When you are dealing with the physical limitations of a disability, figuring out how you will continue to provide for yourself and your family can be overwhelming. However, through the Social Security Administration (SSA’s) Social Security disability programs, you may be able to get the financial help you need when you need it most. However, it is not unusual for the SSA to deny even the most deserving applicants.
Having an experienced Tennessee Social Security disability lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC could help you get your Social Security benefits approved sooner. Find out more about which program you may be eligible for in the steps to take if your claim has been denied when you contact our office for a free consultation.
Types of Social Security Disability
There are two primary types of Social Security disability benefits that may be available depending on which criteria you meet. These include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must meet the criteria. These requirements include having a qualifying disability or medical condition and earning a minimum number of work credits.
Generally, SSDI benefits are available for individuals who are unable to earn a living for a minimum of 365 days due to a disabled medical condition. Typically, SSDI benefits will continue until you are able to return to work or earn substantial gainful activity. These benefits can then be converted to retirement benefits when you reach retirement age.
As of 2023, you can earn one work credit for every $1,640 in self-employment income or wages, with a maximum number of four work credits per year. This means once you have earned $6,560 in 2023, you will have earned the maximum number of work hours allowable for that year.
Twenty of the work credits on your employment record must have been earned over the last ten years for you to meet the SSDI eligibility requirements. Generally, you must have at least 40 work credits to qualify.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are designed to help those who have qualifying disabilities and limited income. If you have a qualifying disability or are blind and your earnings are below the income limits, you may be eligible for SSI. You can collect SSI benefits in conjunction with SSDI benefits and retirement benefits.
To qualify, you must:
- Be disabled, blind, or at least 65 years of age
- Have limited assets and resources
- Have limited income
- Be considered a U.S. citizen
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Common Reasons for Social Security Disability Denials
There are many reasons why the SSA may deny your application for SSDI or SSI benefits. Generally, they will argue that you do not meet the eligibility requirements. However, it is not unusual for SSDI and SSI claims to be denied during the first application.
There are many reasons for a denial of benefits. The SSA may require additional medical documentation, your condition may not be on the SSA’s list of qualifying disabilities, or you may have made a mistake on your application. Your initial denial letter should state the reason why your Social Security disability application was rejected.
Working with a skilled Social Security disability attorney in Tennessee could be your chance to address any issues with your application. With guidance from an experienced professional, you stand a better chance of qualifying for the SSD benefits you deserve.
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How to Appeal a Denied Social Security Disability Claim
Your Social Security disability lawyer in Tennessee will carefully evaluate your initial application to determine how we should approach your appeal. There are generally four stages to the appeals process, which are as follows:
A reconsideration request is when your Tennessee Social Security disability attorney requests that another Social Security Administration representative review your application. This reviewer will not have had any part in making the initial decision to deny your application. The reviewer can overturn the initial decision to deny your claim or uphold it.
If you are denied in this phase, you can move forward to the next stage of the appeals process.
Administrative Law Judge Hearings
Your Social Security disability lawyer can request that your case be heard before an Administrative Law Judge. Here, we will have the opportunity to present evidence to support your right to SSDI benefits. The judge can overturn the decision to uphold your request and grant your benefits.
If the judge denies your application, you may decide to move forward with an appeals council review.
Appeals Council Review
In an Appeals Council review, the Appeals Council decides whether they will hear your case. They also have the option of denying the review. If the Appeals Council agrees to hear your case, there are three possible outcomes. The Council can return your case to an Administrative Law Judge for review, take additional legal action, or decide to grant your application for SSDI benefits.
Federal District Court Action
If the Appeals Council does not approve your benefits claim, you can request that your case be heard with a Federal Court. The vast majority of SSD appeals are resolved before this level, but the Federal Court does have the option of ordering a new hearing, issuing a new decision, or sending your case back to the Appeals Council for review. To request a Federal Court review, you must work with a Social Security Disability lawyer to file the proper motion.
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Social Security disability benefits, whether SSI or SSDI, could be the solution you need when you are struggling to provide for yourself, or when you have a disabling medical condition.
When you need help getting your claim for Social Security disability benefits approved, you may require the legal guidance and support of a trusted Tennessee Social Security disability lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC. We stand ready to fight for the benefits you deserve.
Complete our online contact form or call our office to start working on your Social Security disability case as soon as today.