Obtaining Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) is a complicated process, and that is why you need help from an experienced Columbus Social Security Disability lawyer to have the best chance of success.
The skilled accident attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy can guide you through the process from start to finish. We will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive all of the benefits you are entitled. Your initial consultation is absolutely free and comes with no obligation to pursue a claim.
DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS
In order to be eligible for benefits, individuals must have a medical disorder that meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of a disability.
According to the SSA, a person is disabled if:
- The person cannot do the work that he or she used to do
- The individual cannot do another kind of work
- The medical condition will cause death or will affect the individual for more than one year
Individuals with certain disabilities automatically qualify for benefits because their disabilities are listed in the SSA’s Blue Book. Some of the disabilities in the Blue Book include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Heart failure
- Cerebral palsy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Hemolytic anemia
- Liver disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injury
- Crohn’s disease
Individuals with disabilities who are not listed in the Blue Book may still be eligible for benefits, but the SSA evaluates these claims on a case-by-case basis.
Even if you have a qualifying disability, you could be ineligible for Social Security Disability benefits based on your work record. The SSA requires claimants to have a certain number of Social Security credits based on their age at the time they became disabled.
In general, you will have enough credits if you worked regularly, even if you worked part-time. However, if you get paid mostly in cash or you just started working, you probably have not earned enough credits to qualify for disability benefits.
If you have not earned enough credits, you could apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program is separate from SSDI and is intended for individuals with low incomes who do not meet the SSA’s work history requirements.
In order to qualify, individuals must have less than $2,000 in assets and a monthly income of less than $733. Meanwhile, couples cannot have more than $3,000 in assets or a monthly income above $1,100.
There is some flexibility with the monthly income limits, as the SSA counts only about half of any money earned from a job.
Contact our Columbus Social Security Disability attorneys to find out if you could be eligible for benefits from one of these two programs.
FAMILY MEMBERS WHO MAY QUALIFY FOR BENEFITS
Some family members of applicants could be eligible for SSDI benefits if they meet certain SSA requirements.
- Spouses must be older than 62, caring for a child younger than 16 or caring for a child who is disabled.
- Divorcees may qualify if they are older than 62 and were married for more than a decade.
- Unmarried children, stepchildren, adopted children or grandchildren under the age of 18 may also be eligible. Children under the age of 19 could qualify if they are full-time students in elementary school or secondary school.
- Unmarried children can be older than 19 and still qualify for benefits, but only if they were diagnosed with a disability before turning 22.
Our Columbus Social Security Disability attorneys will carefully review your situation to determine if you have family members who are eligible for benefits. Our goal is to secure all of the benefits you and your family are entitled so that you can financially support yourselves.
HOW OUR COLUMBUS SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ATTORNEYS CAN HELP YOU
If our attorneys determine that you could be eligible for SSD benefits, we will help you draft a detailed disability claim. We know how to obtain the proper documentation that will give your claim the best chance of being approved.
However, unless you have a disability listed in the SSA’s Blue Book or there is some other compelling reason why your first application should be approved, there is a good chance that your initial application will be denied.
Fortunately, many claims have a high probability of success on appeal. Our Columbus lawyers can draft an appeal of a denial within 60 days, as required by the SSA. We will include any new or relevant evidence to supplement what was included in your first application.
If the claims examiner does not overrule the denial, we can request a hearing before an administrative law judge. If the request is granted, we can present even more new evidence and question witnesses and experts to attempt to reverse the denial.
If we are unsuccessful, the next step is to ask for the Social Security Appeals council to review your claim. If the council decides to review your claim, it will be sent to an administrative law judge once again. If a review is not granted, we may be able to file a federal lawsuit.
Throughout the process, our attorneys will focus on your best interests. We will carefully review any documentation or evidence we present to make sure it helps your claim.
SCHEDULE YOUR FREE CONSULTATION TODAY
Applying for disability benefits may seem like a daunting task, but you need benefits if you can no longer work because of your disability. That is why you should contact our Columbus Social Security Disability lawyers to help you with your claim.
We have experience with the process and we know what to do to give your claim the best chance of being approved.