Pace, FL SSD Lawyers
You’ve paid into the Social Security program for the entirety of your career. Now that you’re disabled and unable to work, it’s time to get the benefits you’ve paid for. However, it’s not as easy as telling the Social Security Administration that you’re disabled and would like to tap into your benefits. In fact, the process of applying for and getting approved for SSD benefits can be long and confusing for applicants.
Whether you need assistance with your initial application or an appeal, the team at Byron A. Lassiter & Associates is here to help. Call our Florida office at 850-479-3552 to schedule a consultation now.
Meeting SSD Requirements
There are two sets of criteria you must meet to qualify for SSD benefits. The first involves your work history. Each year, you can earn up to four work credits. One credit is earned when you earn a certain amount of money—in 2022, the amount is $1,510 per credit. You’ll need a certain amount of credits to qualify for benefits. Most applicants need 40 credits, 20 of which must have been earned in the 10 years prior to their disability. Younger applicants need fewer credits.
You will also need to have a qualifying disability. The SSD program only pays claims for total disability, not partial or short-term disability. It must have lasted one year, be expected to last at least one year, or be expected to result in your death. To qualify, you must demonstrate that you cannot participate in substantial gainful activity as a result of your disability. This includes the work you did immediately prior to your disability and any other line of work you could conceivably do.
What If My Application is Denied?
For many people, a denial letter is the worst possible outcome of an application. They assume that the letter means that their disability is not severe enough to warrant benefits, so they give up on their application and try to figure out how to make ends meet.
But a denial letter isn’t the end of the road for you. In fact, most SSD applications are denied the first time around. The SSA processes a massive number of applications every year, and they need to be able to sort through them quickly. Applications with missing information or insufficient proof of disability are generally denied right away. Your denial may not mean that you do not qualify for benefits—it may simply mean that you haven’t provided enough proof to the SSA.
Proving Your Disability
If proof of disability is such an important part of getting your application approved, you’re likely wondering what type of documentation you’ll need. In general, it’s better to provide more documentation than you need than it is to provide too little. Assume that the SSA knows nothing about your disability and the variety of ways in which it impacts your life when providing medical results, reports from doctors, and other proof.
The SSA “Blue Book” is another excellent resource. The Blue Book is a list of qualifying disabilities. Under each listing, you will find a list of the criteria you must meet to qualify for SSD benefits right away. This makes it easy to ensure that you’ve gotten the proper tests for the SSA’s purposes.
For example, consider the listing for epilepsy, specifically those with tonic-clonic seizures. The Blue Book provides a clear definition for tonic-clonic seizures. It notes that you qualify if you have tonic-clonic seizures at least once per month for three consecutive months, even while adhering to your doctor’s prescribed treatment. By providing documentation that shows you meet these criteria, you can strengthen your application.
It’s possible that your disability is not listed in the Blue Book. This doesn’t mean that you are barred from receiving benefits. You just need to take a few extra steps to prove the extent of your disability. Your disability must be medically determinable, meaning that it must be backed up by testing, reports from doctors, and otherwise provable via something other than your word. In addition, it must limit your residual functional ability. This means that your disability must impair your functional ability to the point that it keeps you from working.
How Our Team Can Help
The SSA reviews SSD applications with a critical eye, which means you need to provide every bit of evidence you can. If your application is weak in any area, you risk denial. By working with a Pace, FL SSD attorney from the very beginning, you can put your best foot forward right away and save time on the application process.
Our team can also help you if your application has already been denied. The SSA does give you a chance to appeal their decision. However, you have to move quickly and ensure that you repair any errors or weaknesses in your application. If you miss the deadline, you may have to start the entire process over again.
With a thorough review of your application, we can identify problematic areas and work to strengthen your application before we appeal the decision. You deserve to give the SSA a full and complete understanding of your disability, and we’ll do everything we can to make that happen.
Since we focus exclusively on disability law, we are well-versed in what it takes to convince the SSA of your disability. We pride ourselves on staying up to date on any changes within the agency and their application guidelines, making us an excellent resource as you work through the application or appeal process.
Schedule a Consultation with Byron A. Lassiter & Associates Now
As you prepare to submit your application for SSD benefits in Florida, make sure you have the team at Byron A. Lassiter & Associates behind you. Take the first step now by setting up a consultation with our team. We’ll discuss your disability and your application, then make a plan for your application. Get on our schedule now by calling our Florida office at 850-479-3552 or .