|Social Security Disability Benefits
You may qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits if:
- You can't work due to a serious medical condition or injury, and
- You have worked long enough.
Our law firm can help you:
- Improve your chances of getting benefits
- Get the maximum benefits you are due
- Obtain medical records
- Complete your application and supporting documents
- File your Appeal if you get denied benefits
- Prepare for and attend any hearings, including representing you in Federal
Court, if needed
What is the difference between Social Security Disability (SSDI) and
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
to you and certain family members if you have worked long enough to earn
- The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program pays monthly benefits
sufficient work credits and paid Social sufficient Security taxes.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program
which is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have limited
income and resources provide for basic necessities such as food, clothing, and
shelter. Click here to access the Benefit Eligible Screening Tool to determine if
you qualify for SSI benefits.
- The biggest difference between Disability benefits and SSI is that Disability
benefits are only available to workers who have paid sufficient social security
taxes deducted from their paychecks. SSI benefits are available to low-income
individuals who have either never worked or who haven't earned enough work
credits to qualify for SSDI.
Disability Process Stages
1. Initial Application
The process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits, starts with you filing
claim with the Social Security Administration. This can be done by visiting the local
office, by phone or online. Each method has benefits. Applying online or by phone may
be more convenient and allow you to avoid waiting for an appointment at the disability
office. By applying online, you can start your application and save your progress if you
want to take a break and finish the application later without starting over. The average
time frame for a decision on your initial application is approximately 3-5 months.
While the initial approval rating is below 50%, this should not mean you are not
entitled to benefits. There can be many reasons why you are not initially approved.
You may have a legitimate claim for disability benefits, but insufficient medical
documentation to prove your condition, or that the condition is expected to last at least
a year. Whatever the reason, don't give up if your medical condition and symptoms are
severe enough to prevent you from working.
2. Request For Reconsideration
If you get denied on a reconsideration, you need to immediately file a request for
hearing, which is the second stage of the process. Just because you receive a denial
letter, it doesn't mean you are not disabled. Many people get frustrated and give up.
Don't let that be you. The deadline to file this appeal is 60 days of getting the denial of
your initial application. Don't waste time. Get your paperwork filed immediately.
3. Administrative Hearing
This third step involves requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. In
most social security cases, this will be your only opportunity to meet face to face with
the person who will decide if you are disabled. You will be able to explain your case
and give testimony about your medical conditions. You will be allowed to provide
live testimony at the hearing, including witnesses who can provide information about
your medical conditions and their effect on your ability to work and/or complete
everyday work tasks.
If you don't have an attorney by this point, get one. It doesn't guarantee approval, but
helps your chances at this critical stage in the disability process, where many cases that
were initially denied are approved at this stage.
It may take up to 24 months or more to get from the initial application to a hearing
before an Administrative Law Judge, so it is important that you don't miss a step.
4. Appeals Council
If you are denied or disagree with the hearing decision, you may ask for a review by
Social Security’s Appeals Council.
The Appeals Council looks at all requests for review, but it may deny a request if it
believes the hearing decision was correct. If the Appeals Council decides to review
your case, it will either decide your case itself or return it to an administrative law
judge for further review.
Because the Appeals Council reviews cases for several different states, it can take up
to 18 months or more to get a decision from their office.
5. Federal Court
If you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision or if the Appeals Council decides
not to review your case, you may file a lawsuit in a federal district court. This takes
time, but may be necessary to protect your right to benefits. We handle cases in
What can we do to help you?
The Social Security Disability application process is very long and complicated. If you are suffering
from a physical or mental condition, the wait can be excruciating. With family depending on you, this
long process can add to your family stress and financial hardship. You and your family need the back
pay and monthly benefits paid by Social Security, and these are benefits you have earned through
years of hard work.
Considering how long this process takes and the toll that it can take on your life and peace of mind,
don't try to do it alone. And most importantly, don't give up. There is no cost to you to see if we can
help and help is just a call or click away.
including the Initial Disability Application, Reconsideration, Hearing Requests, and
- Guide you through all steps of the Social Security Disability application process,
- Focus on your case and make sure that any information that supports your claim is
provide, file you paperwork quickly
- Obtain copies of all medical records and help you find referrals for first and second
- Help develop the best legal argument for your case following the regulations and
guidelines regarding disability eligibility requirements
- Prepare your case for hearings, including a Pre-hearing Brief for the Administrative
Hearing to help increase you chances of winning Social Security Disability
- Provide legal advice and counsel throughout the process, answering any questions
you may have, while helping you fight for your benefits.
|For a FREE case evaluation of your case,
please complete the form below and
someone from my office will get in touch
with you to discuss your case. This
evaluation is free of charge and you are not
obligated to retain our services.
