If your Social Security Disability (SSD) application was denied or you have questions about disability benefits, it is important to talk to a licensed attorney. The legal team at Jay Trucks and Associates has extensive knowledge about eligibility for benefits, filing an appeal for a denied application, the different programs for applicants and common reasons why applications are denied. We can answer your questions in a free consultation and are prepared to help you through the process at no upfront cost.
Over more than 30 years of representing Michigan residents, we have an established track record of recovering compensation for our clients. We understand how important disability benefits are for those who cannot work to support themselves and their families.
There is no obligation with your free consultation, so there is no risk to you.
Our Traverse City Social Security Disability lawyers are here to help. (800) 762-8623
Eligibility for Social Security Disability
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has specific eligibility criteria for those who apply for disability benefits. If you cannot prove you meet the criteria, you will be ineligible for benefits.
Each benefit program has specific eligibility requirements, but generally you must have a medical condition that is included in the SSA list of impairments or a condition that fits the criteria for one of the impairments on this list. You cannot receive benefits for a short-term disability – your medical condition must have lasted one year, or be expected to last one year, or result in your death.
You must also be unable to work or unable to work enough to earn more than the monthly limit set by the SSA in the month you are applying. If you are unable to do your old job, you must also be unable to do another type of work because of your disability.
Applicants under 18 years of age may qualify for benefits if they have a qualifying medical condition and it severely limits their activities, physically or mentally. The SSA defines these conditions in its childhood impairment listing.
Have questions about whether you may be eligible? Call our firm today: (800) 762-8623.
Benefit Programs Available
If you are suffering from a disability and want to apply for federal benefits, you may not realize there are different types of programs you can apply for.
When people refer to SSD benefits, they are often mean Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. This program is meant for people who were working and, because of an accident or developing condition, are no longer able to work. Applicants to this program must have worked enough to accumulate a certain number of work credits based on their age.
Usually, you need to have a minimum of 40 work credits, and you must have earned 20 of those credits in the last 10 years. However, applicants under the age of 24 may qualify if they earned six credits in the three years before their disability started. Applicants between ages 24 and 31 may qualify by having credits for half the time between age 21 and when they apply. The number of work credits needed between age 31 and 42 is 20, and this number increases by one for every year you age.
Supplemental Security Income
There are other programs besides the SSDI program. For example, there is Supplemental Security Income for those with disabilities who have very little, if any work history and limited assets (no more than $2,000 in assets for individual applicants and $3,000 for couples).
If you are thinking about applying for this program because of your limited work history, you may be concerned that you are over the asset limit. However, your home and car are not counted as assets. There are complex rules on assets under this program, and our licensed Traverse City Social Security Disability lawyers are available to discuss them with you.
Disabled Adult Child Benefits
If you or your child is between the age of 18 and 22 and is suffering from a medical condition that severely limits his or her activities, he or she may qualify for benefits. Applicants can work but cannot earn more than the substantial gainful activity limit.
If you are over the age of 60 and your spouse was receiving benefits before he or she died, you may qualify for benefits on your deceased spouse’s earnings record. The age limit is lowered to 50 if you also have a qualifying medical condition.
You will need your deceased spouse’s birth and death certificates, along with Social Security numbers and most recent tax return.
Information You Need to Apply for Benefits
Before starting the application process, it is often a good idea to talk to an experienced attorney about your situation. The attorneys at Jay Trucks and Associates are prepared to help guide you through the process. This includes helping you gather information for your application, such as:
- Last W-2 you received
- Social Security number
- Proof of your age
- Documentation and summary of your work history
- Medical records, including records from hospitals, doctors’ offices, therapists, caseworkers, etc.
- Names and dosages of your prescription medications
- Proof of your marriage, if applying with your spouse
- Proof of the age of any family members who may be applying with you
- Contact information for the health care professionals who have provided treatment for your disability
- Test results that may help prove your diagnosis
You can apply for benefits over the phone, online or in-person at your local Social Security Administration office. The SSA has a toll-free number to call: 1-800-772-1213. The SSA office in Traverse City is located at 1329 S Division St.
Contact our Traverse City Social Security Disability attorneys to learn how we may be able to assist you. (800) 762-8623
Typical Reasons Why Applications are Denied
One of the main advantages of hiring experienced legal representation is they can draw on their knowledge of why claims are often denied and help you build a stronger application. Our attorneys can review your application to correct any minor errors and determine when you may need more evidence about your disability and how it affects you physically or mentally.
