The Social Security Administration, or SSA, pays benefits to many people in Dunedin through several different programs. Applying for benefits often seems like a simple and straightforward process, but in actuality, the agency often requires detailed documentation to satisfy requirements and prove an applicant meets internal thresholds. If an applicant fails to provide all the necessary documentation, the SSA is likely to deny benefits.
For that reason, people frequently find it helpful to consult a Dunedin Social Security lawyer. A personal injury attorney who understands how SSA operates could help either at the start of the application process or later if the agency denies, reduces, or discontinues benefits.
Social Security Benefit Programs
SSA administers four main programs that provide payments to those who qualify. Some of the programs are funded by payroll taxes and are available only to those who have worked and earned enough credits. Other programs have no work requirements but do have other eligibility restrictions.
Most workers who have paid Social Security taxes through employment are eligible to receive retirement benefits if they have worked at least ten years and reached the age of 62. The amount of benefits is based on the amount earned during an employee’s career.
The Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) pays benefits to workers who become fully disabled. Applicants must meet strict criteria to be eligible for disability benefits. Workers must not only demonstrate that they have earned sufficient work credits but also that they suffer from a disability that prevents them from performing any type of employment. That disability must be expected to last at least a year or to result in death.
Supplemental Security Income
SSA administers the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, although these benefits are not supported by payroll taxes and therefore applicants may receive benefits even if they have never worked or paid taxes. SSI benefits are available to those who demonstrate financial need and who are either over age 65 or meet the disability standards. A Dunedin Social Security attorney could help applicants demonstrate that a disability makes them eligible for either SSDI or SSI benefits or both.
When a worker dies, SSA may pay survivor benefits to the spouse and children left behind. In many cases, the spouse must be close to retirement age, disabled, or caring for minor children in order to receive survivor benefits. Unmarried minor children may also receive survivor benefits, and those benefits may continue into adulthood if a child is disabled.
Applying for Social Security Benefits
People in Dunedin can apply for most types of benefits online through the SSA website. However, before applying, it is necessary to collect the information needed to demonstrate eligibility.
When an individual applies for benefits that require a showing of full disability, applicants need detailed medical records and other evidence to prove that they are unable to work at any gainful employment. A Social Security lawyer in Dunedin could assist in preparing the evidence and presenting the documentation in a manner that fulfills agency guidelines and provides a persuasive showing of disability.
Because the SSA applies standards so strictly, applicants often receive notice that their claim for benefits has been denied. Fortunately, there are several ways to appeal a denial of benefits.
A Dunedin Social Security attorney could assist with filing a reconsideration, requesting a hearing before an administrative judge, seeking review by the Appeals Council, or appealing a case to federal court. The SSA specifies that applicants have the right to legal representation throughout the process.
Consult a Dunedin Social Security Attorney
Social Security benefits can provide income that allows a family to function when members who have provided financial support are no longer able to work. However, demonstrating that you qualify for benefits can be a challenging task.
A Dunedin Social Security lawyer who is familiar with the agency’s standards and procedures could provide guidance and representation at any stage of the process to help you receive the benefits to which you are entitled. For a consultation to learn more, call now.