Trying to get disability benefits when a physical or mental condition has left you unable to work and make a living can be one of the most challenging issues you will face in your lifetime. There are a number of things you can do to help ensure your disability application or appeal is successful, including speaking to a knowledgeable Tallahassee disability lawyer from the Carmichael Law Group – we serve clients nationwide.
We have a deep understanding of the necessity of building your story to obtain a positive outcome. Your “story” includes not just what your disabling condition is, but all the ways it has altered your life—the things you can no longer do or enjoy. When you can show every aspect of how your disability has an impact on your ability to work and accomplish day-to-day tasks, your likelihood of success increases exponentially.
Information on this page:
What Are the Qualifying Conditions for Social Security Disability Benefits?
The SSD online list of impairments that may qualify you for disability benefits is split between adult and child disorders, with fourteen categories under adult, and fifteen under child. These impairment categories include:
- Musculoskeletal system
- Special senses and speech
- Respiratory illnesses
- Cardiovascular illnesses
- Digestive system
- Chronic kidney disease
- Blood disorders
- Skin disorders
- Endocrine disorders
- Congenital disorders
- Neurological disorders
- Cognitive and mental health conditions
- Immune system diseases
Even if you have a qualifying condition, you must still show that your condition has lasted or is expected to last at least one year, or that the condition is expected to result in death. You must also qualify in two other ways: you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes on your wages for a specific amount of time, and you must fall under the financial resources and income numbers.
Under certain circumstances, you may qualify under the Compassionate Allowances program. This means you have been identified as having a particularly severe condition such as a certain type of cancer, an adult brain disorders, or—for a child—a rare childhood disorders. In this case, your application for benefits will be fast-tracked, although you must still qualify under the other SS requirements.
What Is the Process for Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits?
If you are planning to submit a Social Security Disability application for benefits, it is important that you have all the necessary information before submitting your application. To prove your eligibility, you need the following documents:
- Your birth certificate
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status for those not born in the U.S.
- Pay stubs from your place of employment for the current year and the past two years (self-employment records for two years)
- An Adult Disability Report that asks for specific details regarding your disability and your work history
- W-2s or self-employment tax returns
- If you were in the military prior to 1968, U.S. military discharge papers
- Medical history, including test results, medications you are taking, copies of your medical records, and doctor’s reports
- Proof of marriages and divorces
- Names and birthdates of your children
Your medical records must be complete and comprehensive to support your disability claim. You will submit your application either online, over the phone, or in person. Once a determination is made, you will have 60 days to appeal that decision through the four levels of appeal.
What if My Disability is Not Listed by Social Security?
While it may be much easier to obtain SSD benefits if your disability is on the list, you should not give up on getting your much-needed benefits if it is not. What matters as much as your specific disability is your ability to tell your own story about how your disability affects your life, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks. Many conditions are not listed, however, if you meet the SSA’s definition of disability, you may still be approved.
The definition is that your condition has prevented you from working for a year—or is expected to prevent you from working for a year—or the disability is expected to result in death. If your condition is a medically supported impairment that is supported by clinical reports and the impairment limits your residual functional ability, you could be awarded SSD benefits. Residual functional ability refers to the most demanding activity you can do given your current medical condition.
Can I File an SSD Appeal Without a Tallahassee Disability Lawyer?
While technically you can file an SSD appeal on your own, it is rarely a good idea. When you hire a Tallahassee disability lawyer, you have significantly increased your likelihood of being awarded disability benefits. A disability lawyer from the Carmichael Law Group knows the process for appealing an adverse decision inside and out. We can help you determine whether your medical condition meets SSA criteria and what additional medical evidence is required to strengthen your claim.
How a Tallahassee Disability Lawyer from the Carmichael Law Group Can Help
Whether you are at the initial application stage or have received an SSD denial and are facing appeals, you can benefit from having an experienced Tallahassee disability lawyer from the Carmichael Law Group in your corner. We understand that you may feel as though you are alone right now, drowning in debt and unsure of what steps to take to get your life back on track. We can help you do just that by significantly increasing your chances of receiving SSD benefits. Contact the Carmichael Law Group today.