Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits (“SSDI”)?

If you are suffering from a significant physical or mental impairment that prevents you from performing your job, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits.  SSDI is a government program (funded by payroll taxes) that provides compensation to workers who are injured and unable to work for at least one year (or whose illness or injury is expected to result in death).

Whether a condition is temporary or permanent, most individuals desperately need financial assistance to help replace lost income during a disability.  However, applying for benefits can be challenging, as over 65% of initial applications are denied, even when an individual has a qualifying disability.

At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we have over two decades of legal experience and have helped countless clients secure SSDI benefits through initial claims and successful appeals.  Whether you need help submitting an initial application or appealing a denial, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help improve your chances of obtaining disability benefits.

How Much Does an Experienced Disability Benefits Lawyer Cost?

As disability lawyers, we are only entitled to a percent of the backpay amount (usually 25%) if we help prepare a valid claim.  Thus, if we are retained at the beginning of the application process, our fee is often relatively minimal.  We do not receive a fee for future disability payments (those payments made after the initial award payment).

However, the cost of a denial can be substantial, as it can take months or even years for a claim to work through the appeals process.  During this time, applicants can be without much-needed financial support for long periods.  However, our initial application success rate is much higher than the average success rate, meaning that clients who retain our services from the outset have a greater chance of securing benefits without pursuing an appeal.

What Qualifies as a Disability Under SSDI?

The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) maintains a list of impairments that automatically qualify as disabilities (referred to as the Blue Book).  If an impairment is not listed in the Blue Book, an applicant must demonstrate the condition is as significant as another injury on the list.

The following are a few examples of qualifying conditions:

  • Musculoskeletal (Spine disorders, joint dysfunction, amputation, upper-extremity fractures, soft tissue injuries, etc.)
  • Sense & Speech (Loss of speech, hearing, or visual acuity)
  • Cardiovascular (Heart disease or failure, recurrent arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, etc.)
  • Respiratory (Chronic pulmonary hypertension, cystic fibrosis, respiratory failure, etc.)
  • Digestive (IBS, gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, liver transplant, etc.)
  • Cancer
  • Neurological (Epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, etc.)
  • Mental (Schizophrenia, autism, neurocognitive disorders, etc.)
  • Skin (Chronic infections of the skin, hidradenitis suppurativa, etc.)
  • Immune System (HIV, Systemic vasculitis, lupus, etc.)

How Long Does It Take to Receive Disability Benefits?

It typically takes three to five months for the SSA to process an initial application; however, if a claim is denied, it can take months (or even years) to complete the appeals process.  Once an individual is approved for benefits, there is a five-month waiting period beginning from the date the person became disabled as determined by the SSA (known as the “Established onset date” or “EOD”).

Because most initial applications are denied (~65%), applicants often spend months waiting for compensation.  However, at The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we prepare disability applications with the goal of obtaining approval from the outset, helping to avoid longer wait times.  And, if a denial is issued, we can often secure an approval through an appeal.

Will My SSDI Disability Amount Change?

Individuals are entitled to SSDI benefits for as long as they remain disabled and unable to work.  If a condition improves and an individual returns to work, benefits will likely be reduced or discontinued.  Typically, benefits will be terminated if the SSA determines:

  • A person earns over $1,260 per month (non-blind individuals) or $2,110 (blind individuals); or
  • A medical condition has improved, rendering an individual no longer disabled.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for examiners to determine a person is no longer eligible for benefits while they are still disabled and unable to earn income. If this happened to you or a loved one, you might have a right to challenge the decision.  Call us today to schedule a free consultation with experienced disability benefits attorneys at The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt to learn about your legal options.

Call our office today at 276-623-0808 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced disability lawyers.

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