Abingdon Disability Lawyer
The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) has stringent guidelines for what can be classified as a disabling condition. Any debilitating illness or injury that severely impacts an individual’s ability to work and earn sufficient income for at least a year can potentially be a disability. However, to qualify for benefits, other strict requirements must be met, which can be difficult and daunting to fulfill.
The documentation requirements are so challenging that over 70% of initial applications are denied, often despite an applicant having a qualifying medical condition. Fortunately, at The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we have over three decades of experience in successfully helping disabled individuals secure compensation for their injuries. Our Abingdon SSD team can help determine if you qualify for benefits, file an initial application, or assist in navigating the appeals process if you receive a denial. Call our office to schedule a free consultation!
We proudly represent residents of Abingdon and the surrounding communities, including Bristol, Damascus, Chilhowie, Kingsport, Lebanon, Johnson City, Boone, Marion, Lebanon, and throughout Virginia.
Hire an Experienced Abingdon Disability Lawyer for No Upfront Cost!
When you hire our firm, you need not worry about paying a large retainer to hire an attorney for your case. We represent disability clients on contingency, meaning that we only charge a fee if we are successful in helping you obtain benefits. Further, if a client is awarded SSD benefits, in most cases our fee will be limited to either 25% of the “backpay” amount or $6,000, whichever is less. Thus you will be able to keep 100% of all future payments that are not yet due.
What Does the SSA Consider a Disability?
The definition of disability under Social Security is different from other programs; therefore, not all conditions qualify as disabilities. Simply stated, the SSA only pays for significant total disabilities, meaning that partial or short-term injuries or illnesses are not enough. Under the law, an individual is considered disabled if:
- They cannot perform work that they did before;
- Their occupation cannot be adjusted to accommodate their medical condition; and
- A disability lasted or is expected to last for at least twelve months or result in death.
Additionally, an impairment must be classified as severe. There are two ways to determine whether this requirement has been met. First, the SSA maintains a list of medical conditions (referred to as the Blue Book) that are automatically significant enough to justify benefits. Second, if an impairment is not on this list, an examiner must make an individual determination as to whether the injury or illness is as serious as one on the list. If it is deemed equivalent to a condition in the Blue Book, it will likely be severe enough to meet the eligibility requirements.
What Kinds of Physical and Mental Conditions are in the SSD Blue Book?
The listing of impairments in the Blue Book is extensive and includes illnesses and injuries in the following categories:
- Musculoskeletal System
- Special Senses and Speech
- Respiratory Disorders
- Cardiovascular System
- Digestive System
- Genitourinary Disorders
- Hematological Disorders
- Skin Disorders
- Endocrine Disorders
- Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
- Neurological Disorders
- Mental Disorders
- Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)
- Immune System Disorders
You can visit https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm to find out if your disability is listed in the Blue Book. Alternatively, feel free to reach out to one of our offices. We would be happy to evaluate your claim and advise on whether your impairment is on the list.
How Do I Qualify for SSD Benefits?
In addition to having a qualifying disability, individuals must have worked a certain amount of time in an occupation covered by Social Security to be eligible. The SSA utilizes a system of work credits to track whether this requirement has been met. Generally, forty lifetime credits (twenty of which must be earned within the ten years preceding a disability) are needed to obtain SSD benefits.
Work credits are based on yearly income (or self-employment income), and a maximum of four can be earned each year. The amount needed for one credit changes yearly. In 2020, for example, one credit can be earned for every $1,410 in wages.
In some instances, younger individuals may collect disability payments if they have fewer credits. If you would like to find out if you paid enough to qualify for benefits, contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation. We can assess your work history and assist in determining whether you may be eligible.
Can I Collect Disability Under My Deceased Spouse’s Social Security?
If something happens to a worker, SSD benefits may be available to a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse with a disability if:
- The spouse is between the ages of fifty and sixty;
- Their condition meets the SSA definition of disability; and
- The disability arose within seven years of the worker’s death.
Unlike the traditional disability application process, surviving spouses cannot apply online. Instead, they must contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment.
Can I Appeal an SSD Benefit Denial?
Absolutely! The SSD application process can be excruciatingly cumbersome and challenging, and even small clerical errors can result in a denial. The SSA’s application process is so strict that only 30% of applicants are approved at the initial submission stage. This means that the chance of being denied benefits is not only high but probable. However, you can increase the likelihood of securing approval by 300% by working with an experienced disability lawyer.
If you were recently denied SSD, you have the right to request an appeal, but it is critical not to delay, as an appeal typically must be requested within 60 days after receiving a notice of denial. There are four levels of appeal:
- Administrative Law Judge Hearing;
- Appeals Council Review; and
- Federal Court Appeal.
Each level of appeal can add significant waiting time (often years); thus, reaching out to us as soon as possible is crucial. When you hire The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, your chances of securing a faster approval increase substantially. We know what it takes to overcome benefit denials and can fight tenaciously to get you the maximum SSD benefit as expeditiously as possible.