SSD Attorney in Bay MinetteWhen injuries or illness keep you out of work, your financial obligations don’t stop—that’s why the Social Security Disability Insurance program exists. You work hard over the course of your life, and you deserve to be taken care of when you are completely unable to work.
However, the Social Security Disability Insurance program is complicated and can be difficult to navigate. That’s why it’s helpful to have a Bay Minette disability attorney representing you. For help with your disability application or appeal, turn to Walton Law. Call us at 251-455-5819 to schedule a consultation.
Have You Paid Into SSDI?
If you’re figuring out whether or not you can receive SSDI payments, you first have to determine whether or not you have paid into SSDI. Whether you are self-employed, a business owner, or conventionally employed, the federal government takes out money to put into Social Security. As long as your work is taxed, you are putting away money for Social Security.
However, you have to have worked enough to qualify for SSDI. The Social Security program runs on a credit system. Each year, you have the chance to earn four credits. You earn a credit when you earn a specific amount of money. In 2020, that amount is $1,410. Once you have earned $5,640 in 2020, you receive four credits for the year.
To qualify for SSDI, you must have at least 40 credits. There are exceptions for those younger than 31. At least 20 of your 40 credits must have been earned in the 10-year period preceding your disability. If you have not worked in the past 10 years or you do not yet have 40 credits, you may be unable to get SSDI benefits in Bay Minette.
Proving Your Disability: the SSA Blue Book
The second part of qualifying for SSDI is proving your disability. One way to do this is to qualify via the Social Security Listing of Impairments, most commonly known as the Blue Book. This is a comprehensive listing of qualifying impairments and the diagnostic criteria you must meet to immediately qualify for benefits.
The criteria listed in the Blue Book is detailed and extensive, so it’s important to check thoroughly the criteria for your diagnosis. Consider chronic heart failure as an example. To qualify, you must prove that you have either systolic failure with an ejection fraction of 30% or less or a diastolic failure meeting specific size requirements. Furthermore, this diagnosis must result in either persistent symptoms that make an exercise test dangerous, three or more episodes of heart failure in a 12-month period, or an inability to perform an exercise tolerance test.
What If Your Disability Isn’t Listed?
With such detailed criteria for every diagnosis in the Blue Book, you likely wonder what happens if you have a listed diagnosis but not the right criteria or if your diagnosis is not listed. You may still qualify to receive disability benefits. The Blue Book is just one way to prove immediately that your condition is serious enough to receive benefits. You can also prove it by showing that you meet the definition of disability.
Under the SSDI program, you must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that prevents you from taking part in substantial gainful activity. It must be expected to last at least 12 months or result in your death.
Even if your impairment isn’t listed or you don’t meet the specific requirements, you can still receive benefits if you can prove that your disability meets the above definition. This takes a bit more work than qualifying via the Blue Book listing. You have to provide enough evidence from trusted sources to back up your claims. This often means extensive medical records, professional written opinions from your care providers, and documentation of the ways in which your disability has impacted your ability to work.
Your Next Step If You Receive a Denial
After you submit your application, you may have to wait a while for a response. The SSA is often overrun with applications, and this sometimes leaves applicants waiting longer than expected.
Unfortunately, the backlog of applications has another unpleasant side effect: widespread denials. If your case file is not strong enough to qualify at first glance, it’s likely that it will be denied. The SSA simply does not have time to go through each application with a fine-toothed comb and look for proof that each disability is substantial enough to warrant benefits. If there is any doubt as to the veracity or substance of the application, it is likely to get denied.
This isn’t the end of the road for you. The majority of disability applications are denied the first time around, and a denial does not mean that you cannot receive benefits. It often means that you haven’t yet done a good enough job of proving the extent of your disability.
This is one reason you need a disability attorney in Bay Minette. They can work out the reason for your denial and help you submit a much stronger appeal.
How Walton Law Can Help
At Walton Law, we deal exclusively with disability cases, so we are on top of changes within the SSA and how those changes impact applicants. We also know what the SSA looks for in applications and what is likely to result in an immediate denial.
Whether you come to us before you apply or after a denial, our goal is to help you get the benefits you deserve. If you’re still applying, we’ll ensure that you supply the evidence you need for a strong and thorough application. If you’re trying to appeal after a denial, we’ll identify what went wrong in your first application and help you correct it for your appeal.
Contact Us Today
If you’re disabled and want to apply for SSDI benefits, let Walton Law help. From initial applications to appeals, we are here to help you succeed and get the benefits you are entitled to. Schedule a consultation in Bay Minette now by calling us at 251-455-5819 or getting in touch online.