Sometimes tragedy can occur and you are forced to cope with an injury or illness that is debilitating and undermines your ability to earn a living. For adults who cannot work due to a health problem, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can provide a lifeline. Unfortunately, filing a claim or appealing one that has been denied can be a difficult and confusing process that does not yield the results you want and the benefits you need to live. Attorney Amanda J. Spencer is a Social Security Disability attorney in San Antonio, TX, with the experience needed to help her clients pursue the full benefits they are due.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability
Most individuals understand Social Security as the retirement benefit you receive at age 65. However, this system also provides other services. Any adult unable to work for a year or more due to illness or injury may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits (Title II) or Supplemental Security benefits (Title XVI). Unlike workers' compensation, an individual does not have to be hurt on the job, or have work-related health problems to qualify for SSD.
SSD benefits are based on money withheld from your earnings and paid to Social Security by your employer over the course of your career. If no money is paid in, then an individual does not accrue benefits. Coverage may exist, but can expire if benefits are not paid in for a long period of time. However, a person who must stop working due to illness or injury may be able to claim benefits, even if several years have passed without money being paid into Social Security.
Some of the conditions covered by SSD are:
- Heart disease and heart failure
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spine disorders or injuries
- Back injuries, or ruptured disks
- Blindness and loss of vision
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Liver disease
- Kidney failure
- Anxiety or depression
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Chronic pain or fibromyalgia
If you qualify for SSD, you must file a claim in order to begin pursuing financial benefits.
The Claims Process
Attorney Amanda J. Spencer can help you initiate the process by filing a claim. Be prepared to have your Social Security number ready and to provide proof of age with a birth certificate. As part of the information Social Security gathers, they will want all of the medical conditions and symptoms you have endured since you became unable to work. You should also have the names and contact information of all the doctors who have treated you.
Do not be shy about discussing your conditions or gloss over any because they may not seem critical or severe enough. All discomforts and health issues you have suffered will form your case and should be disclosed. Working with the Spencer Law Firm during this time can help ensure you provide the full information necessary and that your paperwork is properly completed.
After you application is complete, the Social Security Administration will review your case and either award benefits or notify you that your claim was denied. If you are denied, it is highly recommended that you consult an attorney right away. An experienced social security disability lawyer such as Attorney Amanda J. Spencer is familiar with the appeals process and what evidence is needed to make a strong claim. Claimants who are denied the initial application may request a reconsideration. Each appeal can take several months to hear a response, and often the initial level of review does not yield an immediate reversal of the denial.
The complicated nature of filing and appealing SSD claims means that many people give up, or do not make the strongest case possible. Having an experienced lawyer fighting on your behalf can make all the difference when seeking income that you need to survive.
If a claim is denied after appeal, a hearing can be requested. A judge will consider all of the evidence presented, such as education level, work experience, discomfort, and other issues that may not have factored previously into your case. Following a denial at the hearing level, a claimant can take the matter to the Appeals Council, and then finally to a federal appellate court.
How An Attorney Can Help
Ms. Spencer can help you gather medical evidence, fill out forms correctly, present your case to an Administrative Law Judge, and prepare for all aspects of the claims process. The complicated nature of filing and appealing SSD claims means that many people give up, or do not make the strongest case possible. Having an experienced lawyer fighting on your behalf can make all the difference when seeking income that you need to survive. If you are about to start your SSD claim, or have been denied a claim, reach out online or call (210) 543-0000 today to schedule a free consultation on your legal option.