Q. How do I qualify for Social Security Disability?
A. You may quality to receive money benefits
paid by the Social Security Administration if you have a
medical condition or injury that prevents you from working for
a minimum of one year.
Q. How does the Social Security
Administration determine disability?
The Social Security Administration has a five step process in
Step One -The first step involves determining if you
are working. The amount of money you make if you
are working is limited. If you make more than allowed,
you will not be considered disabled. (See Publication
No. 05-10003 for current figure Update )
Step Two - The second step is to consider the severity of
your medical condition(s) if you make less than the current
guideline amount. This involves determining whether your
medical condition(s) significantly affect
you ability to perform basic work activities, i.e. sitting,
standing, walking, for at least one year.
Step Three - If the condition is severe enough to limit basic
work functions, the agency will determine if the medical
condition(s) are on a List of Impairments for adults and
children developed by the agency. The impairments
described are considered so severe by
the agency that you can automatically be defined by
law as disabled. If your condition is not on the list, the agency
can determine that you are disabled if your condition(s) are
as severe as those on the list of impairments.
Step Four - If your medical condition(s) are not on the list of
impairments or meet or exceed the severity of
an impairment on the list, the agency will then
consider whether you medical condition(s) prevent
you from doing the type of work you did before.
Step Five - If the agency decides that you can do the type of
work you did before, then it will decide you are not disabled.
If not, then the agency will evaluate your medical condition(s),
age, education, past work experience and skills learned from
that work, to determine if you can do any other type of work.
If you can, then the agency will decide that you are not
Q. How long will it take to settle my Social Security
A. This is a hard question to answer as there is no definite
answer. The current estimated time for disposing of a case
from the filing of the initial application to a hearing is
approximately 24 months (give or take a few months). This
can be a very long
and stressful process. Put your case in our hands
and let us help you through this process.
Q. How much will the Social Security Administration
pay me if approved?
A. The amount of benefits is determined by your average
lifetime earnings and whether your benefits
will be reduced based on the receipt of other types of
compensation for you medical condition(s), such as workers'
compensation. The Social Security Administration sends out
a yearly statement providing your lifetime earnings and
provides an estimate of
your disability benefit. See the following publications provided
by the Social Security Administration:
How Workers’ Compensation And Other Disability Payments
May Affect Your Benefits (Publication No.
05-10018); Windfall Elimination Provision (Publication No. 05-
10045); and Government Pension Offset (Publication No. 05-
Q. How far back will Social Security pay me if I am
A. If you are approved for social security disability, your
first check will be paid for the sixth full month after the date
your disability started.
Q. What can I do to help win my Social Security
A. You need sufficient medical documentation to support
the severity of your medical condition(s).
You should keep up with your medical treatment and doctor
appointments. It may also be helpful to keep a diary to help
document on a daily basis your disability keeps you from
performing your past work; your medications and side effects;
your aches and pains;
and how disability or medications affect daily activities such as
driving, shopping, taking care of family,
walking, standing, sitting, memory, concentration,
coping with stressful situations, and dealing with other people
Q. Can I work and still receive Social Security
A. Yes. However, the agency limits the amount can make.
See current limits.
Q. Do I have to be permanently disabled to receive
social security disability?
A. You are entitled to benefits if your medical condition(s)
are severe enough to prevent you from working for a period
of at least one year. If your condition improves your benefits
can be terminated.
Q. Will I receive Medicare?
A. You will get Medicare coverage automatically
after you have received social security disability
benefits for two years.
Q. How much will an attorney charge?
A. The Social Security Administration will withhold
25% of your past due benefits to compensate legal fees.
Q. Will my family receive anything if I am approved?
A. If you are approved for Social Security Disability
benefits, members of your family may qualify for benefits.
They include but are not limited to the following:
Your spouse, if he or she is 62 or older;
Your spouse, at any age if he or she is caring for a
child of yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled;
Your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or,
in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild. The child
must be under age 18 or under age 19 if in elementary or
secondary school full time; and
Your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has
a disability that started before age 22. (The child’s disability
also must meet the definition of disability for adults.)
|3531 River Drive
Columbia, SC 29201
Common Medical Conditions
Arthritis & joint pain Links to Listings of Impairments
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Heart Disease & failure & anxiety
Hearing Loss & impairment
Hepatitis C & liver failure
Disability Intake Form
Appointment of Representative
Residual Function Capacity
Evaluation- Physical Impairment
Residual Function Capacity
Evaluation- Mental Impairment
Pre Hearing Brief
Ways to Win Your Case
Below are 3 very important ways to prove your eligibility
for Social Security Disability benefits. Proving one of
these methods makes you eligible for benefits.
