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Helpful Disability Information
Alabama and Georgia Disability Lawyers
Applying for and securing Social Security Disability benefits (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI) in Georgia and Alabama can be difficult. Most Claimants have their applications denied, even while being treated for severe medical issues. Common reasons why SSD and SSI claims get denied include the need for additional medical treatment and the proof thereof, lost paperwork, missed deadlines, or because Social Security is unclear regarding the impact your illness has on your ability to function and work. Despite how common denials may be, if your health renders you unable to work, SSD and SSI cash and insurance benefits may be within your reach. In situations like these, a Social Security Disability lawyer can help. O’Brien & Feiler assists Claimants in Georgia and Alabama as they fight for SSD and SSI benefits.
O’Brien & Feiler is a law office that understands the considerable challenges that come with being unable to work and provide, which then become worse without SSD or SSI benefits that can help make ends meet. Our practice has been assisting the disabled for over 20 years with claiming and fighting for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits. Our team of experts can step in to assist at any phase of the process, from helping with your initial application, ensuring paperwork is properly prepared and timely filed, collecting medical records needed to prove your case, and managing the appeals process up to and including appearing in court. We would be pleased to offer you a free consultation to discuss your SSD or SSI application. Call us at 844-OBF-WINS and consult with a disability lawyer for free.
What is Social Security Disability (SSD)?
The Social Security Act provides benefits that supply disabled workers with steady income after they are no longer able to work for a living. Many people think that Social Security is just for retired workers to claim once they are age 62, but Social Security Disability will provide benefits to any worker with sufficient work credits if they can prove that they are unable to work because of a medical impairment. These benefits are funded by deductions taken from a worker’s paycheck over their working life (often known as the OASDI deduction), and it is very important to note that eligibility for these benefits may expire. For this reason, it is important to apply as quickly as possible after going out of work. An at-work injury is not required to apply, just a physical or mental illness that prevents work.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews all applications and administers the disability and retirement programs. In the States of Georgia and Alabama the SSA is known to disapprove more claims at the initial and reconsideration levels of application, even when evidence of a disability has been provided. Because of the numerous pitfalls and high denial rate, you should have an disability lawyer working for you on your SSD application.
What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
SSI does not have the same work requirements as SSD. In fact, there are no work requirements associated with the SSI program whatsoever. Instead, there are rigid financial qualifications that apply. As a rule, aside from your home and one car (which don’t count against you), SSI applicants must have fewer than $2,000 in assets for a single person and $3,000 in assets for a married couple. Regular income will also reduce SSI benefits, even if only minimal work is being done.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays monthly benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 and up. Blind or disabled children whose families meet the financial criteria may also get SSI. Just like with disability, SSI still requires that adult applicants be too physically or mentally ill to work, but the illness does not have to be from a work-related injury. SSI benefits allow you to access to Medicaid (potentially even retroactively) once a disabling condition has been proven and SSI eligibility is established.
How can I qualify for SSD or SSI benefits?
There are two sets of requirements disabled people in Georgia and Alabama must meet to get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. For SSD benefits you must have worked in the past, and in most cases you must have worked for about five of the prior ten years at a job that withheld OASDI. This rule works differently for younger workers. Secondly, you must be unable to work because of your physical or mental condition.
For SSI benefits, you will need to be unable to work because of your physical or mental condition, and you must meet the strict income and asset requirements that Social Security sets for SSI recipients.
Though this sounds straightforward, the road to proving these items can be difficult. To prove disability, you will need to prove:
- That a medical provider has diagnosed you with a physical or mental condition.
- That your physical or mental condition is expected to continue for a year or more, or that the condition is expected to result in your death.
- That your condition makes you unable to do your job or even easier work any longer.
To win your claim for SSD or SSI benefits, you will need records and supportive letters from treating professionals that establish each of these items. Even though you may be sick and unable to work, if you do not have documentation, the SSA will likely deny your SSI or SSD claim.
Does the SSA think my condition is a disability?
If you can’t work because of your mental or physical condition, you are one step along the path to getting SSD or SSI benefits. It is important to note that the Social Security Administration does not examine all medical conditions using the same criteria.
Some very serious medical conditions count as disabilities straight away. With the appropriate tests and physician notes demonstrating a diagnosis, getting SSD or SSI benefits is straightforward. These conditions include Compassionate Allowance Diagnoses, as well as certain types of cancer, or degenerative conditions.
Without specific proof of this kind of diagnosis, you will need to establish that you suffer from severe impairments that leave you with a residual functional capacity level that does not allow work. For this reason, having regular and ongoing medical treatment and physicians that list and note your limitations in records or supportive letters are of great value when attempting to secure SSD or SSI benefits in Alabama or Georgia. Conditions like these include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Migraine headaches
- Seizure disorder
- Depression and anxiety
- COPD or other breathing disorders
These severe impairments may lead to a finding that you are disabled but helping the SSA understand how they limit your ability to function is of the utmost importance. Click on the following links to review the list of impairments for adults or for children.
It is important to note that even if your impairment is not specifically listed on one of these pages, you are not automatically excluded from claiming disability or SSI benefits. If you can prove that your unlisted conditions limit you in ways that prevent work, then you should be able to succeed with your claim. Having an attorney who is experienced in making such SSI or SSD claims in Alabama and Georgia can be very helpful.
SSA denied my Disability or SSI claim. What now?
If your application is denied, the denial letter will note your right to appeal the decision as well as the time frame to do so. Every person claiming SSD or SSI benefits has the right to appeal their case multiple times. This appeal process allows more time to let a case develop, allows more medical evidence to be collected, and shows a linear course of treatment. By continuing to appeal, you increase your odds of success. The most favorable odds of success happen when your case is argued in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Though getting a court date can take quite a while, back benefits will be payable if you are ultimately successful.
If you appeal to the ALJ, your case will be heard by a live person who will speak to you about your health and other relevant matters. These judges are generally well-acquainted with the important elements of disability law, and in some cases will be more inclined to see the human side of a claim. Even if you or your family handled your SSD appeals or SSI appeals up to the ALJ level, we recommend that you hire a lawyer to assist you with the ALJ proceedings. The lawyer you hire should have experiencing practicing before the Social Security Administration and securing SSI or SSD benefits because there are numerous rules and nuances to the ALJ hearing process that only experience can teach. O’Brien & Feiler are such lawyers and would like to discuss how we can help.
Speak with an SSI Lawyer and a Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
If you live in Alabama or Georgia and you cannot work because of your health, SSD benefits or SSI benefits can provide stability and health care coverage when you need it most. Do not let the complex application process deter you from acting immediately while your bills pile up. Call today to see if O’Brien & Feiler can help. O’Brien & Feiler provide free consultations to explain how we can help you get SSD and SSI benefits, and if you have our firm represent you, your legal fees are paid out of the back benefits that Social Security will pay you. No legal fees are paid unless O’Brien & Feiler wins for you. Call us at 844-OBF-WINS or fill out the form above to get your FREE consultation today.