Applying for social security disability can be a daunting process. In reality, a large majority of people who apply for social security disability benefits on their own are denied. In fact, according to the Social Security Administration’s estimates, only 32.2 percent of all applicants are awarded social security benefits. This is in large part because the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that applicants meet specific criteria before they can qualify for disability benefits.
If you are physically or mentally disabled, you may be entitled to receive social security disability benefits from either the Federal Social Security Administration or through a private long-term disability insurance program. An Oak Lawn social security disability lawyer could help you through any stage of the social security disability application process. If you feel you were denied social security benefits unfairly, a dedicated personal injury attorney could work to help you file an appeal and pursue the benefits you need.
The Basics of Social Security Disability Insurance
The Social Security Act is a federal law enacted in 1935 as a means for individuals who suffer either a physical or mental disability to receive regular payments and compensation to cover basic living expenses. However, in order to receive social security disability payments through the federal program, an individual must qualify by proving they are suffering from a disability. Additionally, they must have contributed to the Social Security system and have incurred enough work credits prior to applying for SSDI.
How to Determine Social Security Eligibility
Determining whether a person is entitled to social security benefits is generally a three-stage process. In order to qualify for benefits, a person must meet 1) the medical criteria, 2) the vocational criteria, and 3) all of the procedural requirements and regulations.
Qualifying Medical Criteria
A person may be eligible for social security disability payments if they have either a physical or mental condition that prevents them from working full-time. Federal law requires that accepted applicants meet a strict definition of disability.
For the purposes of social security disability insurance, the term “disability” means the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months,” according to 42 U.S.C. 416 Sec 216(i). Examples of physical conditions that may qualify an applicant for social security disability payments include:
- Musculoskeletal conditions such as paralysis
- Respiratory conditions such as chronic asthma and emphysema
- Cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease and heart attacks
- Digestive conditions such as Chron’s disease and pancreatitis
- Immune system disorders such as lupus and HIV
Additionally, mental impairments such as severe depression, anxiety disorders, brain injuries, cognitive defects, and schizophrenia may qualify for social security disability.
How a Skilled Lawyer Could Help
Applying for social security benefits can be a demanding process. Given the high percentage of people who are denied social security disability benefits, a social security disability lawyer in Oak Lawn could be a critical resource by:
- Gathering, evaluating, and presenting medical evidence
- Verifying vocational aspects of a client’s claim (i.e. confirming they cannot meet the rigors of their previous job because of a medical or mental condition)
- Applying for Social Security Disability benefits on a client’s behalf
- Working to obtain past-due benefits
If a person is denied social security benefits, they are entitled to a hearing to appeal the decision. This is another area where an attorney who is familiar with the laws and requirements of applying for social security disability could help.
The Value of an Oak Lawn Social Security Disability Attorney
If you or a loved one are considering filing for social security disability payments, you should understand that the process can be long and complex. An Oak Lawn Social Security disability lawyer could help determine if you are eligible for social security disability benefits and guide you through the process of applying for benefits.
In addition, a social security disability attorney could evaluate the facts of your case and advise you on the best approach to secure benefits, as well as to appeal a denial of benefits. To get started on your case, call today to schedule a consultation.