Lebanon, Virginia Social Security Disability LawyerSixty-one million adults in the United States live with debilitating medical conditions.[1] Of these, one in three are unable to afford necessary medical care because of prohibitively expensive costs.[2] For disabled individuals struggling to afford basic treatment or necessities, the federal government offers financial assistance.

As Lebanon social security disability lawyers with offices in both southwestern Virginia and northern Tennessee, we represent disabled individuals seeking social security benefits as well as those who have been denied the benefits to which they are due.  We would invite you to call us for a free invitation to learn about how we can help you.

What Should You Know if You’re Seeking Social Security Benefits?

The Social Security system provides income benefits for those unable to work as a result of a disability or injury.  Each year, billions of dollars are distributed through Social Security Administration (“SSA”) benefit programs including:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”)
  • Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”)
  • Widow/Widowers Disability Benefits

What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social security disability insurance, or “SDI”, provides income benefits to millions of disabled Americans of working age who are unable to work; however, there are requirements that must be satisfied in order to receive compensation.

In general, SSDI is available to disabled workers who contributed money to the Social Security disability insurance fund.  The SSA utilizes a credit-based system to determine eligibility.  In 2019, workers receive one credit for every $1,360 in income they earn.[3] Typically, a person must earn a minimum of forty credits to qualify for SSDI; although, this requirement may be lessened for residents who are disabled at younger ages.

What is Supplemental Security Income?

Each month, over eight million low-income individuals receive compensation in the form of supplemental security income (or “SSI”) benefits.[4] SSI is available to disabled beneficiaries who have not met the SSDI credit requirements and have limited means.  To qualify, a person must have less than $2,000 in assets ($3,000 for couples) and minimal income.[5]

Who Can Apply Online for Disability Benefits?

Disabled individuals may apply online for disability benefits if they meet the following conditions:

  • Are eighteen years old or older;
  • Are not receiving benefits on their own Social Security record;
  • Are unable to work for a minimum of twelve months due to a disabling medical condition; and
  • Have not been denied disability benefits within the last sixty days.[6]

The SSA allows SSI applicants to file online, but only if they:

  • Are between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five;
  • Aren’t blind;
  • Have never been married;
  • Are a U.S. citizen;
  • Haven’t applied for or received SSI benefits previously; and
  • Are applying for SSDI at the same time as their SSI claim.[7]

Despite many individuals medically qualifying, over seventy percent of all Social Security disability applicants are initially denied benefits,[8] which is usually the result of not submitting sufficient information required under the applicable social security regulations.  Fortunately, the SSA allows applicants to ask for a reconsideration and, if necessary, appeal an unfavorable determination at an administrative hearing.

For over three decades, Mark Hurt has been helping injured clients in seeking compensation, often following a debilitating injury caused by someone else.  Many times, those who are injured – at work, from an injury caused by someone else, or from another event – have their lives transformed from being able to provide for themselves and their families to not being able to work at all.  This same transformation can also occur as the result of a sudden medical event or condition.  As an experienced Lebanon, Virginia Social Security disability lawyer, Mark has helped numerous clients successfully secure benefits through both the initial claims process or after being denied benefits (from reconsideration or appeal).

If you are seeking social security benefits, it’s important to file as soon as possible so that you can begin receiving benefits as soon as allowed under the law.  If your claim was denied and you want to appeal, we suggest calling us as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation, as applicants typically only have sixty days[9] to request a reconsideration or appeal after receiving a denial.

Can Widows or Widowers Collect a Deceased Spouses SSDI Benefits?

If you have lost your spouse or a loved one, we offer our sincerest condolences.  If your spouse was currently insured and receiving SSDI benefits when they passed, you may be eligible to receive widow’s or widower’s benefits.

There are approximately five million widows and widowers receiving monthly Social Security benefits based on their spouse’s earning record.[10] Eligible individuals can receive the following:

  • Reduced benefits beginning at age sixty or full benefits if they have reached retirement age;
  • Benefits as early as fifty if they are disabled and the condition began before or within seven years of the date of their spouse’s death;
  • Benefits at any age, if they do not remarry, or if they take care of a child who is under sixteen years old and receives SSDI benefits.

The SSA also provides benefits to surviving divorced spouses, if the marriage lasted ten or more years.

Can I Qualify for both SSI and SSDI?

In some circumstances, the SSA awards both SSDI and SSI benefits concurrently; [11] however, the cumulative benefit payments cannot exceed your highest SSI disbursement.

Understanding disability eligibility requirements can be a daunting and confusing process. As an experienced social security lawyer, Mark Hurt can explain the full range of benefits to which you may be eligible.

What Disabilities Does the SSA Recognize?

Over two hundred thousand disabled Virginians are eligible for Social Security disability benefits.[12] Unlike many other government programs, the SSA only compensates those who are totally disabled.[13]

Is It Possible to Work and Collect SSDI?

Typically, SSDI recipients cannot engage in substantial gainful activity and continue to receive benefits; however, it may be possible to engage in limited work, if your income falls below the monthly earnings average specified by the SSA.  In 2019, the SSA classifies work as substantial gainful activity if a person earns more than $1,220 per month.

Why Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer?

With years of experience and an extensive experience in submitting claims and appealing SSDI denials, attorney Mark Hurt provides clients with a tenacious representation in both the original claims process, as well as in the reconsideration and appeals process if a claim is denied.

At the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we represent clients on a contingency fee basis, and only collect a fee if we secure benefits for you.  If successful, we collect twenty-five percent of the backpay amount, usually up to a maximum of $6,000.[14] There is no fee for future compensation that is awarded, and which is not yet due.

If believe that you may qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits or if your claim has been denied, we would look forward to speaking with you.   Please feel free to call us today to schedule a free consultation at a convenient time.

 


[1] Disability Impacts All of US, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/infographic-disability-impacts-all.html.

[2] Disability Impacts All of US, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/infographic-disability-impacts-all.html.

[3] Benefits Planner: Disability | How You Qualify, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/qualify.html.

[4] Supplemental Security Income, September 2019, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/#table3.

[5] Understanding Supplemental Security Income SSI Eligibility Requirements – 2019 Edition, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-eligibility-ussi.htm.

[6] Who can apply for adult disability benefits online?, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/.

[7] Who can apply for adult disability benefits online?, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/.

[8] Outcomes of Applications for Disability Benefits, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2018/sect04.pdf.

[9] The sixty day window begins on the date a denial is issued.

[10] Benefits Planner: Survivors | Planning For Your Survivors, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/onyourown.html.

[11] 2019 Red Book, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/redbook/eng/supportsexample.htm.

[12] Annual Statistical Report on The Social Security Disability Insurance Program, Social Security Administration (2018), https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/ssi_asr/2018/ssi_asr18.pdf. (4.3% of the almost 5 million Virginia residents collect SSDI).

[13] Benefits Planner: Disability |How You Qualify, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/qualify.html.

[14] The SSA typically caps attorney’s fees at $6,000; however there are some exceptions.  Generally, the SSA will issue a payment for the fee directly to our firm; however, clients are responsible for ancillary expenses, such as the cost to obtain medical records.  We will provide the full details of costs and fees in our retention agreement.