Common Law Myths: Anyone Can Claim Disability Benefits
Applying for Social Security Disability can be daunting, even more so when you realize the many limitations placed on receiving disability benefits. One common myth about Social Security Disability is that benefits are available for everyone, regardless of the circumstances. The burden of proof placed on workers is high, and many times people are denied their initial request for Social Security Disability because of the types of requirements to prove the disability. Below you will find common roadblocks to a successful Social Security Disability Claim, and how an attorney can help if your initial claim is denied.
First, you need to ask if you have enough work credits to draw from Social Security Disability. Employees can earn a maximum of 4 credits per year, and the Social Security Administration website has a chart showing how many credits are needed to apply for benefits. Generally, you need to have earned at least 20 credits in the last 10 years immediately before you became disabled. Those without enough work credits are not yet eligible to receive any benefits under the Social Security Disability program. Review your work history with an attorney to see if you are eligible to apply for the disability benefits offered by the Social Security Administration.
Next, the Social Security Administration will want to know if your condition is severe. Severity can be judged in numerous ways, but they examine whether the condition interferes with basic work-related activities. Unlike applying for a service-connected disability, the Social Security Administration measures ones disability as an all or nothing review. Either you are able to work, or unable to work because of your condition. This is where many are caught off guard when applying for Social Security Disability, and why hiring an attorney to help clarify the process will protect your interests in the long run.
Furthermore, the Social Security Administration has posted a list of disabling conditions on its website. It lists each of the major body systems and the types of medical conditions that affect each system which are covered by Social Security disability. It is important to review the list for your own condition prior to submitting your claim for benefits. Initiatives are in place to expedite certain claims, such as those involving ALS, as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed. If you think that your condition requires an expedited claims process, review the Compassionate allowances list, which will generally cut 2-3 months of time off the claims process.
Additionally, when you are seeking Social Security Disability, you must submit your documents for review, which can take anywhere from 3-4 months. The disability examiner will review all items, including any documentation submitted by your primary care physician. This is why it is important to request a letter stating your condition and the limitations of your condition from your doctor before you submit your Social Security Disability claim. The examiner will either approve or deny your claim, and denied claims are eligible for appeal. Once a claim is denied, it is important to hire an attorney to help prepare for the appeal.
Finally, it is important to remember that the burden of proof required to show the disability rests on your shoulders. This is why gathering documents and submitting fully-realized claims is important. Letters from your primary care physicians, documentation about your inability to work, and any confirmed diagnosis paperwork are all important pieces to your Social Security Disability claim package. Attorneys generally suggest applying once for Social Security Disability on your own and then seeking a Social Security Disability Attorney should your claim be denied.
If you think that you or a loved one qualifies for a form of Social Security benefits, contact the Social Security Disability attorneys of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman. Our attorneys are here to answer your questions and help give you the piece of mind you deserve when filing for benefits. For a free consultation, contact us today at 614-221-3318.