Benefits can only really be considered beneficial when people have access to them. That’s why so many people who apply for Social Security benefits feel frustrated. The process can be lengthy, complicated, and filled with denials. How is a disabled individual supposed to get the benefits they need? With a little help from an experienced Brooklyn disability attorney.
At Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C., we have attorneys that will focus on helping you find and apply for the Social Security benefits that are right for you and guide you through the often-complicated government benefits process. Before you go toe-to-toe with the federal government, get the legal team at Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. on your side. We want to help you prepare an application that gives you the best chance at a positive outcome.
Types of Social Security Benefits
What many individuals may not be aware of is that there are several different government disability programs available to those that need assistance. Tracking down which program is right for you can be difficult and confusing. An applicant must meet a variety of qualifications, and different programs are meant to address different needs.
Learning more about these specific programs can help narrow down which ones you should apply for. The two main but distinct types of Social Security disability programs include Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI.
Social Security Disability Insurance is a benefits program that you or certain family members may be able to draw from if you are “insured.” This program is strictly funded through your payroll tax deductions and is available to those who have worked long enough and paid into the system long enough to reach a certain eligibility threshold.
In order to be eligible for this benefit, you must have a qualifying work history that includes payment into the SSDI program through FICA Social Security taxes that have been taken out of your paycheck each pay period. To be eligible to apply for SSDI, you must also meet certain medical requirements.
Supplemental Security Income is different. It is a government program that focuses on paying benefits to help those who have a limited income. In essence, it is a needs-based program that is funded through general taxes and is distributed to individuals that meet both medical and income requirements. These benefits are designed to help disabled individuals and children who otherwise have limited resources.
In some instances, it may be possible for an individual to qualify to receive both SSI and SSDI benefits, depending on their circumstances.
Common Disabilities that May Qualify You for Benefits
The Social Security Administration maintains a vast list of medical conditions and disabilities that may qualify an individual for Social Security benefits. The list itself is broken down into several different categories, each outlining the specific disorders or conditions in that category that may qualify a person to apply for disability benefits. Some of the most common conditions that an individual may have that would help them qualify for benefits include:
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Respiratory illnesses like COPD or chronic pulmonary hypertension
- Immune system diseases such as AIDS and lupus
- Cardiovascular conditions like congenital heart disease, ischemic heart disease, and recurrent arrhythmias
- Digestive conditions like liver disease or inflammatory bowel disease
- Neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis
- Mental health disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and some autism spectrum disorders
- Genitourinary conditions such as chronic kidney disease and nephrotic syndrome
There are numerous other conditions listed by the Social Security Administration. If a person has any of these diseases, they may apply for benefits. The administration has also enacted what is called the “Compassionate Allowances” program. This program is meant to identify claims where a disease or a condition should reasonably meet the Social Security Administrations’ standard definition of what constitutes a disability, including rare disorders that affect children. It is also meant to help reduce the waiting period for new claims.
If you are unclear as to whether your disability qualifies you for Social Security benefits, talk to an experienced attorney with Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C.. We can review your situation, help you identify which programs may be right for you, and help you apply for benefits.
Applying for Benefits
Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits is not the same as applying for other types of benefits. Only those with what the administration considers “total” disability qualify to apply for benefits. Social Security does not pay out to individuals with partial disabilities or short-term disabilities. When an application is under review, the administration looks at specific factors to help them make a determination about whether an individual qualifies to receive benefits. These factors include:
- Your inability to perform your job or similar work because of your medical condition
- Your inability to adjust to other or new forms of work because of your medical condition
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year, or the condition will eventually result in death
All these stipulations must be present in a case for a claim to move to the next level of consideration. If these conditions are met, then the administration will follow a step-by-step process that allows them to determine whether an applicant is due benefits. Generally, an applicant will have to take the following factors into account and explain themselves on the application:
- Is the applicant working? Those working and earning more than $1,310 per month will typically not be considered disabled, and the application may be rejected.
- Is the condition considered severe? The medical issue must limit an individual’s ability to complete work-related assignments and basic activities.
- The condition or illness must be listed as a disabling condition by the Social Security Administration.
- Is the applicant able to do the work they once did? If an individual is able to reasonably accomplish work tasks that they did previously, the administration may deny the claim.
- Is the applicant able to do any other type of work? If it is determined that an individual can do another type of work, again, the claim could be denied.
Now that you know what to expect applying for benefits should be a breeze. Only, it isn’t. Applying for Social Security benefits can be a time-consuming and complicated process. The application is a detailed document that must be completed thoroughly and accurately in order to give you the best chance possible at filing a successful claim.
However, the application is only one part of the process. In addition to the document, you typically need to provide detailed medical information and records that demonstrate the severe nature of your illness or condition. This may be medical records, doctor’s notes, test results, and other paperwork that verifies your diagnosis and the nature of your condition.
When you have gathered the proper documentation, you can apply for benefits online through the Social Security Administration’s website or in-person at a local Social Security field office.
Why You Need an Experienced Social Security Disability Attorney
The process of trying to obtain benefits can be complicated. You need to make sure that you are applying for the right type of benefit for your situation, then you need to fill out extremely detailed and accurate paperwork to avoid triggering a denial.
According to statistics from the Social Security Administration, while the rate varies by year, typically 33 percent of SSDI claims are approved with the initial application, and about 20 percent of SSI claims are approved with the initial application. Statistics do go up when claims are appealed but still only hover at about the 40 to 50 percent approval range. Those are not great odds for someone in desperate need of help.
That is why it is so important to get an experienced Social Security benefits attorney on your side early. At Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C., we start by helping you determine which benefits are right for you. Then we can help you prepare an application for the program that is suited to your needs and medical condition. We understand what the government is looking for and can help you put together the strongest, most accurate, and detailed claim possible, thus increasing your chances of success. If your claim is denied, or if you have been trying to fight a previous denial on your own, we can help you through the appeals process.
You don’t have to tackle government red tape on your own. Let the seasoned team at Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. help you navigate the complicated process of applying for Social Security disability and set you up with a plan that gives you the best chance possible at a positive outcome. If a disability has taken you out of the workforce, we want to help you go after the benefits that you deserve.
Contact Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. Today for Help with Your Brooklyn Social Security Disability Claim
If a disability has made it impossible for you to continue working, it may also make filling out a detailed and lengthy application overwhelming. If you think you may be eligible to file for Social Security disability benefits but are unsure where to begin, start with a call to the Brooklyn legal team at Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C.. We help individuals identify which benefits they may be eligible for, guide them through the extensive application process, and will be there for them if they need to fight a denial or file an appeal.
For a free consultation to talk about how we can help you get the benefits you need, call us today at 516-496-0400.