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Atlanta Social Security Disability Law Blog

How can I better my chances to get my disability claim approved?

To qualify for disability benefits, you will need to accumulate a certain number of work credits, which can only be done by working in jobs covered by Social Security. The number of credits you need depends on how old you were when you suffered your disability. While younger workers can qualify for benefits with fewer credits, most people will have to earn at least 40 credits, and 20 of those credits must have been earned in the 10 years leading up to your disability.

Workers in Georgia who have paid into Social Security system for many years may assume that it will be easy to have their application for disability benefits approved. However, getting approved for Social Security disability benefits is not as easy as one may think. The Government Accountability Office found that approximately 67 percent of initial claims for disability benefits were denied.

Receiving Social Security disability benefits for heart disease

It is no surprise that many Georgia residents with heart disease are unable to work and must rely on Social Security disability benefits for financial support. However, the Social Security Administration will not automatically grant you SSDI benefits for illnesses just because you had a heart attack. The SSA has specific criteria that you must meet to qualify for benefits.

Many heart conditions are covered in Section 4 of the SSA's "Blue Book", including coronary artery disease, chronic heart failure, aneurysm of the aorta or major branch, peripheral artery disease and symptomatic congenital heart disease. The SSA will thoroughly review medical documentation and testing results, as well as any other evidence you provide, to determine the effect your heart condition has on your ability to work.

Evidence you will need to prove your SSDI claim

With thousands of Georgia residents applying for Social Security disability benefits each year, the Social Security Administration has implemented strict standards for awarding these benefits. To avoid having your initial claim denied, it is important to make sure you provide the SSA with a complete picture of your disability.

Your goal is to prove to the SSA that you meet its definition of disability. According to the SSA, you have a disability if you can no longer do the work you did before the disability, your disability prevents you from doing other work and your disability has lasted or will last a year or will likely result in death. In 2018, if you earn more than $1,180 per month, you most likely will not be considered disabled by the SSA.

Disability payments set to increase nationwide in 2019

As we mentioned in an earlier post, disability and other payments under Social Security rarely stay the same from year to year. One of the main factors that generally increases the amount of Social Security disability benefits you get each year is the cost of living in America. As required by law, the Social Security Administration applies an automatic cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, which is based on inflation.

COLA is the government's way of making sure that Georgians and people across the United States will continue to be able to buy the same amount of goods and services as they were able to buy last year. Without COLA, if the price of a good doubles next year, you would only be able to buy half as much, which could be very detrimental to you and your family.

How does the SSA calculate Social Security disability benefits?

The Social Security Administration reports that approximately 175 million workers are covered by Social Security. However, many Georgia residents are unclear on how Social Security works and how they can receive SSDI benefits.

Generally, if you work and receive a paycheck, the government will take 6.2 percent out of your paycheck and your employer will pay an additional 6.2 percent. If you are self-employed, you may pay a self-employment tax of 12.4 percent.

Can one receive both veterans' benefits and SSD benefits?

Disabled veterans in Georgia and across the United States often come back home after serving our country to find that their injury or illness keeps them from working. Fortunately, the Veterans Administration and Social Security Administration both offer veterans' benefits for military men and women who suffered a disability while serving our country.

The VA and SSA have different criteria for receiving disability benefits. VA disability benefits are generally based on your disability rating, ranging from 0 to 100 percent. The VA will review your military medical records and will give you a disability rating based on the injuries or illnesses you suffered while on active duty. This rating will determine how much you will receive in VA disability benefits.

My application for disability benefits was denied. What next?

If you are suffering with an illness or injury that keeps you from working in Georgia, it can be difficult to understand why the Social Security Administration (SSA) would deny your application for benefits. Unfortunately, as the millions of Americans whose applications were rejected will tell you, the SSA has very strict criteria for awarding Social Security disability benefits, and it can be very difficult to get approved. However, do not assume that the SSA's denial of your benefits claim is the end of the road. If you do not agree with the SSA's decision, you have the right to appeal through the SSA's four-step appeals process.

The first step to appealing a disability benefits claim decision is to request an appeal within 60 days of the date you receive the letter informing you of the SSA's decision. The best way to do this is to go online and file your request online. If you have additional evidence to support your case, such as additional medical records or other documentation, you can provide those documents electronically.

Are your children eligible for disability benefits?

People in Georgia may associate Social Security disability benefits with older Americans who are unable to continue working due to a physical or mental disability. However, children under the age of 18 may also be eligible for benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security disability Income (SSDI) programs.

First, your child may be eligible for SSI benefits if he or she is under the age of 18, meets the Social Security Administration's criteria to determine whether a child is disabled, and has little income or resources. If the child is unmarried, under age 18, and lives at home with parents who do not receive SSI, the SSA will typically assign the parents' income to the child. Once your child turns 18, different rules will apply to determine whether the child can get SSI benefits for their disability as an adult. If a child does not qualify for SSI, and is unmarried and under the age of 18 (or 19 if they are a full-time student), they could collect dependents benefits, if their parents are receiving SSDI benefits.

Applying for disability benefits for a brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries can vary in severity, and symptoms can vary from patient to patient. However, one thing is for sure: a TBI can change your life forever. Many Fayetteville residents who have suffered a TBI lose the mental and physical ability to perform their job duties and are forced to stop working. These residents may need to apply for Social Security disability benefits for injuries to ensure that they are able to support themselves financially as they focus on recovery and learning how to live with a TBI.

In order to qualify for benefits, your TBI must qualify as a disability according to the Social Security Administration. Generally, the SSA will first see if your condition is listed in the SSA's impairment manual, or "Blue Book." Traumatic brain injuries are specifically listed in Section 11.18 in the Blue Book, but they may also be covered under various other Blue Book conditions, such as cerebral trauma, stroke and seizure disorder. TBIs can also fit under the criteria for various mental and neurological disorders.

Forced to retire early? Apply for disability benefits

Many people in Georgia find themselves in a seemingly impossible situation. They want to keep working, but their injuries and illnesses prevent them from doing so. These people are forced to retire early, and claim their retirement benefits early, thereby reducing their income for the rest of their lives and making it harder to support themselves.

One thing you may be able to do if you are over the age of 62 and struggling with a serious health condition, is to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. If you qualify for SSDI benefits, you will be able to collect these benefits until you reach full retirement age. With SSDI benefits, you don't have to claim your retirement benefits early and therefore won't reduce your income

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