If you worked and paid into the Social Security system and became disabled, you might be eligible to receive disability benefits. You might also qualify because of your income. The Social Security Disability program runs on two tracks, and knowing which program you qualify for is the first step to potentially having your application be approved.
For either program, the application or appeals process can be overwhelming and involve a mountain of paperwork. Our team of McKinney, Texas social security disability lawyers might be able to help you gather the required documents, submit a complete application, and navigate the submission process. If your application gets denied, our team may help you appeal and fight the financial and medical benefits.
If you would like a McKinney, Texas Social Security Disability lawyer to help you find your way around the application or appeals process, contact the case review team at Underwood Law Office by calling (972) 535-6377 today.
Know Which Disability Program Meets Your Needs
To assist disabled people with financial support, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two disability programs. You might be eligible for one of these benefits programs if you have a disability that makes it impossible for you to work for at least one full year. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), you might also qualify if you have a disability that is expected to result in your death.
A disability lawyer on our team might be able to help you determine the program that most appropriately fits your situation before you start the application process. Our goal is to help disabled individuals acquire the benefits they need when they need them most through the appropriate SSA disability program. These programs include:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): You might qualify for SSDI benefits if you worked enough in recent years to have been “insured.” If you paid Social Security taxes, you might be eligible to receive benefits. You might also be required to meet certain medical needs.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): You might qualify for SSI benefits if you are elderly, blind, or disabled with limited income and resources.
You can review your employment history, current income, financial need, and medical condition with a member of our client care team. We may help you determine which SSD program you may qualify for and guide you throughout the application process.
For a free legal consultation with a social security disability lawyer serving McKinney, call (972) 535-6377
Ease the Application Process by Gathering Required Information
The Social Security Disability application process requires a plethora of paperwork. You can start compiling these items by following SSA guidelines. These documents may include:
- Your birth certificate
- Your Social Security number
- Proof of your U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status
- Your military discharge papers
- Your tax forms and returns
- Your medical records and reports
- Other benefit award letters you have
- Your paycheck stubs
- Contact information of your health care provider(s)
- A detailed list of your illnesses and injuries
- A detailed list of your medications
- A list of your five most recent jobs within the last 15 years
A McKinney, Texas Social Security Disability lawyer may be able to help you submit an application or file an appeal if your initial application was denied. Contact the disability benefits team at Underwood Law Office by calling (972) 535-6377 and start preparing your application for disability benefits today.
McKinney Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me (972) 535-6377
How the Social Security Disability Benefits Application Process Works
Once you have gathered the required information, you can apply for Social Security Disability benefits online, by phone, or in person. The disability benefits application process will not change based on the way you choose to submit your application. The process typically goes as so:
- You gather the full range of required information and documents
- You complete, review, and submit your application
- Your application gets reviewed to ensure it meets primary requirements
- Your application gets processed and sent to the Disability Determination Services office in your state
- Your state’s agency determines your eligibility
According to the SSA, processing your application can take between three and five months. Once a determination is made, you will either receive an acceptance or denial letter. If your application is denied, your fight for benefits does not have to be over.
Let Us Help You Through the Appeals Process
Having your application for disability benefits denied can be a frustrating and stressful experience. A denial, though, does not have to be the end of your fight. Appealing a denied Social Security Disability application happens in four steps:
- A hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- A review by the Appeals Council
- A Federal Court review
According to the SSA, the appeals process may involve the following:
During the first step of the appeals process, your initial application, the evidence submitted with it, and any new evidence you provide will be reviewed by a new set of eyes.
Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge
During the second step of the appeals process, your application is once again reviewed by a new set of eyes, that of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ conducts a hearing at a location convenient to you. You may also be offered an online hearing.
Review by the Appeals Council
During the third step of the appeals process, the Appeals Council reexamines the decision or dismissal recommended by the ALJ. The Appeals Council will review each case but may deny a request if it believes a denial is warranted.
Federal Court Review
During the final step of the appeals process, we may file a civil lawsuit in federal court on your behalf. Your case will go to court, and our team will continue to fight for your potential disability benefits.
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Collin County Social Security Disability Lawyer
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal assistance programs. SSDI is funded by Social Security taxes, and SSI is funded by general tax revenues. To be eligible for either program, you must meet specific age, income, work, and disability criteria.
