People who are unable to work because of a physical or mental impairment can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. If accepted, the disabled individual will receive monthly payments from the government. Standards are quite high, however, and about 70 percent of initial claims for support are denied. In the overwhelming majority of cases, applicants are rejected because they failed to provide enough medical evidence to substantiate their disability.
What Constitutes A Disability?
For SSDI purposes, an individual is considered disabled if they suffer from a medical or psychological impairment that is so severe it prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least one year. At present, the monetary threshold for SGA is just under $1,100. So if an applicant cannot earn above that amount from his labor, he can apply for SSDI benefits. That does not, however, mean that he will be approved.
It may be disappointing, but having your initial claim denied isn’t the end of the world. Many applicants successfully pursue their claims through the appeals process. Of course, it helps to have someone familiar with the process on your side. According to official data, over two-thirds of applicants who appeal their denial eventually receive benefits. But that can only happen if they have the information and evidence they need to prove their case. That’s where a Social Security disability attorney can be invaluable.
It is important to note that not every claim for SSDI benefits should be pursued. If the Social Security Administration (SSA) had a valid reason for rejecting your request, a reputable attorney may not take your case. He or she may peruse your denial notice and inform you that your chances of winning are slim. If, however, your application was denied because you failed to provide medical evidence of your impairment, an attorney may accept you as a client. As such, he or she may submit new evidence for reconsideration on appeal.
The Odds Are In Your Favor
According to the SSA, more than two-thirds of the cases that come before an administrative law judge on appeal are approved. Why? The most obvious explanation is that most of the applicants at that stage of the appeal process have a reputable Social Security disability attorney by their side. These skilled legal professionals know how to present your case in a favorable light, providing proof of your impairment and the effect it has had on your life.
With results like those, you might be wondering why everybody doesn’t hire an attorney to represent them? One obvious explanation is the price. Although their fees are often quite reasonable – generally less than 25 percent of back pay – not every applicant is owed a sizable sum. Only those who have not worked for quite some time and have been pursuing their case for many months may be eligible for substantial disability back payments. With that said, if you cannot work and do not expect to return to work for more than one year, you should seriously consider hiring a lawyer.