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Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) is an insurance program that most people have paid into the majority of their working lives.  Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 1-in-4 chance of becoming disabled before they reach full retirement age.  SSDI exists as a safety net in case an individual can no longer work before they reach retirement age.  Sadly, the majority of SSDI applications are initially denied, but the majority of appeals are successful. 

You can apply for SSDI online here or call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment to apply for Social Security Disability.  Once you apply, your application will be considered in a process that typically takes three to five months.  If you are denied, you can appeal, but you must do so within 60 days or you will have to reapply.  As soon as you receive a denial letter, you should contact an attorney to start the appeal process because appeals can take a long time.  SSDI appeals are much more successful than initial applications with 78% of appeals being approved.  Having an attorney assist you with your appeal can help you reverse the denial of benefits and get approved for benefits.

If you are one of the many cases where a disability claim is wrongly denied, our attorneys can handle your disability appeal on a contingency-fee basis.  This means that there are no up-front costs and you will not pay us anything unless we are successful in getting you the benefits that you deserve.  Call us today to schedule a free consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer.

The Five Step Evaluation Process: Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step evaluation process, in a set order, to decide if you are qualified to receive insurance benefits under SSDI. 

  1. Are you working? If you are working and your earnings average more than a certain amount each month, you generally won’t be considered to be disabled. The amount (referred to as “substantial gainful activity”) changes each year. If you are not working, or your monthly earnings average to the current amount or less, Disability Determination Services then looks at your medical condition at step two.
  2. Is your medical condition “severe”? For you to be considered to have a disability by the SSA’s definition, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities — such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering — for at least 12 months. If your medical condition is not severe, you won’t be considered to be disabled. If your condition is severe, Disability Determination Services begins step three.
  3. Does your medical condition meet or medically equal a listing? The SSA has a list of impairments that describes medical conditions that the SSA consider severe enough to prevent a person from doing any gainful activity, regardless of age, education, or work experience. Within each listing, experts specify the objective medical and other findings needed to satisfy the criteria of that listing. If your medical condition meets, or medically equals (meaning it is at least equal in severity and duration to), the criteria of a listing, the state agency will decide that you have a qualifying disability. If your medical condition does not meet or medically equal the criteria of a listing, Disability Determination Services goes on to step four.
  4. Can you do the work you did before? At this step, the state agency decides if your medical condition(s) prevents you from performing any of your past work. If it does not, agency staff decide you don’t have a qualifying disability. If it does, Disability Determination Services proceeds to step five.
  5. Can you do any other type of work? If you cannot do the work you did in the past, agency staff look to see if there’s other work you can do despite your medical condition(s). The state considers your age, education, past work experience, and any skills you may have that could be used to do other work. If you cannot do other work, Disability Determination Services decides that you’re disabled. If you can do other work, you do not have a qualifying disability.
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