Not Enough Medical Evidence
This is one of the most common reasons for a denial. You need detailed evidence, including doctor’s notes and treatment records, to show your medical condition fits the criteria for one of the SSA listings. You may get a false sense of security after going through a medical exam requested by the SSA. However, the exam my not be enough.
A Previous Application was Already Denied
Generally, it is best to appeal a denied application instead of filing a new one. If you were already denied once, the SSA will know about it and is likely to deny you again.
Earning too Much Money
You cannot earn more than the substantial gainful activity limit (SGA limit) in the year you are applying for benefits, and this limit changes each year. In 2020, applicants cannot earn more than $2,110 if they are statutorily blind or $1260 if they are not blind.
Failing to Seek Treatment
Applicants need to make reasonable effort to receive treatment for their medical condition and try to improve their condition. That may mean taking a medication prescribed by a doctor, using mobility aids, or taking other steps recommended by doctors to help manage your physical or mental limitations. The claims examiner needs this information to determine it is your disability that is preventing you from working.
Failing to Cooperate with the SSA
If documents are requested, or you are asked to undergo an exam, make sure to do it and be as cooperative as possible. Show up on time and do not skip appointments as this may reflect poorly on your application.
Drug and alcohol abuse may cause an application to be denied as well. However, if you have a substance abuse problem in addition to your disability, and your disability was not caused by your substance abuse, you may still qualify for benefits. It is important to be forthcoming about it.
My Claim Was Denied. What do I do Now?
You have just 60 days from the date your application was denied to file an appeal. Jay Trucks and Associates is ready to take your call anytime, night or day, to schedule a free consultation. If you hire us to represent you, we are prepared to manage every step of the appeals process.
The first appeal is called a Request for Reconsideration. A claims examiner not involved in reviewing your initial application will reconsider evidence already provided, along with any new evidence you submit.
If the examiner upholds the denial, you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You or your attorney can submit new evidence at the hearing and will likely be questioned by the judge. Your attorney can help prepare you for the hearing to help you present a strong argument to the judge.
The next step, if the ALJ decides to uphold the denial of your application, is to request a hearing in front of the appeals council. The council can decide to hear your claim or send you to another ALJ for an second hearing.
The final option for an appeal is to file a lawsuit in federal court. Unfortunately, no new evidence may be submitted at this stage of the process.
Has your application been denied? Our Traverse City Social Security Disability lawyers are ready to help. Call us today at (800) 762-8623.
Are Military Veterans Eligible for Social Security Disability?
You can apply for SSD benefits while receiving disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, you are not automatically eligible for SSD benefits simply because you are eligible for veterans’ benefits. That is because the SSD program is for people who are totally disabled, while veterans can be much less disabled than those on SSD benefits and still qualify for VA benefits.
If you are 70 percent disabled according to VA ratings, you may meet SSD requirements and qualify for benefits. However, if your rating is lower, you are less likely to be approved for SSD benefits.
If you became disabled during your military service on or after October 1, 2001, you are eligible for an accelerated application process.
Are Benefits Available if I am Still Working?
Yes, you can still work and receive SSDI benefits. There is no restriction on the number of hours or days you are permitted to work. However, you cannot earn more than the SGA limit in the year you are applying.
This is a complex issue that should be discussed with your attorney. After reviewing your situation, our attorneys can determine if you may still qualify based on how much you are working, your disability and your earnings history.
Ticket to Work Program
If you want to keep working while receiving benefits, you should consider applying for the Ticket to Work program. The purpose of this program is to help people with disabilities get back into the workforce and become financially independent, all while still receiving your benefits.
When you are participating in the program the SSA cannot do any continuing disability reviews.
You are not eligible for this program if you have already received a continuing disability review.
When Should I Expect to Receive Benefits?
It takes between 30 and 60 days from the date of the approval of your application to receive your first check. If it has been more than 90 days and you have not received a check, it is important to contact your attorney so he or she can inquire about what is going on.
Call a Traverse City Social Security Disability Lawyer Today
Even a small error could lead to your application for benefits being denied. You should seriously consider reviewing your application with a licensed attorney, particularly if your application has already been denied. There is limited time to appeal, and we are ready to take your call anytime, so do not hesitate to contact us.
In over 30 years serving residents across the state of Michigan, we have established a track record of success, recovering more than $500 in compensation on behalf of our clients.
The initial consultation is free, and if we validate your claim, there is no upfront cost for hiring us to represent you. We only get paid if you receive benefits. There is no risk in contacting us to find out how we may be able to assist you.