If you suffer from a serious illness or injury that prevents you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. With the help of a Social Security disability attorney near Monroe, you can increase your chances of obtaining disability benefits. Attorney Phillip M. Hendry has both extensive experience and knowledge with helping hundreds of Social Security disability applicants throughout Louisiana to receive benefits.
Social Security Disability Programs
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two programs that allow disabled applicants to obtain benefits. These are the following:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – Eligibility for SSDI benefits is dependent on your previous work history. The SSA bases your benefits on the average income on which you paid Social Security taxes over a period of years.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – Unlike SSDI, SSI is based upon financial need, not your work history. You must have and maintain a limited income and resource to qualify for and continue receiving SSI benefits.
A Social Security disability attorney near Monroe can review your circumstances to help you determine which program is best for your situation.
To be eligible for disability benefits, you must meet several basic requirements, such as citizenship, residence, age, and employment or financial need. You must also meet the legal definition of “disability.”
- You must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment;
- Your impairment must be expected to result in death or have lasted, or be excepted to last, for at least a continuous 12 months period;
- Your impairment must prevent you from engaging in any “substantial gainful activity” (SGA).
What Is Considered Substantial Work Activity?
“Substantial” work activity may be either full or part-time employment, so long as your individual total income does not exceed SSA’s predetermined amount. For 2018, the predetermined amount is $1,180 for non-blind applicants, and $1,970 for blind applicants.
What Is Considered Gainful Activity?
“Gainful activity” refers to employment that is:
- Performed for pay or for profit;
- Intended for profit even if you do not actually receive a profit; or,
- The type usually performed for pay or profit.
Types of Impairments
SSA’s Compassionate Allowances List (CAL) and the Listing of Impairments outline conditions that SSA recognizes as disabling impairments.
Compassionate Allowances List
Impairments listed in the CAL are conditions that SSA recognizes as so severe that the mere diagnosis is sufficient for the condition to be considered “disabling” and qualify you for disability benefits. Examples include the following:
- Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Acute Leukemia
In most cancer cases, SSA will consider the cancer to be disabling if your medical evidence shows that your cancer has either progressed or metastasized.
List of Impairments
Conditions on the List of Impairments are not as severe as those on the CAL. Examples include the following:
- Back and/or neck problems
- Emotion and/or mental health issues, i.e., depression or anxiety
- Heart and/or lung problems
Unlike conditions on the CAL, SSA will not automatically consider your condition as “disabling” if it is on the List of Impairments. Rather, you must meet certain criterion specified in the listing.
You may have a condition that is not identified in either the CAL or List of Impairments, does not satisfy the criterion specified in the lists, or you have a combination of ailments that individually would not be considered “disabling.” If so, a Social Security disability attorney near Monroe can develop a strategy to persuasively argue that your condition(s) is “medically equal” to those identified in the List of Impairments.
Call a Social Security Disability Attorney New Monroe for a Free Consultation
It is not unusual for initial claims for disability benefits to be denied, but don’t wait for the denial before retaining legal assistance. Seek the expertise of a Social Security disability attorney near Monroe by contacting Phillip M. Hendry Law at (318) 524-8469 now.