If you are unable to work due to a medical issue in Sunnyside, WA, you may qualify for benefits via the Social Security Administration (SSA). Getting the benefits you want may be difficult. Fortunately, a personal injury lawyer in Washington may be able to help you out.  

Calbom & Schwab Law Group, PLLC has an outstanding track record with Social Security Disability (SSD) claims. Our Social Security attorney is available to review your case. Contact us today to get started. 

What Is Social Security Disability?

With Social Security Disability, you may be eligible for monthly payments if you are dealing with a medical condition that prevents you from working or limits your ability to work. To qualify, you must work a job that is covered by SSA. Or, you must have a condition that meets the administration’s definition of a disability. 

Along with these requirements, a disability must impact your ability to work for a year or longer or will lead to death. If you have a medical condition that matches these criteria, you may still be able to work. However, if you do, you must earn only enough money in accordance with SSA’s substantial gainful activity (SGA) amount. In 2024, this amount is $1,550 per month or $2,590 for those who are blind. It varies if you are self-employed. 

You must have worked for a certain amount of time before you are eligible for disability benefits. Per SSA guidelines, you must have been working for a minimum of five years within the last 10 to be able to get benefits. Individuals under the age of 24 may be excluded from this requirement since they may not have been able to work this long. 

How Does SSA Define a Disability?

A qualifying disability prevents you from doing work at an SGA level. It may also keep you from working a job you previously did or force you to take on another role due to your medical condition. The issue may be expected to last for at least one year or will result in death as well. 

SSA uses qualifying questions to determine if you are dealing with a disability. These are:

  • Are you currently working?
  • Is your medical condition considered to be “severe”?
  • Is your condition on SSA’s list of disabling conditions?
  • Can you do the same work you did in the past?
  • Are there any other types of work you can do?

If you believe you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, do not wait any longer to apply for them. At Calbom & Schwab Law Group, PLLC, our Social Security attorneys can walk you through the process of requesting benefits. For more information, reach out to us. 

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

You can submit your request for Social Security Disability benefits online or over the phone. If you call SSA, a representative will schedule an appointment for you to complete your application. 

To apply, you must be at least 18 years old. You must also have a disability that meets SSA’s requirements. 

SSA asks for several pieces of information during the application process. These include:

  • Information about your medical condition
  • Information about yourself
  • Your work history
  • Details about current and past marriages

There is a five-month waiting period for SSD benefits. Based on this, you will not receive benefit payments before the sixth full month of disability. This window opens the first full month after SSA decides your disability began. 

Why a Social Security Disability Request May Be Declined

You may commit significant time and resources to prepare your Social Security Disability application materials. Regardless, SSA may choose to reject your submission. There are several reasons why the administration may decline your request for benefits. These include:

  • The medical evidence you provided is insufficient. If you do not provide adequate information about your medical condition, SSA officials may believe the issue is not severe enough to keep you from working. 
  • You earn too much money. The amount you earn may exceed SSA’s limits. 
  • You were already denied benefits. If you previously submitted an application that was denied and re-apply, SSA may see this and reject your new request. 
  • You chose not to follow your doctor’s orders. SSA will likely deny your request if you did not go through with medical treatments or have gaps in your healthcare coverage. 
  • You decided not to cooperate. If SSA asks you to provide additional information and you choose not to do so, the administration may reject your application. 

According to research, approximately 35% of initial SSD applications were approved in 2022. To boost your chances of getting approved for benefits, hire a Social Security lawyer. This allows you to work with an attorney who knows the ins and outs of disability benefits. Your lawyer can help you put together an application that may lead to approval. They can also assist you if your submission gets denied. 

What to Do If Your Request for Social Security Disability Benefits Is Denied

You have the right to appeal a decision to deny your Social Security Disability benefits. If you want to appeal, work with Social Security lawyers. Your attorney can discuss the appeals process with you and help you make the most of this opportunity. 

There are four stages of SSD appeals:

1. Reconsideration

If you request reconsideration, you are asking SSA officials to review your application. Generally, you have up to 60 days to submit your request. The period to file for reconsideration opens as soon as you receive your denial letter. 

Social Security disability attorneys can help you complete any reconsideration paperwork. They can look at why your request for benefits was denied. From here, your SSD lawyer can make sure you show SSA why you deserve the benefits you originally requested. 

2. Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)

SSA may stand by its original decision to deny your benefits. At this point, you have the option to bring your case to an ALJ.

