Social Security Disability Law in Oxford, MS
For people who are disabled and unable to work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) manages disability benefits programs. While Social Security disability benefits can provide much-needed financial relief to disabled persons and their families, the disability claims process is incredibly complex and, unfortunately, thousands of claims are denied every year. If you are disabled and think that you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits, working with a Mississippi Social Security disability lawyer is in your best interests. To learn more, contact The Pearson Law Firm directly today.
Types of Social Security Disability Program
The Social Security Administration maintains two distinct benefit programs for persons with disabilities: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.
- Social Security Disability Insurance. Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is a type of benefit program that offers “insured” disabled persons financial benefits. A person is “insured” under the SSDI program by virtue of having paid into Social Security and having earned enough work credits during their working years. In addition to having earned enough work credits, an individual must meet the definition of a disability in order to receive benefits.
- Supplemental Security Income. Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is another type of disability benefits program that’s administered by the SSA. This type of benefit program is for those who are disabled, aged, or blind. Unlike SSDI, which has eligibility requirements based on earned work credits, SSI eligibility is based on income and resources—this program is specifically designed for those who are of limited income and resources.
How to Qualify for SSDI
In order to qualify for SSDI benefits through the SSA, you must: 1) have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and have enough earned work credits, 2) have a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of a disability.
Earned work credits
The amount of work credits that you need to qualify for SSDI benefits depends on the age you are when your disability begins. In most cases, you must have at least 40 work credits, 20 of which must have been earned in the past 10 years (ending with the year when your disability started). You can earn up to four credits each year, with the amount of work needed to earn a work credit based on your wages/self-employment income.
SSA’s definition of a disability
Even if you have enough work credits, you won’t be able to receive SSDI benefits unless you meet the SSA’s strict definition of disabled. The SSA will determine if you’re disabled based on the following:
- You cannot engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA means work that is both substantial—involves doing significant mental or physical activities—and work that is gainful—work that is done for pay or profit.
- You cannot do the work that you did previously prior to your disabling condition/injury.
- Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
Note that if you have a condition that is listed within the Social Security Administration’s “blue book” of adult listings, you will automatically be considered disabled in the eyes of the SSA.
Information You Need to Apply for Benefits
In order to apply for Social Security disability benefits, you will need to provide the SSA with many documents about yourself and that provide evidence of your disability. Types of information you should be prepared with when filing your application include:
- Social Security number
- Social Security number and information about your spouse
- Information about any children under age 18
- Your bank’s financial information (account number and routing number)
- The name and contact information of your medical provider
- Detailed information about your disability
- Information about your work, including how much money you made last year, your employer’s name (if relevant), a list of jobs you’ve had in the past 15 years, and any information about any other benefits you have received or plan to file for, such as workers’ compensation benefits
In addition to writing down the above information in your application, you’ll also need to provide many personal documents, such as your Social Security card, birth certificate, military discharge papers (if applicable), W-2 forms, tax returns, medical records and other forms of medical evidence, and award/benefit letters.
Why You Need to Work with a Mississippi Social Security Disability Lawyer
While you may be disabled and in need of Social Security disability benefits, the reality is that the Social Security Administration denies tens of thousands of claims each year. If your application is not complete or if there are any elements of your application that may give the SSA cause to doubt the severity or legitimacy of your eligibility, your claim could be denied. While you have the right to appeal a denied claim, having your claim approved the first time you apply is ideal.
When you work with a Mississippi Social Security disability lawyer, your lawyer will:
- Review your situation and your medical evidence
- Make a professional recommendation about which disability benefit program you should apply for—in some cases, people qualify for both SSI and SSDI benefits
- Ensure that your application is filled out in full and has all required attachments
- Help you to file an application that meets what the SSA is looking for
- Represent you in any communications with the SSA—in some cases, the SSA may reach out for additional information or evidence about your medical condition
- Help you to understand the benefit amount you’re entitled to, as well as things like backpay
- Appeal your claim in the event that it is denied
Call The Pearson Law Firm Today
At The Pearson Law Firm, our Social Security disability lawyers in Mississippi understand how important it is to you and your family that you receive the benefits you are legally entitled to under the law. If you think that you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits and are ready to file your application, or if you have recently received notice that your SSI or SSDI claim has been denied, call our law firm immediately at (662) 371-6309. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. You can also visit our law office in person or send us a message online to get started.