If you have suffered a disability from an accident or illness that prevents you from working, you might be eligible to receive Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. SSDI benefits may provide you with an important financial safety net when you are unable to work because of your disabling condition. At the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook, our attorneys have more than 40 years of combined experience in helping people who are disabled recover SSDI benefits. We are able to help you file your claim as well as any appeals of the initial determination.
What Is Social Security Disability Insurance?
Social Security disability insurance is a program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is a type of insurance, and you pay for it with deductions from your paycheck. While some people wrongly believe that SSDI is a type of welfare, in actuality it is a benefit that you pay for over years of working through payroll deductions. If you become disabled and are not able to work, SSDI can provide you with monthly benefits so that you are able to meet your basic needs.
Filing for Benefits
When you apply for SSDI benefits, there is no guarantee that you will receive them. Approval for SSDI benefits is not automatic, and the process can be difficult and lengthy. The Social Security Administration evaluates a number of different medical details and other relevant factors when making its decision of whether to approve or deny your claim.
The legal team at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook can explain the different factors that will be used to determine your eligibility for benefits. Our attorneys can also help you gather the supporting documentation that you will need to support your application. We can assist you with filing your application for Social Security disability benefits as well. And if you receive a denial, we can assist you with your appeal and craft legally sound and persuasive arguments on your behalf.
Who Qualifies for SSDI Benefits?
Some people do not qualify for SSDI benefits. In order for your claim to be successful, you must meet the non-medical and medical requirements.
First, you must have worked a certain number of years and have paid in enough to qualify for benefits. People who are aged 31 to 42 must have earned a minimum of 20 work credits during the 10 years prior to their applications. Those who are younger than 31 will have fewer work credits required, and those who are older than 42 will have more. In 2018, one work credit is earned for each $1,320 you make at your job. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook can explain the work requirements for SSDI to help you understand whether your work and earnings record qualifies.
Your condition must also meet the medical eligibility guidelines. It must be severe enough that you cannot complete any substantial gainful activity in your field or another job. There are different standards that apply to different types of conditions. The Social Security Administration lists some conditions in its impairment listings that are considered to automatically qualify people for SSDI as long as their conditions meet the listings’ criteria. If your impairment is not listed, you may still be eligible if it is severe enough to prevent you from working. You and your attorney will need to argue the severity of your condition. Your attorney might offer evidence of its serious nature and make an argument that it impacts your ability to perform the activities of daily living.
How to File for SSDI Benefits
To apply for SSDI benefits, you will first need to decide whether you want to complete a paper application in person at your local Social Security office, if you would like to complete your application over the phone, or if you would rather submit it online. The easiest method is to complete your application on the SSA’s website. If you file your application online, it is a good idea to check with your local SSA office to confirm that it was received.
Upon receiving your application, the Social Security Administration will investigate your claim and issue its initial determination. If you receive a notice that your claim has been denied, you will have a limited time within which to file your appeal. It is important that you do not miss this deadline. If you do, you will be forced to start the process over.
If you are denied, bring your notice and your documents to your appointment at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook. We can advise you on appropriate steps to take to strengthen your appeal. We can also represent you at your hearing before the administrative law judge.
Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook Today
If you consult one of our experienced lawyers when you file for Social Security disability or appeal a denial, you are more likely to prevail. Call the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook today at 479-783-8000 to schedule a free consultation, or fill out our contact form online.