When you're no longer to work due to an illness, injury or disability you likely have a variety of concerns weighing on your mind. How will you afford to pay your monthly expenses? Will my medical bills outpace my savings? What if I'm unable to return to work?
Thankfully, for working suffering a temporary or permanent disability, the Social Security Administration, or SSA, provides benefits to qualified applicants that can help provide financial support. For claimants that meet the various requirements, SSDI (or in some cases SSI), may be the financial lifeline you need to reduce stress and let you focus on recovery.
The process for applying for social security benefits, however, can often be confusing and riddled with stringent application and documentation hurdles. Applicants should know that they are allowed to consult with an attorney who have experience with handling social security benefits claims, such as those with the offices of Justine McMurray, P.A. While no article can replace quality legal advice, here are a few basic facts that may help you tell whether you qualify for social security disability in Florida.
Worked in Jobs Covered by Social Security
The first requirement for qualifying for social security benefits is that you've worked in jobs that have qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance. For most tradition workers who earn hourly or a salaried pay, this requirement will be met. If you are self-employed or otherwise haven't been covered by social security insurance, you may not qualify for SSDI benefits. In this case, certain applicants may be able to apply for SSI, although these benefits have a maximum income threshold and are meant for individuals with little means to support themselves.
Qualifying Medical Condition
The next requirement for making a social security disability benefits claim is that the applicant have a qualifying medical condition. This threshold, and the documentation of the condition, is the step that most often trips up applicants in the submission of their social security claim.
The SSA maintains a list of qualifying medical conditions which they consider serious enough impairments that individuals are unable to perform normal work functions. If you don't suffer from one of the conditions on the “list of impairments” you may also qualify by arguing that your condition is equivalent to a condition that is included. Just suffering from a condition or equivalent, however, isn't enough. Claimants must also show that their impairment is severe enough that they are unable to perform their work or locate other work based on certain economic considerations.
Documenting the injury or disability will be one of the most important aspects of your application. You or your legal representative should work with your medical provider to ensure accurate records of your disability and that all physical limitations and conditions are properly listed.
Length of Expected Disability
Applicants will only qualify for social security disability benefits if their disability is expected to last for a year or more. Impairments that will resolve within a year do not qualify for benefits. Proper documentation of the expected length of FULL recovery is the key factor here for a successful disability application.
Filing of Complete Application for Social Security Benefits
Each of these various requirements must be thoroughly and completely documented in your initial application for social security disability benefits. Failure to completely fill out the initial application or provide the correct documentation, affidavits and other evidence, may delay your benefits or lead to a denial of your claim. Consulting with qualified legal counsel can often help applicants submit a thorough claim from the outset.
Additionally, if your initial claim for benefits has been denied an experienced social security benefits attorney can help walk you through the various stages of appeal, including preparing your case for review by an administrative law judge at an ALJ appeals hearing. If you have an impairment that prevents you from working and need legal advice regarding your SSDI claim, contact the Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A. for a free initial consultation regarding your case.