For millions of Americans struggling with disabilities that keep them from maintaining a steady income, Social Security benefits serve as an essential means of monthly financial support. However, successfully applying for and receiving these benefits is far from a simple task, especially if you are unfamiliar with the Social Security Administration. The SSA has a specific way of processing these applications and denies many claims that do not meet their qualifying requirements.
Getting Social Security benefits may be a lot easier if you seek help from a Wilmington Social Security lawyer early on in the application process. The knowledgeable attorneys at Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya can help collect important documentation for your initial application, ensure you are applying for the benefits program that would best serve your needs, and guide you through the appeals process following a claim rejection.
Applying for Social Security Benefits Programs
When people seek disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, they generally apply through one of two specific Social Security programs. Depending on an applicant’s unique circumstances, a Wilmington attorney can help a disabled person apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or even both.
What is SSDI?
In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, an applicant must have a qualifying disability based on the SSA’s definition. Essentially, this covers any physical or mental condition that prevents “substantial gainful activity” and will last at least 12 months or lead to the applicant’s death. Furthermore, qualifying SSDI applicants must have worked and paid Social Security taxes on earned income for long enough to have earned a certain amount of “work credits.” The exact number of credits required varies depending on how old an applicant was when they became disabled.
What is SSI?
SSI benefits are almost entirely based on income. As long as a disabled or elderly individual falls below a certain monthly income and has less than $2,000 in total non-exempt assets, they should qualify for monthly payments through SSI. However, calculating the exact income limits for this particular program can be complicated without legal guidance, as they change yearly based on SSA estimations for the cost of living.
Appealing Denied Social Security Claims in Wilmington
Even if someone’s initial claim for Social Security benefits is unsuccessful, they may have options for appealing the negative outcome. In many cases, remedying a claim denial is as simple as providing a bit more information to the SSA, clarifying a small application error, or requesting a reconsideration by a different SSA representative than the one who rejected the initial claim.
In other situations, it may be necessary to progress further into the Social Security Administration’s appellate system. A seasoned Social Security lawyer in the area can help navigate this process and pursue a denied claim through various pathways:
- A hearing with an Administrative Law Judge
- An Appeals Council review
- A review by a Federal Court
Contact a Wilmington Social Security Attorney for Guidance
Dealing with the Social Security Administration can be difficult and stressful, which is why seeking legal counsel can be so important when applying for Social Security benefits. Without experience and expertise on your side during this process, you may have a tough time getting the benefits you need and deserve.
At the law offices of Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya, a Wilmington Social Security lawyer can answer all your questions about seeking Social Security benefits during a private consultation. Call today to get started.