Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are an important resource for those who have been hurt and cannot work for months or even years. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to turn to this program to support yourself and your family. However, obtaining the payments you deserve can be a frustrating and overwhelming process without knowledgeable guidance.
At Calbom & Schwab Law Group, we specialize in managing these claims. Instead of facing a complex set of steps and then being denied, put your trust in our team of Wenatchee Social Security Disability lawyers. We can help you avoid common mistakes that many individuals make when seeking benefits and increase your chances of having your claim approved on the first try.
Social Security Disability Benefits: What Do They Cover?
Many people are aware of the Social Security benefits you can receive when you retire, but few know about payments that can help you if you are unable to work. Whether you are injured at work or not, you could be eligible for benefits to pay your bills until you can return to your job.
Those who have been injured, or who become disabled for any reason, are protected by disability insurance paid through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The Administration will review your claim and make a decision on whether to grant your payments. These come as monthly checks and can be used to cover any costs you have, such as medical bills, mortgage payments or rent, and other expenses.
You may be using workers’ compensation or an insurance settlement to pay for most of your doctor bills. This does not mean that you are not eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, but there are many factors that can impact your request for payment. It takes a highly-experienced SSD lawyer to explain precisely how your SSD claim will be affected by other settlements.
Why Choose Calbom & Schwab as Your Social Security Lawyers
At Calbom & Schwab Law Group, we are committed to the people of Wenatchee, WA. We know that each person is a valuable part of our community and deserves all the help they can get when they are hurt or sick. Our Social Security Disability Insurance attorneys recognize that a substantial number of claims are denied, leaving our neighbors in desperate fear of supporting their families without assistance.
The process of applying can be done online, through the telephone, or in person, and it is deceptively simple. You may believe you just have to complete a few pages and wait for approval, but close to 60% of first-time submissions are denied. Applying and submitting your claim is time-consuming and confusing, but you can get help from an SSDI lawyer who fully understands how to avoid common problems. You can rest easy knowing that our top-tier legal team is working hard to secure the benefits you deserve.
Income and Work Credit Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are paid to those who have worked for a certain amount of time and earned a certain amount of income. You earn credits each year, which are taken into consideration along with your annual earnings. For example, if you earned an average of $35,000 a year over the course of your working life, that number is used as the baseline income for computing your benefits.
Work credits are accumulated each year, usually to a maximum of four annually. In addition to being part of the calculations for SSDI benefits, they are also considered when it is time for you to access your Social Security retirement payments. The work credit requirements for disability benefits are:
- Before age 24: You must earn six credits during the three years prior to your disability.
- Age 24 to 31: You can receive disability benefits if you worked half of the time from age 21 until your disability began. For example, disability at age 27 requires three years of work between age 21 and 27.
- Age 31 or older: Applicants must earn 20 credits in the ten years prior to their disability.
How Much Money Will My Disability Benefits Provide?
This question is one of those that has a frustrating answer: it depends. However, the good news is that the amount of money you will receive in each payment follows precise calculations based on how much you have worked prior to becoming disabled.
Your monthly payment could be as much as $3,627, which is the maximum amount in 2023. The average benefit per person in 2023 is currently $1,438. Most people receive between $700 and $1,700 a month. The maximum amount changes on a regular basis and is updated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) based on criteria such as cost of living changes, increases in healthcare costs, and other information.
It takes a number of months before your payments will begin after you apply and are approved. In the meantime, your bills will pile up and must be paid. You can apply for Supplemental Social Income (SSI) at the same time you apply for SSDI benefits. Your Social Security Disability Insurance lawyer can help you with applying for both programs.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) vs. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is for those who have worked and become disabled. If you have not worked long enough or recently enough, you can ask for assistance through Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These payments are targeted toward older adults and those with limited financial resources.
The eligibility requirements differ slightly, but you can receive benefits from both SSDI and SSI at the same time in some circumstances. Your Social Security attorney at Calbom & Schwab Law Group can discuss whether you qualify during your initial free consultation.
Qualifications You Must Meet for a Social Security Disability Claim
As we mentioned before, the process of receiving SSDI benefits seems easy but has many opportunities for you to make mistakes. In addition to correctly and completely filling out the forms, you must first overcome the “technical review,” which determines if you meet the work and medical requirements to even apply.
The primary conditions you must meet to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits include:
- You have worked long enough under the Social Security Administration’s guidelines.
