Facing a disability can be difficult on its own. When your disability prevents you from working and making a living, you are dealing not only with the consequences of your disability, but the financial consequences as well. Whether your disability application or your disability appeal is successful may have as much to do with how you tell your “story” as it has to do with your actual disability. You need to convey just how much of an adverse impact your disability has had on every part of your life.
Of course, the impact on your work life is critical, but so is the impact on your daily life. What tasks that you once took for granted are you no longer able to do? What hobbies or recreational activities did you once enjoy that you are no longer able to participate in? These things are all a part of your story, and by telling that story comprehensively and concisely, your chances of receiving disability benefits increase dramatically. A Panama City disability lawyer from the Carmichael Law Group can help you tell your story in the best way possible.
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What Are the Qualifying Conditions for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Perhaps you have a neurological disorder like epilepsy that prevents you from working and making a living. You may wonder whether your disorder qualifies you for Social Security Disability benefits. For example, Epilepsy is listed in the online list of qualifying disorders. This does not necessarily mean you automatically qualify for benefits.
Along with your qualifying disorder, you must meet the financial resources and income guidelines, and you must have paid sufficient Social Security taxes from your wages over the years. Your disability must have lasted a year—or is expected to last a year—or is a disability or disorder that is expected to cause death.
If your disability or disorder is particularly severe, your application for SSD benefits may be identified as eligible for the Compassionate Allowances program. Certain types of cancers, adult brain disorders, and rare childhood disorders all qualify under Compassionate Allowances. This allows the application to be fast-tracked, although you must still meet the other requirements for SSD benefits.
What Is the Process for Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits?
Your initial application can be filed online, over the phone, or in person at your local SS office. It can be helpful to have a Panama City disability lawyer look at your application and supporting documentation to ensure it is complete and stands the best chance of approval. You must provide the following information:
- Your SS #, gender, and name
- The name given to you at birth
- Where you were born and the date of your birth
- Your birth certificate or other record of your birth
- Documentation of your current U.S. citizenship
- If you have ever used another SS number filed for SS benefits, Medicare, or SSI, earned SS credits in another country, or worked for the Railroad you will need to disclose this information
- Active military status prior to 1968, including dates of service and benefits
- Whether you are qualified or receive a pension based on employment with the Federal government
- Names, DOBs, and SS numbers of current or former spouses, along with the date and place of each marriage
- Birthdates and names of any dependent children
- Whether you have a child under the age of 3 living with you during a year with no earnings
- If your parent was dependent on you for half of his or her support at the time you became disabled
- Earnings from all years since 1978
- Your employer’s name or information of self-employment, along with your earnings for the past two years
- Any record of unsatisfied felony or arrest warrants
- The date you became unable to work due to your condition
- Workers’ compensation, black lung, or similar benefits
Once you submit your application, you will receive a determination letter in the mail. If your benefits are denied, you have four levels of appeal. You must file for Reconsideration within 60 days of the time you receive your letter.
What Are the Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits?
In order to receive disability benefits, you must have worked long enough—and recently enough—to qualify under SSD rules. Social Security work “credits” are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can conceivably earn up to four credits per year. In 2022, a work credit equals $1,510 in wages or self-employment income.
Your age when you file for disability will have bearing on the number of credits you need; in general, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in over the past 10 years, ending with the year your disability begins. Younger workers may qualify with fewer work credits. You must also meet the income and financial resources limits in order to receive disability benefits.
Do I Need a Panama City Disability Lawyer for My Initial SSD Application?
Legally represented applicants are more likely to be awarded disability benefits because a strong Panama City disability lawyer knows exactly how to develop the evidence needed for approval. Your disability lawyer from Carmichael Law Group will review your file carefully to determine whether additional medical records or tests are required.
Our Panama City disability lawyers are highly skilled at communicating with medical providers as well as with all those involved in the appeals process. In fact, the appeals/hearing process is where we really shine. We have the specialized skills necessary to win your appeal and we know the Administrative Law Judges in our district—and what they want. If there are any records in your medical file that might harm your case, we know how to confront and explain those issues in ways that can minimize the damage to your claim.
How a Panama City Disability Lawyer from the Carmichael Law Group Can Help
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating. When you have a highly-skilled Panama City disability attorney from the Carmichael Law Group, LLC on your side, you can expect the process to go much more smoothly. Our experienced disability attorneys can answer all your questions and guide you through the application stage or the appeal stage. Contact the Carmichael Law Group today for help obtaining your SSD benefits—no matter where you live in the nation. We serve clients nationwide!