To learn more about the application process and to determine if you may qualify for benefits, contact the Underwood Law Office at (972) 535-6377. A McKinney, Texas Social Security Disability lawyer can help you apply for benefits or appeal a denial from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
SSDI and SSI Have Separate Eligibility Requirements
The four key eligibility criteria for SSDI and SSI benefits are:
- Work history
SSDI Eligibility Requirements
Since SSDI is funded by Social Security taxes, you only qualify for SSDI benefits if you are insured by the program. To be insured, you must have contributed taxes toward Social Security during your working years.
You must also have an illness, injury, or disability that prevents you from being gainfully employed. The SSA also states that you must be below your normal retirement age since SSDI is meant to compensate insured workers who are injured, disabled, or ill while they cannot work.
SSI Eligibility Requirements
To qualify for SSI benefits, you must be one of the following:
- Aged 65 or older
- Blind, whether totally or partially
- Disabled or have a medical condition that prevents you from working and is expected to last for at least 12 months or until death
SSI applicants must also:
- Have assets worth less than $2,000 for individuals and children
- Have assets worth less than $3,000 for couples
- Have an income of less than $783 per month for individuals
- Have an income of less than $1,175 per month for couples
SSDI Applicants Must Also Meet Work Requirements
When you work in an occupation in which you pay Social Security taxes, you earn work credits. Applicants must complete a recent work test and duration work test, which measures how many work credits they need to qualify for SSDI benefits.
Work credit requirements can range from as low as six work credits in a three-year period for people younger than 24 to at least 20 credits for people older than 31. Your lawyer can explain how many work credits you must have to qualify for benefits.
There are no work requirements for SSI.
If you’d like to discuss your case with a member of our team, you can reach the Underwood Law Office today at (972) 535-6377. A Collin County Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm may be able to help you fight for benefits.
The SSA Determines Eligibility Based on Disability
The SSA will determine your eligibility for benefits by asking about the five items below:
Earning over $1,260 per month in 2020 precludes you from receiving benefits. SSDI applicants who are not employed in any capacity may have their applications sent to a Disability Determination Service office (DDS). The DDS makes case decisions based on applicants’ health conditions, disability listings, ability to perform old tasks, and ability to perform new tasks.
For SSI, if you are an individual and earn more than $783 per month despite being above the age of 65 (or if you are a couple and earn over $1,175 per month), you do not qualify for benefits.
Both SSDI and SSI require applicants to have health conditions that prevent them from performing basic tasks, such as walking, sitting, lifting, standing, and remembering. Your condition must prevent you from performing such tasks for a minimum of one year, or they must result in serious functional limitations.
Conditions that meet this criterion are forwarded by the SSA or DDS to the next step of the evaluation process.
The SSA only provides SSDI benefits for certain health issues, which they detail in their adult listings. These impairments are very specific conditions that prevent the individual from engaging in substantial gainful activity. If you suffer from a condition that is covered by the program, you may pass this step of the process.
However, if your condition is not covered, the SSA must decide if the condition you suffer from has at least the same or similar implications on your health and ability to work. If it does, you may be classified as disabled. If not, you move on to the next step of the assessment process.
The assessment for SSI is similar, but you are assessed on your loss of body function, not your ability to work.
Ability to Perform Old Tasks
SSDI focuses more on how much your condition affects your ability to work. In this stage, the SSA evaluates whether you can perform work or tasks that you used to perform in the past despite your health condition. If your ailment does not affect your ability to perform, you will not be classified as disabled. If it does, you move on to the final step of the assessment process.
There are no work/task-related assessments for SSI.
Ability to Perform New Tasks
If you are unable to work the way you used to work before becoming ill, injured, or disabled, the SSA will evaluate your ability to perform other forms of work. This involves an assessment of your overall health condition, your injuries and/or disabilities, your age, your education, your work experience, and the work skills you might have. If you cannot transfer any of your skills to other jobs, you will be classified as disabled. If you can transfer your skills, your claim may be denied.
For SSI, you are not screened based on your work history. Instead, the SSA assesses your disability and may provide you with work opportunities to earn income. You might still be eligible for the program despite your work history as long as you meet the income, asset, and disability requirements of the program.
You Might Be Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits
Our team at Underwood Law Office may help you navigate each step of the application and appeals process. A McKinney, Texas Social Security Disability lawyer can fight hard for you to receive the disability benefits you need.
Contact a team member at Underwood Law Office by calling (972) 535-6377 today.