If you cannot work because of an illness or personal injury, Social Security disability benefits offer financial stability. However, the application process for obtaining disability benefits can be challenging, especially if you receive a rejection. The Social Security Administration (SSA) reported a 21% acceptance rate of initial applications in 2020. They also denied 67% of Social Security Disability claims.
An experienced Social Security disability attorney with Nessler & Associates can help increase your chances of receiving approval after receiving a denial of your application. We can help you assess the strength of your case and assist you in the appeals process with the SSA. We can also provide necessary medical documentation to the Social Security Administration and represent you at hearings if necessary.
Contact our law firm for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances and learn your next steps.
How Do Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits Requirements Work?
Those who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits contributed to the trust fund through Social Security taxes. This can be either through the Federal Insurance Contributions Act for employees or the Self-Employment Contributions Act for self-employed individuals.
You must have a recent work history and work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security work credits are based on the total amount of your annual income from your job or self-employment. You may earn a maximum of four credits every year.
The SSA recommends having 40 credits, 20 of which must have been earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you became disabled. However, the number of work credits needed for Social Security disability benefits can also depend on your age:
- If you are 31 years or older, you must have at least 20 credits from the past 10 years before your disability.
You may be eligible if you worked half of the time between the age of 21 and the beginning of your disability if you are younger than 31
- years old. For instance, the work requirement would be 4 years out of the last 7 years between the ages of 21 and 28 if you developed a disability at 28. Your 4 years of work would amount to 16 credits.
What are the Disability Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits?
A severe disability is necessary to qualify for benefits under Social Security disability law. The SSA determines disability using these criteria:
- You must have been disabled for at least 12 months.
- You can’t perform your regular work tasks, such as lifting objects.
- Your medical condition prevents you from working in your past job.
The SSA also checks their Medically Approved Listing of Impairments to see if your condition is listed. If your condition is on the list, you automatically qualify to receive SSDI benefits.
Could I Qualify for Supplemental Security Income SSI?
If you don’t qualify for SSDI, you may consider applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The federal program only requires proving these factors:
- You’re over the age of 65
- Total or partial blindness
- Medical condition stops you from working for at least one year or is expected to last one year that results in death
- Resources are worth no more than $2,000 for a single person or $3,000 for a married couple
You can work with a lawyer from Nessler and Associates to help you with your application for SSDI or SSI. We can put together your medical records and other pieces of evidence for your claim. You can also ask your lawyer to review your application for mistakes that could prevent you from receiving your benefits.
Reasons That Your Social Security Disability Claim Was Denied
If you qualify for SSDI benefits but find that the SSA denies your application, one or more of the following factors may have led to the denial:
- You lack the medical documentation and evidence of your disability’s severity.
- Not following your doctor’s treatment plan for your disability.
- Prior denial of your Social Security Disability application.
- Your income is too high to qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits if you continue to work despite your disability.
- The SSA cannot process your SSDI application if you fail to cooperate with its requests for additional information.
How Your Lawyer Can Help You Appeal Your Social Security Disability Claim Denial
You must appeal your denial within 60 days of receiving your application’s denial. A lawyer from Nessler and Associates can guide you through the appeal process with the SSA.
Appealing a decision begins with a Request for Reconsideration. This stage involves having a different examiner review your application. Your lawyer can present new evidence of your disability at this stage, such as your doctor’s treatment plans for your disability.
If your case goes to a disability appeals hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, your lawyer can help you prepare for the hearing. We can help you learn how to testify during the hearing. We can also cross-examine other witnesses and argue your case before the judge. We can represent you if your case goes to the Appeals Council and then a federal court review.
An Illinois Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Increase Your Approval Odds
The SSA denies the majority of disability claims at the initial stage. A disability lawyer with Nessler & Associates can help you avoid common errors like missing forms or insufficient medical evidence and increase your odds of a favorable outcome.
We can also help you if your application is denied by filing a Request for Reconsideration with the state of Illinois’ Disability Determination Agency so a new adjudicator can be assigned to review your claim. If the Request for Consideration is denied, we can file for a Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Get the support you need from an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Nessler & Associates at (800) 727-8010 to schedule a complimentary case evaluation. We can examine your claim and explain how the Social Security disability process works so you can get the benefits you are entitled to receive.