There is a 60-day window for requesting an ALJ hearing. This window is initiated when SSA sends you a letter to tell you that your reconsideration request was denied. 

An ALJ hearing is usually informal. During the session, you appear before a judge. There may also be a medical doctor or another expert who is present to testify. A jury and spectators are not present at the meeting. 

You can hire a Social Security Disability attorney to represent you during your hearing. Leading up to your session, your attorney can answer frequently asked questions and any others you have about what to expect. They can prepare an argument designed to show the judge that you deserve benefits. 

In the best-case scenario, your Social Security Disability lawyer compels the ALJ to reverse SSA’s initial decision. This will allow you to get the benefits you want. 

Conversely, an administrative law judge does not have to overturn SSA’s original decision. The judge may believe the administration acted correctly, which means your request has still been denied. 

3. Appeals Council Review

SSA’s Appeals Council is available to review a case if your benefits request was rejected by an administrative law judge. The council has the right to reverse or affirm an ALJ’s decision. It can also ask for further review. If this happens, the council will send your case back to the judge who initially looked at it. 

You have a maximum of 60 days from the day an ALJ denies your request for benefits to ask for an Appeals Council review. SSD lawyers can help you submit your request for a review and prepare accordingly. 

4. Federal Court Review

The final stage of the appeals process involves a federal court review. At this time, a U.S. district court is looking at your case. If the court decides against you, there are no additional actions you can take to get disability benefits. 

Do not leave anything to chance if your request for disability benefits gets denied. Partner with an experienced SSD attorney. This gives you access to a legal representative who advocates for you and protects your legal rights. Your lawyer can help you avoid any issues when you file an appeal. They can address any legal concerns you have at each stage of the appeals process. 

Tips to Help You Get Social Security Disability Benefits

One of the best things you can do is hire a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) attorney who has received many positive client reviews. This attorney leaves no room for mistakes. They can help you out as you submit your application for disability benefits. If, for any reason, your submission gets denied, they can help you navigate the process of filing an appeal. 

In addition to these things, your SSDI lawyer can provide tips as you explore every avenue to get benefits, such as:

Apply for Benefits Right Away

As soon as you suffer a disability, connect with an SSDI attorney. It can take months before the Social Security Administration reviews your request for benefits. Fortunately, a Social Security Disability Insurance lawyer can help you submit your request promptly. This can lead to a faster decision since your attorney can make sure you have provided all required materials. Plus, you can reduce your risk of a denial that otherwise delays or prevents you from getting benefits.

Notify Your Doctor About Your SSDI Application

You should tell SSDI lawyers about your disability, so they can help you apply for benefits. Also, it may be in your best interests to tell your doctor about your plans to request benefits. Your doctor can help prepare the Residual Functional Capacity report as part of your submission. They can give you detailed information about your medical diagnosis and treatments to share with SSA as needed, too. 

Keep Track of Your Records

Organize everything you submit to SSA. By having your medical records and other relevant documentation in one place, you can quickly and easily access them at any time. You can also share this information with Social Security Disability lawyers as you move through the application process. These attorneys can make sure you submit what is required to get an approval. 

Outline Your Work History

Write a letter that details your work history. SSD attorneys can help you with this letter, which can include information about current and past employers. Ultimately, your letter should explain that you have worked enough years to qualify for disability benefits. 

Track Your Finances

Social Security Disability Insurance attorneys often urge their clients to keep a close eye on their finances. Remember, if you earn too much, SSA can deny your request for benefits. 

Prioritize Deadlines

If your request for benefits is denied, file an appeal as soon as you can. The window to submit an appeal is limited. A Social Security Disability Insurance attorney can help you appeal a decision to deny your benefits request before it is too late. 

Select an Experienced Attorney

Not all Social Security Disability insurance lawyers are created equal. As you evaluate your legal options, look for an attorney who has a wealth of experience. This lawyer can teach you the basics of SSD. They can help you figure out if you are eligible for disability benefits. If so, your attorney can do everything within their power to help you get them. 

If you are interested in SSDI lawyers, set up a consultation with one. You can meet with an attorney to discuss your request for benefits. Next, your attorney can explain all of the options available to you. They can help you submit an application if you qualify for benefits. On the other hand, if you were already denied benefits, your lawyer can help you with your appeal. 

Hire Experienced Sunnyside SSDI Attorneys 

The team at Calbom & Schwab Law Group, PLLC is available to help you out with your Social Security Disability benefits claim. We can take a look at your case and help you determine the best course of action. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.