If you are suffering from a disability and are unable to work, you can obtain Social Security benefits to help you. Of course, there is a process to determine whether you are eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is termed a social security disability “assessment.”
In this article, we are going to cover the way in which the SSA goes about conducting social security disability assessments, and what you can do to make sure that you provide sufficient information to have your disability application granted by the SSA. If, after reading this article, you have more questions about your own circumstances related to a disability, then the Social Security disability lawyers in Jacksonville, at RITE Law, are here to help you.
Our RITE Law Social Security disability lawyers in Jacksonville have your best interests at heart, and we have the training and resources to make sure that you receive the help you need. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. We provide a free case evaluation, so call today.
A Glimpse at the Services Social Security Provides
We all pay into Social Security from our paychecks when working, but many people do not realize that Social Security is not just money you receive at retirement age. Rather, Social Security has programs to provide assistance to U.S. citizens who are disabled before they reach retirement age. In fact, the Social Security Administration runs two programs that provide for benefits based on disability:
1. The Social Security Disability Insurance Program, often referred to as “SSDI” and
2. The Supplemental Security Income, or “SSI.”
It can be a bit confusing because the abbreviations for the two programs are similar. Yet, what is important to remember is that SSDI provides for the payment of disability benefits to disabled individuals who are insured by Social Security based on their contributions to the Social Security trust fund, which comes from your payment of Social Security tax throughout your lifetime. In other words, SSDI is like insurance. If you have paid into Social Security, then you are eligible for disability benefits.
SSI, by contrast, is not an insurance program. Rather, it is meant to provide payments to disabled individuals (including minor children) who have limited income and resources.
What is the definition of “Disability?”
The beginning of any disability assessment starts with a determination of whether you are, in fact, “disabled” for purposes of the SSA programs discussed above. For either SSDI or SSI, the definition of “disability” is the same. A “disability” is, essentially:
The inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity 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.
In short, the SSA defines “disability” as a medical condition that keeps you from working for at least a year.
With regard to minor children, the definition changes slightly. For children, the disabling medical condition is not tied to work (or “substantial gainful activity”). Rather, a child is eligible for disability income if his or her condition “causes marked and severe functional limitations.”
The Process for Social Security Disability Assessments
When you first make an application to the SSA for disability benefits (regardless of whether you do it online, over the phone, by mail, or in-person), an SSA field office is the first place that will review your disability the application
The field office staff reviewing your claim will verify some basic, non-medical information in the claim, such as your age, marital status, citizenship, and Social Security coverage information. If you are seeking SSI benefits, then your income will be reviewed because that benefit is tied to whether you make less than a certain amount.
After those initial verifications are complete, your claim then goes to a State Disability Determination Service, or DDS.
At the DDS, your medical evidence is reviewed, and a disability determination is made. The case is then returned to the field office. If the DDS found you to be disabled, then you will receive a benefit amount computed by SSA. If, however, you are found not to be eligible for SSDI or SSI, then you have the option to appeal that decision.
What Information Should You Have in Your Claim?
To ensure the best chance of having your claim granted, you need a medical professional to evaluate, examine, and treat you to be able to provide you with solid medical evidence regarding the nature and severity of your impairment.
In that regard, you would be wise to look into getting help from a Social Security disability lawyer in Jacksonville to do what is necessary to properly support a disability claim before the SSA.
Get Help from an Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyers in Jacksonville.
The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with physical and/or mental disabilities. SSDI pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. SSI pays benefits solely based on financial need.
Initial claims for these benefits are often denied by the SSA due to paperwork errors or insufficient medical evidence verifying a disability. There are a number of levels to the appeals system that leaves most people overwhelmed and frustrated.
RITE law we are the SSI claims attorneys in Jacksonville who can assist you with this lengthy and tedious process. There are no upfront fees, and we are paid only if a benefit is recovered on your behalf.
At RITE Law, we started the firm for one reason – to help those in Florida and elsewhere have the resources of a firm that was “big enough to fight but small enough to care.” At Rudolph, Israel, Tucker & Ellis (RITE law), we have the resources and experience to go to trial when it is necessary, and we have the wisdom to advise you appropriately.
Without help from the hearing loss attorneys in Jacksonville on the RITE team, trying to make insurance claims can lead to a lot of frustration and time and money lost. When you turn to our firm, we spring into action, making sure every detail of your claim is addressed. We answer any questions you have and stand in your corner to give you the best opportunity to receive all the benefits you deserve.
Expect lots of attention, passionate representation, and a healthy disdain for big insurance companies. We believe that leads to the best result possible. Unlike larger firms, your case isn’t handed to a paralegal or assistant to do the heavy lifting. The attorney you meet initially is the one who will be by your side every step of the way.