Social Security Disability (SSD) provides financial assistance that is an essential lifeline for many individuals grappling with a disability, whether it’s physical, mental, or due to a chronic condition that hinders their ability to work. Eligible workers who satisfy the criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA) are entitled to ongoing monthly payments. These benefits act as a sustainable source of income, enduring as long as the disability persists, and transition to retirement benefits upon reaching retirement age.
This is a key area of focus for Beckley, Social Security Disability lawyer Paul Roop, who has guided clients through this complex process for over two decades. If you need assistance seeking Social Security Disability benefits or appealing a denied claim, we invite you to call our offices to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Social Security Disability Insurance?
Social Security Disability Insurance is a program that offers income support to a vast number of Americans in their working years who are unable to maintain employment due to disabilities. To be eligible for these benefits, certain criteria need to be met.
SSD is typically accessible to those disabled workers who have contributed to the Social Security disability insurance fund. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a system based on credits to determine who qualifies. As of 2023, for every $1,640 earned in income, a worker gains one credit. Generally, to be eligible for SSD, an individual must have accumulated at least forty credits, though this requirement may be reduced for younger individuals who become disabled.
Is There an Age Limit to Qualify for Social Security Disability in Beckley, West Virginia?
For those seeking SSD benefits, it is vital to understand that you cannot simultaneously receive both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Social Security Retirement (SSR) benefits. Generally, eligibility for SSD payments requires the claimant to be between 18 and 65 years old.
Individuals over 65 may face challenges in qualifying for SSD, although exceptions exist. For instance, if an elderly person is not yet drawing SSR and cannot continue working due to a disability, they might be eligible for SSD. However, their case will undergo meticulous scrutiny. A claims examiner or Administrative Law Judge will rigorously review medical records to ascertain whether the disability is due to aging or a qualifying condition. SSD eligibility may not be granted if it’s determined that the inability to work is primarily age-related.
If you are over 65 and a medical condition prevents you from working, it’s advisable to consult with experienced Beckley Social Security Disability Lawyer Paul Roop. You might still be eligible for disability benefits, potentially allowing you to avoid premature retirement.
Does My Injury Qualify as A Disability Under SSD?
The Social Security Disability (SSD) program includes a comprehensive list of impairments, known as the Blue Book, which automatically qualify as disabilities due to their severity. However, SSD benefits can also be granted for other significant injuries, diseases, and conditions, provided they prevent (or are expected to prevent) an individual from working for over a year.
The follow are several examples of impairments listed in the SSA Blue Book that automatically qualify for disability:
- Major Dysfunction of joint(s)
- Spinal disorders
- Fractures of the upper extremity
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Chronic respiratory disorders
- Loss of central visual acuity
- Loss of visual efficiency
- Loss of Speech
- Hearing loss
- Chronic liver disease
- Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging and related issues
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Photosensitivity disorders
- Hormonal disorders and imbalances
- Cerebral palsy
- Brain tumors
- Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders
- Intellectual disorders
- Immune system disorders
For West Virginia residents whose conditions are not listed in the Blue Book, the SSA must conduct a personalized assessment to determine if the impairment is severe enough for SSD benefits. This evaluation can be quite subjective; therefore, it is crucial to provide a thorough and medically substantiated explanation of the extent of the condition.
Over 70% of Initial Social Security Disability Applications Are Denied.
Due to stringent requirements, over 70% of initial Social Security Disability applications face rejection, often because of minor errors or slight deviations from the prescribed guidelines, even if a person’s medical condition would otherwise qualify.
It’s important to understand that even if minor mistakes are made on the application, the Social Security Administration MUST deny the claim. There is no opportunity to make corrections.
The first level of appeal, known as a Request for Reconsideration, sees an even higher denial rate of 85%. Therefore, it is crucial to get the application right from the start. Hiring an experienced Beckley Social Security Disability lawyer can greatly enhance the likelihood of a successful claim by navigating around the common pitfalls of the application process.
With over three decades of experience in injury-related legal services in Beckley, West Virginia, and its surrounding areas, The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt excels in this field. Paul Roop offers experienced guidance in determining eligibility for benefits. He provides comprehensive assistance in preparing and filing initial applications, as well as in handling appeals in cases of benefit denials.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire An Experienced Beckley Social Security Disability Attorney?
Choosing our firm for your Social Security Disability case means you needn’t stress over legal fees. We operate on a contingency fee basis, ensuring that our payment is contingent upon the successful acquisition of benefits. Specifically, our fee is deducted from SSD back payments only, guaranteeing that 100% of your future benefits (those received after an award is made) are yours entirely.
Under federal law, attorney fees are generally capped at 25% of the back pay awarded, providing peace of mind that no matter the duration of your claim’s process, you won’t face escalating costs. This is particularly beneficial in cases requiring an extended appeals process to obtain disability payments.
For instance, clients in Beckley seeking help with initial applications may find that the ‘back pay’ is relatively limited due to the shorter time that has elapsed since the disability began. Yet, engaging an attorney early can be instrumental in enhancing the likelihood of an initial SSD approval, thereby potentially circumventing a lengthy and stressful appeals process.
Before commencing representation, we provide a comprehensive engagement letter detailing our representation terms. We are also ready to address any financial or other questions you might have about the process.
Can Widows or Widowers Collect a Deceased Spouse’s SSD Benefits?
Our deepest sympathies go out to you if you have recently experienced the loss of your spouse or a loved one. Should your spouse have been insured and a recipient of SSD benefits at the time of their passing, you might be eligible for widow’s or widower’s benefits.
Currently, around five million widows and widowers are receiving monthly Social Security benefits based on their deceased spouse’s earnings. The eligibility for these benefits includes:
- Reduced benefits available from age sixty, or full benefits upon reaching retirement age;
- Benefits from as early as age fifty if you are disabled, with the condition having started before or within seven years following your spouse’s death;
- Benefits at any age, provided you remain unmarried, or if you are caring for a child under sixteen years old who is receiving SSD benefits.
Additionally, the SSA may extend benefits to surviving divorced spouses, provided the marriage lasted for at least ten years.
Why Should I Hire an Experienced Beckley West Virginia Social Security Disability Attorney?
Qualifying for benefits does not automatically guarantee the awarding of SSD payments. Engaging an experienced Beckley Social Security Disability attorney can significantly enhance your likelihood of successfully obtaining benefits from the beginning or prevailing in an appeal.
The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt specialize in meticulous documentation preparation and compelling case presentation to the SSA. In instances where benefits are initially denied, our team is prepared to tenaciously advocate on your behalf in seeking to obtain the full benefits you deserve. Contact our offices for a complimentary consultation to discover how to initiate the process.