Social Security Insurance Attorney
Approximately 56.7 million people across the United States report having some form of disability, according to Americans with Disabilities: 2010, a report published by the U.S. Census Bureau. To be sure, this means that nearly one in five people across the country may have some form of impairment that keeps them from working at their full capacity, and, in many cases, may prevent them from performing any work at all.
Fortunately, the United States government, through the Social Security Administration (SSA), offers support for those in the country who have disabilities and who are unable to provide for themselves and their loved ones. This support is issued through the Social Security program; and, more specifically, through one of two programs: Social Security Disability insurance, or Supplemental Security Income. Each of these has a purpose, and has its own specific eligibility requirements, as well.
Of course, in an ideal world, those with disabilities would be able to quickly apply for and receive the benefits they need to ensure their well-being. However, the system in the United States is not so simple; instead, many disabled U.S. citizens find their claim denied by the SSA, and are required to work diligently to appeal the decision in order to acquire benefits. Because of this, anyone who believes they may be eligible for some type of Social Security benefits should reach out to a skilled attorney who has experience handling these types of claims. Additionally, before moving forward in the process, it is highly encouraged that disability applicants have a basic understanding of the types of Social Security available, as well as what to expect in the future.
Social Security Disability
As mentioned above, Social Security Disability insurance is one of the two programs administered by the SSA. According to the SSA, “the Social Security Disability insurance program pays benefits to you and certain family members if you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.” This means that not everyone who has a disability will qualify; only those who have contributed enough to the tax system.
How much must be paid in Social Security taxes in order to qualify for these benefits? The SSA determines this based on the applicant’s age, as well as how many years they performed work that contributed to the Social Security program. For example, if an applicant becomes disabled at age 46, then they must have paid Social Security taxes for six years. If an applicant becomes disabled at 58, however, they must have contributed for nine years.
Furthermore, eligibility also depends on when the tax payments were made, as well; more specifically, the SSA requires that the work have been performed within a certain time of the applicant becoming disabled.
Ultimately, determining eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits can be complicated, and submitting a claim can be even more complex. Because of this, it is highly advised that applicants retain the services of an experienced attorney before moving any further in the process.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the second benefits program operated by the SSA. Unlike Social Security Disability, SSI does not require an individual to pay taxes before becoming eligible to receive benefits. Instead, it is a needs-based program and is awarded to those who have low income or resources and are age 65 or older, blind, or disabled.
There is not one set income that the SSA uses to determine eligibility for SSI applicants across the country. Because the cost of living varies so widely across the United States, eligibility depends on income limits in each state. Furthermore, the SSA does not count all income that an applicant receives when determining eligibility. Income that is not counted towards SSI eligibility includes:
- The first $20 of nearly all income received by an applicant;
- The first $65 per month earned in a month, as well as half the amount over that number;
- Food stamp benefits (now known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP]);
- Shelter provided by private nonprofit organizations; and
- Home energy assistance.
However, applicants who are married must include part of their spouse’s income or resources when examining eligibility; and those who are under 18 must include some of the resources and income of their parents.
How an Attorney Can Help Recover Benefits in a Social Security Claim
There is no denying that applying for either Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits is an incredibly complex process that requires both diligence and patience. Indeed, applicants must ensure that they include correct information in their initial submission; otherwise, they run the risk of facing a denial and being unable to obtain the benefits they need to survive.
It is for this reason that those who seek to benefit from these programs should reach out to a skilled attorney immediately. A legal professional will be able to examine the specifics of the claim, and present all the information in an accurate and concise manner to ensure its success.
Of course, as mentioned above, many claims are initially denied, often because the applicant included incorrect or misleading information, or even due to a mistake made by the SSA. In this situation, the applicant has the right to file an appeal with the SSA in order to reverse the decision.
Filing an appeal is not a simple task, however. In reality, filing an appeal for Social Security benefits requires a trained eye and significant experience with the claims process, both of which can be provided by a dedicated legal professional.
Don’t Face the SSA without an Advocate by Your Side
If you or a loved one is in need of Social Security benefits, don’t hesitate to contact us today at the Gardner Law Firm, P.C. Our dedicated attorneys have years of experience serving clients in Biloxi, Pascagoula, Hattiesburg, and the surrounding areas, and we will go to work on your behalf immediately to help ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. Call us today at 228-436-6555 (Biloxi), 228-762-6555 (Pascagoula), or 601-582-4300 (Hattiesburg).