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Fayetteville Social Security Disability Law Blog

What is substantial gainful activity?

As you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will determine if you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. In other words, the SSA will only award disability benefits to people who are unable to earn more than a certain amount each month. People earning more than this amount each month are generally considered to be engaging in SGA and are not usually eligible for benefits.

The amount of monthly earnings will differ for blind and non-blind individuals and will depend on the national average wage index. The monthly SGA for a non-blind disabled person in 2019 is $1,220 for SSDI and SSI applicants. Blind SSI applicants do not have an SGA limit, but blind SSDI applicants have an SGA limit of $2,040 in 2019.

Applying for SSD benefits when crisis strikes

Suffering a sudden injury can be very impactful. One never expects to endure such a situation incident, making it especially challenging to address the losses caused by this matter. Medical bills can become overwhelming, and the magnitude of the financial challenges can increase significantly if one is unable to work because of a disabling injury.

No one knows hen crisis will strike; thus, when an individual suffers a serious injury, it may be appropriate to explore options such as Social Security disability. This program was designed to help those unable to work because of a disabling condition. Because less than 1 in 3 working Americans have private disability insurance, most individuals that experience a work-disrupting disability rely on Social Security Disability Insurance.

How to help the SSA process your SSD application faster

One of the big problems for people applying for Social Security Disability benefits is the amount of time it takes for their applications to be processed. According to the Social Security Administration, processing a SSD application can take anywhere from three to five months. Many initial applications are denied, and applicants will have to file an appeal, which can take even more time. Fortunately, there are a few things Georgia disability applicants can do to have their applications processed as quickly as possible.

The best way to have your application processed sooner rather than later is to provide the SSA with any and all necessary information. In addition to basic documents and information about you (e.g. name, Social Security number, birth certificate, most recent W-2 form), the SSA will need detailed information about your work and medical history.

How does a veteran qualify for SSD benefits?

Suffering a disabling injury or illnesses is very impactful. And for many veterans in Georgia, living with a disability after combat or serving can be difficult. This is especially true if one is deemed 100% permanent and total. For these veterans, it is not only possible to receive veterans' benefits but also Social Security disability benefits as well.

How does a veteran qualify for SSD benefits? Since March 2014, veterans that have a rating of 100% permanent and total might be able to receive expedited processing when it comes to their application for SSD benefits. In order to be approved for these benefits, a veteran must meet the Social Security Administration's definition of disability. In order to prove eligibility, one must provide documentation to prove he or she meets the definition of disability.

SSD benefits and the definition of disability

Being self-sufficient is part of the American dream. One seeks to acquire a good job, allowing them to make an income that can help support their goals and dreams. Unfortunately, unexpected events in life and hinder this. A disabling injury following an accident could result in the inability to work. This further creates financial challenges when it comes to the ability to pay for one's basic living needs.

This is where the Social Security disability program can be extremely valuable. However, in order for these benefits to accessible by the public that qualifies for them, they need to understand how to obtain them and what makes one eligible for these benefits, for how long and how much.

Can I automatically qualify for SSD benefits?

When you apply for Social Security disability benefits in Georgia, the Social Security Administration will review your application to determine whether you meet the criteria to qualify for benefits. After determining whether you have accumulated enough work credits, the SSA will determine if your medical condition qualifies as a disability under the SSA's definition. According to the SSA, a disability must last for a minimum of 12 months or be expected to result in death and prevent a person from engaging in substantial gainful activity.

If your medical condition is listed in the SSA's Blue Book, or Listing of Impairments, your injury or condition may automatically be classified as a disability, in accordance with the SSA's definition. Part A of the Listing of Impairments addresses adult impairments, while Part B addresses impairments in kids under 18. Criteria in Part A can be applied to children's impairments if the disease affects kids and adults similarly, but the SSA will only use Part A to evaluate a child if Part B criteria do not apply.

Seeking SSD benefits for a mental illness

Living with a disabling illness can be very troubling. The symptoms alone can be challenging to live with; however, for those living with a mental illness, it may not look on the outside like they actually are suffering from a disabling condition. This can present added troubles, as it can be difficult to maintain a normal life. This is where Social Security disability benefits for illness could be of assistance, as it could help individuals in Georgia and elsewhere meet their basic financial needs while they are unable to work because of a mental health condition.

When a person suffers from a mental illness, the condition likely impacts the way a person thinks, feels, behaves and relates to others and their surroundings. The symptoms for mental health conditions can range greatly. For some they can be mild, causing minimal disruptions to one's life. On the other hand, for some they can be severe, making it impossible for them to cope with life's daily routines and demands.

How can veterans get SSD benefits for mental illness?

The courageous veterans fighting for our country may come home to Georgia with serious physical injuries and mental illness, including PTSD, depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety. Fortunately, many veterans are eligible for disability compensation through Veterans' Affairs (VA) or the Social Security Administration (SSA).

In order to collect veterans benefits for a disability through the VA, your disability must be classified as "service-connected." In other words, there must be evidence that an incident or accident during your time in service caused the mental illness you are currently suffering from.

Helping you secure SSDI benefits for a disabling injury

When one is so severely injured that they are unable to work, this can create many additional issues in the individual's life. Georgia residents living with a disabling injury likely have more than their work life impacted. A disabling injury could also impact a person's ability to care for him or herself, do the physical activities they could prior to the injury and even meet his or her basic financial needs.

After suffering a disabling injury, one might choose to file for Social Security disability benefits. At Rogers, Hofrichter & Karrh, LLC, our attorneys understand that individuals applying for these benefits are counting on being approved. These benefits are designed to help address the financial hardships caused by a disabling injury.

Establishing your medical condition and symptoms for SSD benefits

The most challenging part of a Social Security Disability claim can be proving to the Social Security Administration that your illness or impairment prevents you from working. The SSA approves many applications for Social Security disability benefits, but the reality is that a majority of claims are initially denied. These denials often stem from the claimant's inability to prove that their medical condition exists and is severe enough to negatively affect their ability to work.

In general, the SSA is looking at the nature and severity of your condition, the length of time you have suffered with this condition, and whether you are able to do work-related activities with this condition.


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Our founding partners each have more than 20 years of experience in disability law, and they have a high success rate in administrative appeals and litigation in SSDI, workers' comp and long-term disability claims involving ERISA. Contact our Atlanta office today to discuss your needs.

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