Unable to Work? Disability Benefits Can Help
Lafayette Social Security Disability Lawyer Explains SSI and SSDI
After an injury, if you are unable to work, then you may be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). These are monthly payments that can help cover cost of living expenses like rent and grocery bills. In order to qualify for this program, you must apply and complete an application giving information about your medical condition, work history, and education. While the application process can be difficult and confusing, it is important to give the Social Security Administration (SSA) complete and thorough information so they can make the initial determination.
Whether you are facing a long period of rehabilitation or will never be able to work again, we can help get you the benefits you deserve. One of our attorneys, Jason Weaver, has dedicated much of his practice to helping those disabled either by accidents at work or by chronic, disabling conditions. As a Social Security disability lawyer in Lafayette, Jason has been able to help many residents of Lake Charles, Sulphur and Calcasieu Parish get the financial help they need during difficult times.
How Do I Qualify for Disability Benefits?
There are many reasons why you may need to apply for disability benefits. For example, you may be unable to work due to a serious personal injury or debilitating illness. However, in order to qualify as disabled under the rules of the Social Security Administration, you must meet the requirements of a five- step evaluation process. The Social Security Administration determines disability based on its own definition. While your doctor or other healthcare provider may have stated you are disabled, this does not mean you are automatically disabled under the rules of the Social Security Administration. However, your doctor’s opinion of your ability to work is important and can carry great weight in the ultimate decision of whether you are disabled under the rules of the Administration.
What are the Five Steps Used by the SSA?
The five steps to the evaluation process are:
- Substantial Gainful Activity. You can get disability benefits while you continue to work but only if that work is not considered a substantial gainful activity (SGA). The SSA sets new income limits each year to define what counts as an SGA. In general, if you make less than this limit, you can qualify for benefits.
- Severe Impairment. Your condition or injury must be a severe impairment in order for you to be eligible for disability payments. This step often includes a medical evaluation or report from your doctor.
- Listed Impairment. The SSA has a list of conditions that meet their requirements for a disability. However, even if your condition is not included, you could still qualify for benefits.
- Past Relevant Work. If you are still able to perform past relevant work, you will likely receive a disability denial. This includes any work you performed in the past 15 years. Since the SSA will have to investigate your work history, as well as your condition, this step can be complex.
- Work Eligibility. Even if you cannot perform past relevant work, you may still be able to work at a different job entirely. If there are a large number of jobs you could perform, then the SSA will likely deny your disability claim. However, this step will take into account many different factors, including your age, experience and education.
What is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?
The Social Security Administration actually offers two different kinds of disability benefits to those unable to work. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a need-based program designed to help those with a low income. SSI benefits do not require you to have a work history or to pay into Social Security through payroll taxes. However, Supplemental Security Income payments are usually lower than other benefits.
Payroll taxes (FICA) funds the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. In order to receive these benefits, you must have contributed to these taxes. This means you need to have at least some work history. The amount of money you can get through Social Security Disability Insurance payments depends partially on how much you have paid into the program throughout your life. However, the SSA alters the maximum benefit amount every year.
A Lafayette Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help You Apply for Benefits Today
The process of applying for disability benefits is complex. Many people receive denials the first time. However, a Louisiana Social Security disability lawyer like those at our law firm can make all the difference. We have experience helping people through this process. Our law firm can tell you what you can do to give you the best chance of approval. We can also help you file your disability application and will stand by you through your evaluation.
If you need help filing for Social Security disability benefits in Lafayette, Lake Charles or Calcasieu County, contact us today. Fill out an online review form or call one of our local offices to schedule a free consultation.