Social Security Disability is a benefit conferred upon individuals who have contributed sufficient payroll deductions to the Social Security Administration to qualify for coverage in the event that they become disabled and are no longer able to engage in sustained remunerative employment.
In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, you must be fully insured and prove disability on a medical basis. Generally, an individual is fully insured if he/she has earned at least 20 quarter credits during a 40 quarter credits period which ends with the quarter in which the individual is determined to be disabled. In order to earn a credit, you must earn at least the minimum income in a calendar quarter as established by the Social Security Administration.
Determinations of disability are generally made by Disability Determination Services (DDS) which are agencies of each individual state. If an application is denied by the state agency, and proper appeals have been filed by the individual, a hearing is scheduled before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) with the Office of Hearings and Appeals. The ALJ conducts a hearing and issues a written decision. The ALJ is not bound by the decision of the State Agency and makes independent findings of fact and conclusions of law. If the individual is not satisfied with the ALJ Order, he/she has a final administrative appeal and may then file a final appeal to the United States District Court.
If you are unable to work due to injury or disease, and you believe you are entitled to SSDI benefits, you should contact your local Social Security Administration and request assistance in the completion of an application. The application may also be filed online.
If you have filed an application and have been denied by the State Agency, you should immediately file an appeal with the local Social Security Office. There are time deadlines for filing the appeal, and it is important you file any appeal in a timely manner.
If you disagree with the denial by the State Agency, and you would like to consider hiring legal counsel you should:
- File your appeal as quickly as possible
- Gather all medical and earnings records
- Make an appointment to discuss you case with an attorney
Our office has handled hundreds of SSDI claims over the years. The process can be complicated and discouraging. However, with proper legal guidance and procurement of proper medical documentation, you can win approval at the ALJ level. This office would be happy to discuss your case and make an initial assessment of your claim. If one of our attorneys feels that you have a reasonable chance of success, we will accept your case and become your advocate to protect your rights as a disabled member of our society. Attorney fees are regulated by the Social Security Administration, and we will explain the fees in more detail if we accept your case.