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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) is a government insurance program that exists as a safety net if an individual can no longer work until retirement age, a fate that one in four individuals will experience. Unfortunately, qualifying for social security disability benefits can be a painstaking process, as over 70% of initial applications submitted without the assistance of an Abingdon Disability Lawyer are denied, often for minor clerical or documentation errors that have no bearing on whether the applicant qualifies medically for benefits.
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we can help determine if you qualify for benefits, file an initial application, or represent you in an appeal if your initial application was denied. As an Abingdon SSD disability lawyer, firm founding attorney Mark Hurt has helped countless clients secure the social security disability benefits to which they are entitled. We invite you to call our office today to schedule a free consultation!
How Much Does A Virginia SSD Attorney Cost?
We represent disabled clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only receive a fee if we social security benefits are awarded. If an award is made, in most cases our fee will be capped at 25% of the “backpay” amount or $6,000, whichever is less (the full description of our fee is set forth in our retention agreement). We do not receive any fee for payments made after the initial benefit award; thus you will be entitled to 100% of such future payments.
What Constitutes a Disability for Social Security Disability Payments?
The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) defines a disability is as:
“The inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
What Medical Conditions Are Considered Disabilities?
The SSA only awards benefit payments for significant total disabilities, meaning that partial or short-term injuries or illnesses (those that last less than 12 months) do not qualify for benefit payments. The SSA maintains a comprehensive list of the conditions and illnesses that limit an individual from performing their job, which is referred to as the “Blue Book.” Illnesses and conditions specified in the Blue Book automatically qualify as a disability. Such conditions include (but are not limited to):
- Anxiety Disorders
- Back Issues
- Bipolar Disorder
- Chronic Pain
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Mental Impairments
- Physical Impairments
- Other conditions that prevent a person from working for at least 12 months
If a medical ailment does not appear in the Blue Book, an SSA examiner must make an individual determination regarding whether an individual’s condition is as severe as another condition on the list.
Do I Need an Abingdon Social Security Disability Lawyer?
If you live in the Abingdon area, it is important to understand that most individuals who apply for SSD benefits without the assistance of a social security disability lawyer are turned down, even when they have a qualifying disability.
It’s also important to understand that when a claim is denied – even if it is for a minor technicality – the claim moves to the appeals stage. In other words, there is usually not an easy way to fix even minor issues, such as submitting more information to prove a medical disability.
As a result, the SSD application process can be exceedingly difficult, leaving many individuals without much-needed benefits and income for months or even years.
If you are seeking SSD benefits, we urge you to not take this risk by trying to file yourself, or to represent yourself in the appeals process.
With an experienced Abingdon Disability Lawyer by your side, your chances of securing approval from the outset are much greater. Attorney Mark Hurt and our team know how to avoid many of the common pitfalls that frequently lead to rejected claims and denials.
How Does the Disability Application Process Work?
The SSD application process generally requires the compilation of substantial documentation (e.g., legal documents, bank information, tax records, personal information, etc.) that must be submitted (and requirements that must be met) to qualify for SSD benefits. The SSA provides a checklist which lists the information that may be requested during the initial intake process. Even with this list, it is still easy to not submit all of the information necessary, or to make documentation errors or omissions, or simply to not understand the exact information that is required.
How Many Work Credits Do I Need to Qualify For Social Security Disability?
In addition to meeting the SSA’s definition of disability, applicants must have worked recently enough – and long enough – under Social Security to qualify for benefits. The Administration tracks work history through a system of work credits, with individuals earning up to four credits each year. Credits are based on yearly income, but the amount needed for one credit fluctuates annually. For example, in 2020, one credit can be earned for every $1,410 in wages.
Generally, a worker needs 40 credits, 20 of which must be earned in the ten years preceding the year a disability begins to qualify for SSD, but younger workers may qualify with fewer credits. In addition, others with certain disabilities (such as those who are blind) may also qualify. If you are unsure if you have enough work credits to qualify, we invite you to call our office to learn more about SSD work credit requirements.
How Do I Qualify for SSD Benefits?
In addition to having a qualifying disability and accruing enough work credits, the SSA uses a five-step process involving the following five questions to determine if an individual is disabled:
- Are You Working? If an individual works and earns more than $1,310 per month (in 2021), he or she generally cannot be considered disabled. If an individual is not working, however, the SSA will send the application to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office to make a decision regarding the medical condition.
- Is the Illness or Injury Severe? A disability must significantly limit a person’s ability to perform basic work-related activities (e.g., lifting, standing, walking, etc.) for at least twelve months.
- Is the Condition Found In the Blue Book? If a condition is not listed in the Blue Book, is it as severe as a medical condition that is on the list?
- Can the Applicant Perform The Work They Did Previously? A medical impairment must prevent an individual from performing any past work functions.
- Can the Applicant Perform Other Work? If an individual can perform other significant gainful activities, considering their medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills, they may not qualify for benefits.
Can I Appeal If My Social Security Disability Application Is Denied?
Yes. We represent clients who have initially received a denial.
If your application for SSD benefits was denied, you have the right to request an appeal, but it is vital not to hesitate, as in most cases an applicant will only have 60 days after receipt a notice of denial to request an appeal.
Because of this short time limitation, if your claim has been denied we urge you to contact our firm immediately. Even if this time period may have run, we urge you to call our firm immediately so that we can determine if there is a legally-valid excuse that may apply that may extend this time period.
If you are interested in getting help to prepare an initial application, or if you need help appealing a denial, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free case evaluation.
Call Our Offices Today to Learn More About Your Social Security Disability Options – Free Initial Consultation!
This law firm is excellent to work with and I highly recommend them. Jessica was great to work with for me filing a disability claim through the Social Security Administration. She answered all my questions and concerns quickly and efficiently.