. The best thing to do is to contact Social Security to ask if you are insured under their guidelines.
If you are insured by Social Security, the next step will be to determine whether or not you are medically disabled under Social Security guidelines. Generally, you must show that you cannot do any work (or very limited work) based on your age, education, and disabling conditions which limit you functionally. The disability must be due to a “severe impairment” that is supported by doctors. Just because you cannot do past work does not necessarily mean that you are disabled. Social Security will consider whether or not there is any other work that you would be able to do even if it means you may earn less money. Social Security will also consider how the disabling conditions affect you in your everyday life activities including such things as bathing, dressing, cleaning, shopping, etc.Applying for Social Security Disability
The best way to apply for Social Security Disability is to go to the nearest Social Security office in person and apply. You can call the local office to set up an appointment, or you can go in person, take a number, and wait for your turn (which may take several hours). You may also contact Social Security by phone and arrange for a telephone interview to file the claim if you are not able to go in person.What to Know Before You Apply
Before you apply, be sure to have the following information with you:
- Work History: Social Security will want to know the jobs that you have worked in the past 15 years. Be sure to have the names of your past employers, the dates you worked there, and the addresses if you know them.
- Education: Social Security will also want to know your highest level of education, if you have any trade or vocational school experience, and if you were enrolled in any special education classes while in school.
- Health History: Make a list of your disabling conditions, the names, addresses and phone numbers of the doctors that have treated you for those conditions, and the dates that you started to see those doctors. Be sure to include all conditions – including any mental or emotional - that affect you. Social Security considers everything that affects your health and ability to work.
- Medication List: Social Security will also want to know the medications that you are currently taking, who prescribed them to you, why they are prescribed, and if there are any side-effects that you are experiencing.
When you apply for Social Security Disability, you should receive a phone number that you can call if you have any questions about your claim. You may also be given information on how to check the status of your claim online.
Be prepared to be patient. The application process and review can take several weeks or several months depending on the complexity of your case and the number of applicants that Social Security has to review. Social Security may contact you for more information. They will contact your doctors to obtain your medical records. They may also contact your past employers. In some cases, Social Security will send you to their own doctors for evaluations and may have you perform tests to determine the extent of your disability and how it limits you functionally.
At the end of the review of your claim, you will be contacted by Social Security in writing regarding whether or not your claim has been approved or denied. If denied, you have 60 days to file an appeal with Social Security.When to Contact Us
If your claim for Social Security Disability Income is denied, you have 60 days to appeal that denial. That is when we can step in to assist you in your claim. The leading disability lawyers at Siniard, Timberlake & League, P.C. have the expertise and knowledge to help you with your Social Security Disability Appeal. We recognize that the prospect of facing a Social Security judge in a hearing can be a daunting one, and we are dedicated to providing you the aggressive advocacy and legal support that you need. Our attorneys will work to obtain the necessary evidence for your case and, if necessary, to retain vocational experts that can help support your claim. If you or a loved one has been denied Social Security Disability, you deserve the assistance of an experienced attorney. Let us do the legal work so that you can focus on your life. Call (256) 536-0770 or (800) 804-2502 for a free confidential consultation, or contact us online.