By: Victoria P. Edwards
Social Security Disability (SSD) is for people, who during their employment history, have amassed enough work credits by paying Social Security payroll taxes. To be considered for Social Security Disability you must be suffering from a severe condition that is expected to last at least 12 months; or result in death; or that prevents you from performing the work you did; or any other work at Substantial Gainful Activity levels.
To be eligible for Social Security Benefits, a person must be unable to engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). SGA is the net of impairment-related work expenses, which are expenses you incur from the purchase or payment related to special equipment, training or anything else related to your ability to perform work with your impairment. These expenses can be used to reduce your monthly earnings in order to be considered earning under SGA. In 2020, SGA is earning over $2,120 per month for statutorily blind individuals and $1,260 per month for non-blind individuals.
If the previous information is relevant to your condition, you can apply for Social Security Disability online at SSA.Gov or at the local Social Security Office. The application review process usually takes 4-8 months to hear a decision. Statistics from the United States Social Security Disability Insurance Program show that nearly 60% of applications are denied. Anything from incomplete information to improper medical records can result in denial of the disability application.
Completing all necessary forms correctly is crucial to a successful application. An experienced attorney familiar with Social Security Disability can guide you through the entire process, providing you with information about how to answer questions appropriately, proper documentation of condition and chronicling your treatment history to ensure that your application is accurate.
There is an expedited process available for critical cases. These cases are designated for situations involving terminal illness, veteran with 100% permanent and total disability rating, military casualty/ wounded warrior case and compassionate allowance. Expedited situations also include claimants who are in dire need; meaning they are without food and are unable to obtain it; or lack medicine or medical care and are unable to obtain it; or lack shelter.
If your initial application is denied, you may appeal and ask for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). If denied by the ALJ, you may then appeal to the Appeals Counsel. If then denied by the Appeals Counsel, you may appeal to the District Court. Having an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer can help to ensure that your application is accurate thus improving chances of receiving SSD.