Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits have helped eligible residents of Anderson, SC, achieve financial security when a physical or mental disability prevents them from working and earning income.
Applying for SSD benefits is a rigorous process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires applicants to provide comprehensive information and meet strict eligibility requirements for benefit approval. Partnering with an Anderson, SC Social Security disability applications lawyer from Pilzer Klein can make the application process easier and increase the possibility of a favorable decision.
The Application Process
You can apply for SSD benefits in three ways:
- Going to the SSA website and filling out the application online
- Going to your local Social Security office in person and asking for assistance from an agent. Lines can be long, so it is best to call and make an appointment beforehand
- Calling the SSA and having an agent assist you by phone
The best approach is to have a Social Security disability applications lawyer in Anderson, SC help you complete your application. Attorneys at Pilzer Klein have extensive experience in working with SSD applicants and will streamline and simplify what can be a frustrating process.
Checking the Status of Your Application
By creating a “my Social Security” account, you can check the status of your application as you wait for the SSA’s decision. While you can call for updates, you will probably spend a lot of time waiting for a representative to respond.
Application Approval or Denial
An analyst from the South Carolina Division of Disability Determinations will review your case and decide if you qualify for SSD benefits. The analysis itself is a process, and you may be asked to furnish additional information to the reviewer. Ultimately, you will receive a letter indicating whether your application has been approved or denied.
Approved applicants will begin receiving benefits once they have had their disability for five full months unless their condition falls within the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance Process. For these applicants, payments begin immediately.
If you did not work with an attorney and your application is rejected, all hope is not lost. You have the right to appeal the denial. For the best chance of a favorable decision, have a Social Security disability applications attorney in Anderson manage your appeal.
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How to Appeal a Denial
You have 60 days from the date you received notice to file your appeal. The denial letter will explain the four levels of appeal available. Your Anderson Social Security disability applications attorney will help you determine which option is best for your situation:
You can request:
- Reconsideration of your application
- A hearing with a judge
- An application review by the Appeals Council
- An application review by the Federal Court
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Social Security Disability Eligibility Requirements
Your medical condition and work history are the primary factors determining your eligibility for SSD.
You must be “disabled” as defined by the SSA to be eligible for benefits. According to the SSA definition:
- You must be unable to maintain employment or carry out “substantial gainful activity” (SGA).
- Your condition precludes you from performing work or tasks you previously could and from adjusting to alternative work situations.
- Your condition has affected you, or is expected to affect you, for at least one year, or will lead to death.
- Your condition interferes with the ability to carry out basic tasks required in most workplaces, such as sitting, standing, walking, remembering, or lifting.
Disabilities can be physical or mental or cause a combination of physical and mental effects. The SSA has a published list of disabilities that qualify for benefits. If your condition is not represented, you can still apply, and the SSA will investigate to determine if the condition warrants approval of benefits.
Work History Eligibility
You must have a history of paying into Social Security and earning “work credits” to qualify for benefits. Each year, employees can earn up to four work credits. In 2022, employees could earn one credit for every $1,510 earned. The dollar amount required to earn a credit change yearly.
Acquiring a certain number of work credits allows you to qualify for SSD benefits. This number is calculated based on how your age when your disability began. Usually, 40 credits are the needed amount, and 20 of those credits must have been earned in the ten years leading up to your disability’s onset.
There is, however a Supplemental Security Income program for those who don’t have enough work credits and face a disability. Discuss this with your Social Security Disability Lawyer if you want to learn more.
Work History Exceptions
Of course, some SSD applicants may not be able to meet the work credit requirement. The SSA allows exceptions for children under 21, applicants who became disabled before age 22, and disabled and widowed spouses whose deceased spouses had worked and contributed to the SSA.
Submit a Complete, Error-Free Application
A complete application includes comprehensive medical evidence and work history. It is easy to “miss” pieces of evidence or make errors with your submission as you will have to gather documents from several sources. These mistakes will not happen when a Social Security disability applications lawyer in Anderson oversees the process.
Your lawyer will help you collect evidence meeting SSA regulations, such as
- Reports from your attending doctors
- Documentation from testing and treatment facilities
- Additional “objective medical evidence” from an approved SSA medical source
- Evidence from non-medical personnel, such as relatives or friends, caregivers, employers, clergy, or social welfare agents who attest to your inability to perform SGA
The evidence provided must be specific, establishing how often, for how long, and how intensely your symptoms affect you and the conditions or factors that increase your symptoms. You will also need to document the types and dosage of medications and other treatments you have pursued to mitigate your symptoms and the effectiveness of these treatments.
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Secure the Social Security Benefits You Need
When a disability takes away your opportunity to earn a sustainable income, you need the financial support SSD benefits provide. Do not risk submitting an incomplete or inaccurate application. Instead, contact Pilzer Klein and schedule an appointment with a Social Security disability applications attorney in Anderson.
Your attorney will guide your application through the system efficiently and effectively, giving you and your case care, attention, and respect every step of the way.