Saraland, AL Social Security Disability Law Firm
Social Security Disability Benefits play a vital role in supporting individuals who are unable to work due to a qualifying disability. For residents of Saraland, Alabama, these benefits can provide much-needed financial assistance and help maintain their quality of life.
Imagine a hardworking individual in Saraland who has spent years contributing to the Social Security system, suddenly finding himself unable to work due to a serious unforeseen illness or injury. He doesn’t qualify for workers’ comp because the condition cannot be considered “work-related”, and he is left with very few options for putting food on the table.
In such cases, obtaining Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be absolutely crucial in easing the financial burden and navigating this challenging period of a person’s life. But unfortunately, the process of applying for SSD benefits is purposefully complicated and confusing, especially for someone who is already dealing with the stress of adjusting to life with a disability.
To make matters worse, most individuals who submit their SSD claims on their own have their initial application. And in many cases, these denials are based on minor technicalities that seemed designed just to frustrate claimants into giving up on the benefits that they are rightly entitled to. To help ensure that your application is prepared correctly and positioned for approval, it is best to work with an experienced Saraland, AL Social Security disability attorney.
Contact Walton Law today to discuss your situation and how we can help get you the benefits you deserve. Call us at 251-455-5819 or message us online to get started.
Understanding SSDI Eligibility
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria. These criteria include:
- Being “insured” under SSDI.
- Having a sufficient number of work credits based on age.
The term “insured” refers to having worked enough, with part of the work history being recent enough to qualify for benefits. The number of work credits needed depends on the applicant’s age:
- For individuals younger than 24: At least 6 credits earned within the three years prior to becoming disabled.
- For individuals between 24 and 31: Worked at least half the time between age 21 and the onset of the disability.
- For individuals 31 or older: At least 20 credits earned within the 10 years prior to becoming disabled, with a total of 40 credits required.
Work credits are based on the applicant’s earnings and taxable income:
- Each credit represents a specific amount of money earned during the year it was obtained.
- In a given year, applicants can earn up to four credits.
- The amount of money needed to earn a single credit is adjusted annually by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Failure to meet the required number of work credits will result in ineligibility for SSD benefits in Saraland. If you are not eligible for SSD benefits, there is a chance that you could qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The SSI program has a whole different set of requirements that are based on income and resources rather than work credits. Contact our office to learn more about this program.
Navigating Qualifying Disability Requirements in Saraland, AL
Once you have met the technical requirements for SSD benefits, the next step is to determine if you have a qualifying disability. In essence, a qualifying disability is one that is severe enough to prevent an individual from participating in substantial gainful activity.
Understanding the disability requirements involves:
Familiarizing yourself with the Social Security Listing of Impairments (Blue Book):
- The Blue Book includes qualifying disabilities for both adults and children.
- Disabilities are divided into 14 different groups, such as immune system disorders, skin disorders, and digestive disorders.
Identifying the relevant disability category and diagnosis in the Blue Book:
- Under each category, various qualifying diagnoses are listed.
- Each diagnosis has specific criteria that applicants must meet to qualify for benefits.
Gathering necessary documentation and evidence to prove the extent of the disability:
- This may include medical records, test results, and treatment plans.
- Applicants may need to provide additional information, such as symptom frequency and duration or proof of condition persistence.
Considering options for those with unlisted conditions or who do not meet specific requirements for listed diagnoses:
- Applicants may still qualify for disability benefits even if their condition is not listed in the Blue Book or they do not meet the exact requirements for their listed diagnosis.
- In such cases, providing detailed medical records and obtaining supporting documentation from healthcare providers is crucial.
Applying for SSD Benefits in Saraland, AL
Starting the application process for Social Security Disability benefits in Saraland involves several key steps:
- Choose a method for initiating the application process:
- Apply online through the Social Security Administration (SSA) website.
- Call the SSA to apply over the phone.
- Gather all necessary documentation and information before starting the application:
- Birth certificate
- W2 forms
- Tax returns
- Adult Disability Report
- Medical records and documents
- Information on any other benefits received
- Complete and submit the application, ensuring that all information provided is accurate and up-to-date.
- Await the decision letter from the SSA, which will be sent via mail. The letter will inform the applicant of the approval or denial of their SSD benefits application.
Addressing SSD Application Denials
It is not uncommon for Social Security Disability applications to be denied initially. However, a denial should not discourage applicants, as there are options available to address the situation and improve the chances of obtaining benefits.
If you have been denied SSD benefits after your initial application, here are some important steps to take:
- Understand the reasons for the denial.
Common reasons include insufficient evidence of disability, lack of supporting information, or not meeting eligibility requirements. Carefully review the denial letter to identify the specific reasons for the denial in your case.
- Consider the appeals process.
Applicants have the right to appeal the denial within 60 days of receiving the decision letter. There are four levels of the appeals process: Reconsideration, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing, Appeals Council Review, and Federal Court Review.
- Gather additional evidence and documentation.
Strengthen your case by providing further medical records, test results, or expert opinions from healthcare providers. Address the specific reasons for denial mentioned in the decision letter by submitting additional relevant information.
- Seek professional assistance from an experienced SSD attorney.
An SSD attorney from Walton Law can provide strong guidance and support throughout the appeals process. They can help gather crucial evidence, represent you in hearings, and navigate the complex legal procedures involved in preparing and submitting an appeal.
Your Knowledgeable and Compassionate Saraland, AL SSD Attorneys
Navigating the complex world of Social Security Disability benefits can be challenging, especially when dealing with denials and appeals. At Walton Law, we understand the importance of obtaining SSD benefits for our clients, and we are committed to helping Saraland area residents throughout each step of this process.
Call us today at (251-455-5819) or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team. We are ready to go to work for you!