- You have worked recently enough under the Social Security Administration’s guidelines.
- You have earned enough work credits.
- You are unable to perform the work you did previously.
- You cannot adjust to other work due to your medical condition.
- Your medical condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least twelve consecutive months.
- You have earned less monthly income this year than the Social Security limit.
Special Conditions That Automatically Qualify You for Benefits
It is possible to bypass the long application process when you are in severe need. There are some conditions that automatically qualify you for SSDI benefits:
- Your disease or injury is on the Social Security Administration’s list of “disabling conditions.”
- If you have been diagnosed with a serious disease, such as terminal cancer, you are potentially eligible for a compassionate allowance.
- You meet one or more of these provisions: low vision, widow or widower, legal guardian or parent of a disabled child, or a wounded warrior.
A variety of physical or mental impairments can speed up your application and approval process so you can receive payments quickly. This allows you to have money so you can enjoy the remainder of your time with loved ones rather than fighting with a government agency.
There may be extenuating circumstances that your Social Security Disability attorneys can explain for you, but generally, you can advance your claim more quickly if you have one or more of the following conditions:
- Cardiovascular conditions, including heart failure or coronary artery disease
- Digestive tract problems, such as liver disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBD)
- Immune system disorders, including HIV/AIDS, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Kidney disease
- Mental disorders like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, or retardation
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Neurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, or epilepsy
- Respiratory problems, such as COPD or asthma
- Sense and speech issues, including vision or hearing loss
The burden of proof for your impairment requires a large amount of documentation. You must show that your condition is “medically determinable,” resulting from abnormalities in your anatomy, physiology, or psychology that can be demonstrated using medically acceptable techniques.
This takes more than simply a letter from a physician. The SSA will require copies of scans, test results, and treatment records. The results must be obtained through approved clinical and lab testing procedures.
Why Are Social Security Disability Claims Denied?
If you are denied benefits, you will receive a letter explaining why. The most common cause is that an application was missing information, was not completed in full, or did not have enough supporting evidence. You must submit a large amount of medical documentation, with as many treatment records and test results as you can gather, to increase your chances for approval.
You must also show proof that you are following your doctor’s orders and adhering to your treatment plan. If you cannot show that you are actively trying to heal from your injury or illness, the SSA will deny or reduce your benefits. You can also be rejected if you do not cooperate with requests for additional material. If you have applied for SSDI but you are trying to work, you may be denied if your earnings exceed the allowable earned income limit. If you have applied for SSI, then another reason for denial is that you may have too many countable assets.
These benefits are meant to help those who cannot work, so taking a job or making money while you are claiming SSDI payments can result in your claim being canceled. If you already have benefits, they may be reduced or stopped if the SSA discovers you are working and earning in excess of the allowable limit. Your SSD attorney will be able to advise you on how to reduce your risks of denial.
What to Do if You Are Denied Social Security Disability Benefits
The application and approval process for Social Security Disability benefits is stressful enough without learning that you have been denied. On top of your illness or injury and the worry about supporting yourself and your family, it may feel like more than you can bear.
If you are denied, it is not the end of the world. The SSA will provide a reason in a denial letter, and your Social Security Disability lawyer can help you file an appeal. You should not give up or try to start over with a new application. That would be like going to the back of a line for an essential service. Calbom & Schwab Law Group can help you hold your place and move forward with your request for help.
You have up to 60 days to file an appeal, in which you will provide more information and ask for reconsideration. You can be denied up to five times, but each time decreases your chances of securing your benefits. Trusting in an experienced attorney can make a significant difference during this difficult process.
Do Not Delay – Contact the Wenatchee Social Security Disability Lawyers at Calbom & Schwab Today
Being hurt or sick enough to keep you out of work for months is upsetting enough. You deserve help for the years of hard work you have put in, and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are meant to give you that assistance. However, the system is complicated and confusing.
Calbom & Schwab Law Group knows you do not want to face that added burden when you are trying to care for your needs and get back to work. Instead of living in fear of unpaid bills, speak with our Wenatchee Social Security Disability lawyers for guidance and superior service. Our team is ready to review your application, assist you in correcting common mistakes, and fight back if you are denied.
We offer a compassionate, dedicated staff and attorneys with nearly 70 years of experience helping clients just like you in Wenatchee, WA. Schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about how we can improve your chances of qualifying for the payments you are entitled to receive.
Call us or use our easy online form to speak with us today.