If you currently suffer from a debilitating medical condition and therefore cannot work due to injury or illness, a Social Security disability attorney near Ruston may be able to help you. Attorney Phillip M. Hendry has represented hundreds of Social Security disability applicants throughout Louisiana. He has both the knowledge and expertise to help you obtain the benefits you deserve.
Disability Benefit Programs
You may be able to obtain disability benefits through one of the following programs which the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers the following:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – SSDI is based upon your prior work history. The SSA calculates your monthly benefits by averaging all of your earnings over your working years.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – SSI is based upon financial need. It is not based upon your prior work history. In order for you to receive SSI benefits, you must have and maintain a limited income and have a limited number of resources available.
A Social Security disability attorney near Ruston can examine your unique situation and subsequently help you decide which program best suits your individual needs.
Eligibility for Benefits
In order for you to be eligible to receive disability benefits, you must meet the citizenship, age, residence, employment, and/or financial need requirements imposed by law. Moreover, you must fall within the legal definition of “disabled.” This means the following:
- You must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment;
- The impairment must have lasted – or be expected to last – for a continuous period of at least 12 months. In the alternative, the impairment must be expected to result in death;
- The impairment must prevent you from working – or from engaging in any “substantial gainful activity.”
Substantial activity may be either full-time or part-time work, as long as your average earnings exceed a pre-determined amount. For 2017, that amount is $1,170 per month. Gainful activity refers to work that meets one of the following requirements. It is:
- Performed for pay or for profit;
- Intended for profit (even in cases where the worker never actually receives a profit);
- The type of work that is generally performed for pay or for profit.
Types of Impairments
The SSA recognizes certain impairments as disabling. These impairments are outlined in both the Compassionate Allowances List (CAL) and the SSA’s Listing of Impairments. Illnesses on the Compassionate Allowances List are so severe that a simple diagnosis will be sufficient to qualify you for disability benefits. Those illnesses include the following:
- Lou Gehrig’s disease,
- acute leukemia,
- Alzheimer’s disease,
- cancer, and
- other serious illnesses.
In many cases, cancer will only qualify you in the event it metastasizes or progresses.
The SSA’s Listing of Impairments includes neck and back conditions, emotional and mental health issues (e.g., depression and anxiety), arthritis, and heart and lung conditions. In order for the SSA to consider your condition to be disabling, you must first meet certain criteria. A Social Security disability attorney near Ruston can help you determine whether or not you have met the necessary criteria under the Listing.
In some cases, your listed impairment may not satisfy the required criteria, the list may not have your specific impairment, or you may have a combination of smaller, non-listed impairments. In these cases, a Social Security disability attorney near Ruston can help you develop a persuasive legal argument in order to show that your condition is “medically equal” to a listed condition.
Call a Social Security Disability Attorney Near Ruston Today for a Legal Consultation
Proving your right to disability benefits can be both a long and tedious process without experienced legal representation. Attorney Phillip M. Hendry can lend his knowledge and expertise to help you obtain the benefits you deserve. Contact a Social Security disability attorney near Ruston by calling Phillip M. Hendry Law at (318) 575-0763, for a free legal consultation.