When you are disabled and unable to work, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what you need to do to improve your future outlook. Monthly disability insurance benefits were first established by the SSA in 1956. Benefits were provided for disabled workers between the ages of 50 and 65 and made a significant difference for those who were unable to work and make a living. Social Security Disability is a payroll tax-funded federal insurance program of the U.S. government, yet the benefits can be difficult to obtain.
Having an experienced Columbia disability lawyer from Carmichael Law Group can make all the difference in your application for benefits, whether at the initial application stage or during the appeals process. We help disability applicants across the nation receive the disability benefits they deserve, fighting for their rights and their future every step of the way.
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What Are the Qualifying Conditions for Social Security Disability Benefits?
You may be wondering whether your physical or mental condition or disorder will qualify you for SSD benefits. There are two components to this question. If the disorder is a serious condition like cancer, adult brain disorders, or one of the rare disorders that affect children, you may qualify under Compassionate Allowances. This program helps to reduce waiting time to reach a determination.
For all other disorders or conditions, you will refer to the online Disability Evaluation Under Social Security which details all mental and physical disorders that provide a baseline definition of a disability. That definition is any injury or illness that prevents you from working for at least 12 months (or is expected to prevent you from working for at least a year) or is a disability that is expected to result in death. Additionally, you must have limited assets and you must have worked in a job where you paid SS taxes for a specific length of time.
What Is the Process for Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits?
You can file for Social Security Disability benefits online, over the phone, or in person at your local Columbia SS field office. No matter which you choose, you must ensure you have all the information and documentation necessary to support your application for benefits.
You can look online at the list of things you will need, but it is extremely important that your application is complete and tells your disability story in the best way possible. While meeting the requirements is essential and finding your disability or condition in the online list is important, it is equally important that you clearly show how your disability has affected your day-to-day life.
Once you have filed your initial application for benefits, you may be asked for additional information from Social Security. Otherwise, you will wait until you receive a letter from SSD that either approves or denies your benefits. If your benefits are denied, you have sixty days to appeal that decision. There are four levels of appeal that will greatly benefit from having a Columbia disability lawyer from the Carmichael Law Group.
Can I Work While Receiving Social Security Disability?
While recipients of SSD benefits are generally relieved to be getting the assistance they need and deserve, the amount of SSD benefits may not be sufficient for many. You can work part-time while on SSD, however, you must ensure your income does not exceed the limitations for substantial gainful activity (SGA).
The SGA limit for 2022 is $1,350 per month, although disability beneficiaries who consistently make a gross income of $970 per month will trigger a “trial work period.” The trial work period allows you to attempt to go back to work for a period of nine months, while still being considered disabled. Those nine months do not have to be consecutive, as long as they are completed within a 60-month period.
Will I Have to See a Social Security Disability Doctor?
When you apply for SSD benefits and the SSA does not find the evidence provided by your own doctors adequate to determine disability, you may be asked to undergo a consultative exam. This exam is typically short and is conducted by an approved SSA doctor. If you are asked to undergo a consultative exam, it would be a huge mistake to refuse to attend—and could result in a denial of your benefits. The fee paid to doctors who perform SSD examinations is typically low, and many of those who have undergone a consultative exam describe the doctor as impatient or even rude.
While you may bring your own medical records, there is no guarantee the consultative doctor will review them. You may feel as though the consultative exam doctor feels you are exaggerating your injury in order to get disability benefits—and perhaps this is true. It is important that you clearly and concisely describe your disability, along with how that disability affects your ability to work and deal with daily living activities.
How a Columbia Disability Lawyer from the Carmichael Law Group Can Help
The Carmichael Law Group has an overarching goal of helping our clients obtain the very best possible outcome for their SSD claims. Client service is our top priority—you will see this commitment from the very first time you speak to a Columbia disability lawyer from the Carmichael Law Group. We will be your partner as you seek disability benefits from beginning to end. Contact the Carmichael Law Group, LLC today.
Columbia, SC Social Security Field Office
The Columbia South Carolina Social Security Field Office located at 11 Fl S. Thurmond Fed Bldg., 1835 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC 29201 provides services to the disabled living in Fairfield, Lexington, and Richland Counties. The direct telephone number for the Columbia Field Office is 1-866-964-7594 and the direct fax number is 1-833-912-2288.