Who Is Entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits in Alabama?
Social security disability insurance is a failsafe that protects Americans when they can no longer work or those who can’t work as they had in the past – among other issues. However, many people don’t even realize they are eligible for social security benefits. Any person who has worked and had social security benefits deductions from their paycheck is eligible to receive those benefits when they can no longer work or when they can no longer provide for their family.
Can I Collect Social Security Benefits?
Filers can submit disability claims through the Social Security Administration either online or via mail. Conditions for collecting benefits are:
- Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
- They must have an injury that prevents work for at least 12 months or that will result in death.
- They are not currently receiving benefits.
- Social Security agency hasn’t rejected them in the past 60 days.
Applicants for disability insurance through the SSA must provide significant documentation and proof of their situation. This includes personal identification documents, such as a birth certificate and social security card, as well as medical documentation demonstrating the effects of the condition – as laid out by a medical doctor.
Social security only covers long-term disability. This means that the disability in question must be permanent or last for at least 12 months. Additionally, certain impairments the SSA designates in their so-called blue book spells out the severity of cases to decide on disability payments.
There is an income restriction for receiving disability funds, set at $1,180 per month – above which a person the SSA considers an applicant employed and not eligible for compensation. The condition must also make it impossible to consider employment in the same position or from transitioning into a less-strenuous opportunity.
To receive compensation through social security, a worker must have worked at his or her job long enough to accumulate work credits that mean they are insured at a job. Work credits operate on an earned-income basis, with one credit equaling $1,320 up to a maximum of four credits at $5,200. The credit requirements depend on age, with older workers needing more credits to receive benefits. The exact number required varies, with 21 to 24-year-old workers needing the least – six credits – and workers 62 or older needing the most, at 40.
What Happens If the Agency Turns Down Social Security Benefits?
It is relatively common for the SSA to reject initial social security applications. The agency denies somewhere around 30% of applications on their first attempt – with about 50% eventually receiving payment. If you experience a rejection from the Social Security Administration that you believe is either unfair or a mistake, your next step is to appeal the decision. Do not reapply for the same claim, even though applications are faster than the appeals process.
Starting the appeal process involves submitting a request for reconsideration – which requires resubmission of the initial claim documentation. Most appeals must undergo a disability hearing. Appeals will appear before a judge – and medical expertise – to determine whether the SSA wrongfully denied disability insurance to the applicant. It is possible to provide witnesses at this hearing, but if there’s a second denial, it will go to the Appeals Council where other judges will ensure that proper procedures were followed.
Having a lawyer on hand to advise you can make the appeals process considerably easier. While attorneys cannot advocate for your case directly in the courtroom, an experienced lawyer can help arrange your appeal and construct a stronger argument for your hearing.
Those who have worked hard and paid money into the social security system deserve its protection during times of crisis.