Social Security Disability Attorneys
Social Security Disability Insurance & Supplemental Security Income
Social Security disability (SSD) is a federal government program that provides benefits to people who have suffered disabling injuries or who meet other eligibility requirements. There are two SSD programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is available to eligible individuals who have earned enough “work credits” to qualify, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is available to people with limited resources and income and who meet other strict requirements.
At Reinhardt | Harper | Davis, we have decades of combined experience in Social Security law and are able to assist first-time applicants, as well as people who have had their SSD claims denied. Our team of Virginia Social Security disability attorneys can help you properly file for Social Security disability benefits and are ready to fight on your behalf throughout the entire process. While it is common for first-time SSD claims to be denied, the likelihood of having your claim approved is greatly increased when you work with an attorney who is familiar with this area of law.
What Is Social Security Disability?
Social Security disability (SSD) is a program offered by the federal government that provides monetary benefits to certain qualifying individuals. There are two main programs that fall under SSD: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These are two separate programs with different qualifying requirements, and which provide different benefits to eligible individuals.
The main differences between SSDI and SSI include:
- SSDI: Social Security Disability Insurance is available to individuals who have earned the appropriate work credits, meaning they have earned sufficient income and paid taxes on that income throughout their lives. SSDI provides benefits to individuals who not only have an established work history but who also suffer qualifying disabilities, as defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
- SSI: Supplemental Security Income provides supplementary financial benefits to disabled individuals with limited income and resources, regardless of age, as well as older individuals who do not necessarily have a disability but, nevertheless, have very limited means. Often (though not always) individuals who qualify for SSI also qualify for certain supplementary state benefits. Most will also automatically be eligible for Medicaid.
Our Virginia Social Security disability attorneys can review your situation and determine which types of SSD benefits you may be entitled to receive. Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Who Qualifies for SSDI & SSI?
Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income have different qualifying requirements.
To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must have:
- Earned enough work credits by earning taxable income/wages in a job covered by Social Security, via self-employment, or through a family member
- A disability or medical condition that adheres to the Social Security Administration’s definition of a “disability”
When determining whether a medical condition meets the strict definition of a “disability,” the SSA reviews several factors, including:
- The severity of the medical condition, i.e., does it limit your ability to carry out essential and/or basic employment-related tasks, such as standing, walking, lifting, or sitting?
- Whether or not the medical condition affects your ability to work. If you are working, your monthly earnings must fall below a certain threshold (updated yearly).
- The duration of the medical condition, i.e., has your medical condition lasted, or is it expected to last, for at least one year (12 months)?
- Are you able to perform the same type of work you performed in the past, or does your medical condition prevent you from doing the same work?
- Whether your medical condition is listed in the SSA’s “list of disabling conditions,” or whether it is similar in severity and type to one of the listed conditions.
If your medical condition does not meet the SSA’s criteria for a “disability,” your SSDI claim will almost certainly be denied.
To be eligible for SSI benefits, you must meet one of the following requirements:
- Be at least 65 years old
- Be partially or completely blind
- Have a disability or medical condition that prevents you from working and/or earning income above the designated threshold, and which is expected to last at least one year (12 months) or end in death
After meeting one of the above requirements, you must also prove that you have limited means, income, and resources. If your income is too high, you will not qualify for SSI.
What to Do If Your SSD Claim Is Denied
Most Social Security disability claims are denied. If this happens to you, it is in your best interests to file an appeal—not reapply. It is important that you request an appeal of your denied SSD claim within 60 days. If more than 60 days pass from the time you received notice of your claim denial and the time you request an appeal, you will not be able to appeal the claim denial and, instead, will have to reapply for SSD benefits.
Many people do not realize that appealing a denied claim is the best way to obtain benefits once a claim has been denied. Starting over is not only time-consuming—meaning you will have to wait even longer to receive benefits—but it is also extremely likely to end in the same result: another claim denial. Instead, you should seek out an experienced Virginia SSD appeals attorney, like ours at Reinhardt | Harper | Davis, who can help you navigate the appeals process.
We encourage you to get in touch with us right away if your SSD claim has been denied. The sooner we can begin working on your case and get your official appeal request on the record, the better. Our attorneys can identify the likely cause of your claim denial and help you with each step of the appeals process. We are here to provide the information and answers you need to move forward and continue fighting for the benefits you are owed.
How Our SSD Attorneys Can Help
Our Virginia Social Security disability lawyers can walk you through every step of the application process and, if needed, continue to advocate on your behalf in an appeals process. We understand the stress that injuries and disabilities can have on your life and want to help you receive the benefits you need. Whether you’ve been recently disabled or have had your disability claims denied in the past, please contact the office of Reinhardt | Harper | Davis for a free, no-obligation consultation.