1. You may win by proving a condition on the
The Social Security Administration has Impairment
Listings which describe, for each major body system,
impairments or medical conditions that are considered
severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any
gainful activity (or in the case of children under age 18
applying for SSI, severe enough to cause marked and
severe functional limitations). Most of the listed
impairments are permanent or expected to result in
death, or the listing includes a specific statement of
duration is made. If you have one of these impairments,
you are eligible for disability benefits under the Social
Security guidelines. For all other listings, you must
show that your impairment has lasted or is expected
to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
These criteria apply to the Social Security
Administration's evaluation of claims for disability
Part A of the Listing of Impairments (included on this
site to the right) contains medical criteria that apply to
the evaluation of impairments in adults age 18 and over.
The Listing of Impairments criteria apply to one step of
the multi-step sequential evaluation process. At that
step, the presence of an impairment that meets the
criteria in the Listing of Impairments (or that is of equal
severity) is usually sufficient to establish that an
individual who is not working is disabled.
The lack of a listing-level impairment does not mean
the individual is not disabled. Rather, it requires the
adjudicator to move on to the next step of the process
and apply other rules in order to resolve the issue of
2. You may win by proving Limited Capacity
hinders or reduces your capacity for work. The
Social Security Administration refers to this as
“residual functional capacity.” Residual means that
which is left over. Functional refers to your ability to
perform in a work or work like environment. Capacity
describes your ability to perform in a competitive work
environment. So, if your residual functional capacity
is less than sedentary, it means that you do not have
the ability to perform even a simple, sit down, unskilled
job 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
If you have medical records and physician opinion
evidence sufficient to prove that your residual
functional capacity is less than sedentary, you are
eligible for disability benefits. Judges give medical
opinion evidence (especially if the physician has
been treating the claimant on a long term basis) lot
of weight if it supported by the medical records history.
A residual functional capacity evaluation form or RFC
can be completed by your medical for use with your
disability application. Your doctor will be asked to
comment about your exertional capacity and your non-
exertional limitations. Exertional capacity has to do
with your physical abilities - things like standing,
walking, lifting and carrying. Non-exertional impair-
ments have more to do with things like pain,
endurance and concentration. You can download
a RFC form from this site for completion by your
medical care providers. This form can also be
customized and amended for you as needed.
3. Prove a “Grid Rule”
This involves the effect of age and education on your
ability to work.
The third way to win your disability case is by proving
that you meet the “grid rules,” as they are referred
to by the Social Security Administration. These rules
apply when you are 50 or older and have a physical
type of impairment. These rules do not apply to
claimants with non-physical impairments like
depression or pain.
The grid rules take into account your age, education,
work skills and physical capacity for work. You can
line up each of these elements on the grid chart to
determine whether you meet one of the rules and
thereby qualify automatically. SSA recognizes by use of
these "grid rules" that workers who are older and less
education will have a harder time finding an entry level
job. Realistically, fewer jobs are offered to workers over
50, even if those jobs are simple and unskilled.
Workers between the ages of 18-49 are considered
to be younger individuals. Workers between the ages
of 50-54 are considered closing approaching
advanced age. Workers over 55 are considered by
Social Security to be in advanced age.
Sedentary: Sedentary work means that you are able
to sit for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour day, and lift up to
10 lbs. occasionally during a day
Light: Light work means that you can stand and walk
for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour day, lift 10 lbs.
frequently and 20 lbs. occasionally
Medium: Medium work means that you can stand and
walk for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour day, lift 25 lbs.
frequently and 50 lbs. occasionally
For example: Grid rule 201.01 provides that a
worker between the ages of 50 and 54, with limited
or less than a high school education whose has no
transferable work skills or performed unskilled work
will be considered disabled.
The older a worker becomes, the more Social
Security accepts that simple, entry level work really
does not exist in significant numbers in our economy
to consider that the worker is able to find work.
Click on the link to see the grid rules. Use of the grid
rules may be beyond the knowledge of the average
disability claimant. Therefore, it is very important to
seek information about any element that may help
prove your eligibility for Social Security Disability
benefits and win your case.
if you wish to discuss your personal situation or the details the contents of this web site.
Counties Served: I represent Social Security Disability applications and appeals throughout South Carolina including Richland, Lexington, Kershaw, Fairfield, Sumter, Lancaster, Chester, Orangeburg, Bamberg, Newberry, Laurens, Lee, Greenville,
Spartanburg, and Darlington counties.
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