If you suffer from a debilitating condition, you could qualify for Social Security benefits. Disability benefits can assist individuals of all ages who cannot work due to injury or illness. As a Social Security disability attorney near Minden, Phillip M. Hendry has worked with hundreds of Social Security disability applicants across Northwest Louisiana. Contact him immediately to increase your chances of obtaining benefits.
Social Security Benefit Programs
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two programs where you may obtain disability benefits:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – Based on your work history (you must have worked long enough and recently enough), the SSA determines your monthly SSDI benefits by your average earnings over your working years.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – Strictly based on financial need (low income) rather than work history, you must have and maintain a limited income and resources to receive SSI benefits.
A Social Security disability attorney near Minden can help you determine which program best fits you.
You must meet the eligibility requirements, like citizenship, age, residency, and employment (SSDI) or financial need (SSI). Most importantly, you must meet SSA’s definition of “disability.”
The SSA will deem you disabled if you have a:
- Medically-determinable physical or mental impairment;
- The impairment is expected to result in death or has lasted, or expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months; and,
- The impairment prevents you from engaging in any “substantial gainful activity” (SGA).
There is no SGA requirement if you are under the age of 18. However, your impairment must result in marked and severe functional limitations.
SSA recognizes numerous impairments as disabling, which are listed in the Compassionate Allowances List (CAL) and the Listing of Impairments.
Compassionate Allowances List
Conditions falling under CAL are usually expedited. These conditions generally are so severe that simple diagnosis will automatically qualify you for disability benefits, such as:
- Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Acute leukemia
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Specific cancers
Some listings specify how severe your condition must be to qualify for benefits. For example, some cancers qualify only if it progresses or metastasizes. Not all severe or potentially fatal illnesses, such as AIDS, qualify for CAL. A knowledgeable Social Security disability attorney near Minden can help you determine whether your condition falls under the CAL.
Listing of Impairments
You must meet certain criteria before your condition is considered disabling for impairments listed under the Listing of Impairments, such as:
- Back or neck issues
- Emotional and mental health issues, including depression and anxiety
- Certain heart and lung conditions
A Social Security disability attorney near Minden can help you determine whether you have met all of the criteria under the Listing of Impairments.
There are a few medical conditions that automatically qualify as a disability with just proof of their occurrence, such as cochlear implant, or transplants of certain organs. SSA will reassess your condition after a year to determine whether you still qualify for disability.
You can still receive benefits for impairments that are “equal” to a listing in the Listing of Impairment if your:
- Listed impairment does not meet the specific criteria of the listing but you have other related medical conditions that are of “equal medical value” as the listing’s criteria.
- Impairment is not listed but is similar and “medically equal” to those outlined in one of the disability listings.
- Combination of impairments, none of which individually meet a disability listing, has the combined effect that is “medically equal” to a similar listing.
A Social Security disability attorney near Minden will review your medical records and help you prepare a persuasive package to show that your condition(s) is “medically equal” to a condition found in the Listing of Impairments.
“Substantial Gainful Activity” Defined?
To qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits, you must prove you are unable to obtain substantial and gainful work activity. “Substantial” could be either full- or part-time work, so long as the average earning is over a determinable amount ($1,170 per month in 2017). You could still work while receiving benefits if your earnings are less than this amount.
Gainful work activity is work:
- Performed for profit or pay, or
- Intended for profit, even if profit is not actually obtained, or
- Of a nature generally performed for profit or pay.
The SSA will review your condition, skills, work history, education and age when determining whether you are able to obtain SGA. A Social Security disability attorney near Minden can review this information with you.
Contact a Social Security Disability Attorney Near Minden
A skilled Social Security disability attorney near Minden can help you gather the necessary information and documents SSA requires. This may increase your chances of successful application or appeal. You pay nothing until you receive approval for benefits, paid out of the retroactive lump sum calculated from when your application was pending. Contact Phillip M. Hendry Law at 318-524-8469 today.