Tupelo Social Security Disability Attorneys
If you are disabled and unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Administered by the Social Security Administration, Social Security disability benefits provide a monetary cash benefit for those who are unable to earn an income due to a disability. While you may be eligible for benefits, the application process is very complex, and a large percentage of disability claims are denied each year.
At the office of The Pearson Law Firm, our Tupelo Social Security disability attorney can help you with your disability claim. We work on a contingency fee basis and can start working on your claim today. Call us now to get started.
SSI & SSDI Benefits
Social Security disability benefits are available through two disability programs administered through the SSA:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Supplemental Security Income provides monetary monthly payments to both adults and children who are blind, disabled, or aged and who are of limited income and resources. In some cases, an individual can receive both SSI and SSDI benefits.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Unlike SSI benefits, which are specifically designed for those with limited income and resources, SSDI benefits are paid to you if you are “insured” by virtue of working in a job where you paid Social Security taxes on your earnings and having earned enough work credits. In most cases, a person will need to have at least 40 work credits (a person can earn four credits per year) in order to receive benefits, 20 of which must have been earned in the past 10 years before the disability was incurred. You do not have to be of limited income and resources to receive SSDI benefits, but you cannot be engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA).
How “Disability” Is Defined By the SSA
In order to be considered disabled by the SSA, you must have an impairment found in the listing of impairments maintained by the SSA, or you must have a disability that prevents you from engaging in SSA, and the disability must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
“Substantial gainful activity” is defined as activity that is both:
- Substantial: involves doing significant mental or physical work or both
- Gainful: work performed for pay or profit and work intended for profit, whether or not a profit is realized
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
You can apply for Social Security disability benefits online, in person, or over the phone. When you apply for benefits, you will need to be prepared with information about yourself, your spouse and any children under age 18, and your medical condition. Here’s how the process works after you have submitted your application:
- After you have submitted your application for benefits, it will be reviewed by the SSA to determine whether it meets the SSA’s basic requirements for disability benefits, including whether you have enough work credits to apply for SSDI.
- After the SSA has determined that you meet the basic requirements, it will forward your application to the offices for Disability Determination Services in your state. This is because the state agency is responsible for making the ultimate determination about your eligibility for benefits.
- Once Disability Determination Services (DDS) makes a determination about your application, you will be notified in the mail. You can check the status of your application online at any time throughout the process, or by calling the Social Security Administration directly.
- If you have been approved for benefits, then you may be entitled to back pay for the weeks it took to approve your application.
- If your application has been denied, then you have the right to start the appeals process. You must start the appeals process within 60 days of receiving notice of your claim status.
Appealing a Social Security Disability Decision
It is not uncommon for the Social Security Administration to deny disability claims. In fact, there are thousands of claims denied every year. If your claim has been denied, you have the right to appeal the decision if you believe it was made in error. The appeals process must be commenced within two months (60 days) of receiving notice of your claim being denied. There are four levels of appeal:
- Reconsideration. The first step in the appeals process is called reconsideration. This process simply involves asking DDS to reconsider its decision. You may submit more evidence to support your claim that you want to be considered.
- Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. If the reconsideration does not resolve in your favor, the second stage in the appeals process is requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, or ALJ. During a hearing, you have the right to present evidence, call witnesses, and make a statement about your case and why you think your claim should be approved. If you are requesting a hearing before an ALJ, it is strongly recommended that you seek representation from an experienced Social Security disability appeals attorney.
- Review by Social Security Appeals Council. The third stage in the appeals process is a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. This process will involve the appeals council reviewing the decision of the ALJ to see if there were any errors made or evidence overlooked.
- Review by federal courts. Finally, if the appeals council does not make a decision in your favor, your final option is to seek a review of your case before a federal court.
Call The Pearson Law Firm Today
Receiving disability benefits when you are unable to work is essential to your ability to provide for yourself and your family. At The Pearson Law Firm, our Tupelo Social Security disability attorney understands how important disability benefits are to your life, but also understands that the process is very complex. If you are in the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits, working with an attorney can help to improve the chances of your claim being approved the first time around.
For the legal help you need, call our law firm directly. We work on a contingency fee basis and always offer free consultations. You can reach us at (662) 371-6309, by sending us a message online or by visiting our Oxford law office firm in person.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.