For a free evaluation of your SSD or SSI case, please call Hunter and Beck at (318) 487-1997 to speak with an experienced Social Security Disability Attorney today.

Social Security Disability and SSI

The law firm of Hunter and Beck is here to help our clients, throughout Louisiana, navigate the Social Security Disability (SSD) process. We are experienced lawyers with a history of obtaining positive results.
At Hunter and Beck, we know that SSD and SSI cases can produce more questions than answers. Don’t go through this process alone.

What Is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social Security Disability Insurance is a payroll tax-funded program that is run by the SSA. The program provides benefits to disabled individuals who are unable to work due to one or more medically diagnosed conditions. To qualify, your condition must be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death. Unlike many programs, SSD does not consider a recipient’s past income, and the program is able to provide benefits on either a temporary or permanent basis. The SSA will consider recent work history to confirm a person’s eligibility under the program.

What Is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is funded by general tax revenues and does not consider an individual’s past Social Security tax contribution. According to the SSA, Supplemental Security Income is designed to help disabled individuals who have little to no income. The benefits provided include funds to meet a person’s basic needs for food, clothing, shelter and other necessities.

Top Reasons To Apply For Disability Benefits

The primary reason for people to apply for disability benefits is to replace lost income when a disabling condition prevents them (or will prevent them) from working for 12 months or longer. In addition to monthly case disbursements, eligible individuals will also receive medical benefits so they can obtain the care they need. You should speak with your doctor and to determine whether or not you might qualify.

What Are The Criteria For Disability Benefits?

The Social Security Administration will consider several factors before approving or denying your SSD application. This includes a review of your work history to evaluate your contribution to the Social Security system and the length of time you were working. Assuming you meet the criteria under the “work history test,” you must then show you have a mental or physical condition that rules out full-time work, one which is expected to last more than 12 months or result in death. The SSA can also consider other factors such as your age and your education.

When Is A Person Considered Disabled?

The Social Security Administration has a long list of medical conditions that are generally accepted as a disabling condition, making a person eligible for benefits under the SSD program. Many unlisted conditions, however, can also result in eligibility, so long as there is documented medical proof that the condition has rendered a person disabled. As a result, approval for SSD benefits is done on a case-by-case basis. In fact, often, a combination of medical issues can result in approval even when each condition, considered by itself, might result in a denial of coverage.

Who Determines Whether I’m Disabled?

The simple answer to this question is to say the Social Security Administration has the final say over whether or not a person is disabled. In reality, however, it is a combination of many key players working together to determine whether or not you are disabled. These players include yourself, your doctor, your attorney and even administrative law judges should your case be appealed. For example, an applicant believing he or she is disabled and deserves benefits is the first, most important step in this determination.

What Does Permanent Disability Mean?

Permanent Disability means that you are unable to work for a year or more. Many clients assume that this means they must wait a full year before they may apply for benefits. This thought could not be further from the truth. Many conditions, supported by medical opinion, can predictably last at least 12 months. As a result, it is possible to apply for and receive Social Security Disability benefits well before a year has passed.

What Evidence Do I Need To Prove I’m Totally Disabled?

There are three primary issues that you must demonstrate to the SSA to prove total disability. They include:

  1. Your disease prevents you from doing the same work as before you became afflicted
  2. You are unable to adjust to other forms of work due to your disease
  3. Your medical condition is expected to last at least a year or result in death

Working alongside an experienced attorney and your medical professional, you will have the support you need to obtain evidence needed to prove total disability.

Will I Qualify For SSDI Or SSI?

Your eligibility depends upon many factors, all of which we will discuss during your initial consultation. Some tips for increasing your chances of filing a successful application include seeing your doctor early and regularly. It is important to clearly communicate with both your doctors and your attorney so they can fully understand the extent of your condition and the limitations it places upon you. It is also important not to get discouraged if you recently applied for benefits and were denied. A majority of initial applications are denied for a wide range of reasons. We are available to pursue reconsideration of your application or take it before an administrative law judge on appeal.

How Much In Social Security Benefits Can You Get?

The Social Security Administration will review several factors to determine the amount of benefits you could receive. These factors include your age, your work history and how much you paid in Social Security taxes throughout your life. Our attorneys will work hard to obtain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.

For Supplemental Security Income, the maximum you can receive is $721 in 2013—this is adjusted annually based on the Cost of Living calculations. To receive this amount you must be living independently without support from friends or family.

Do I Need Assistance To File An SSD Claim?

More than 50 percent of initial applications are denied, even for those applicants who in fact qualify for benefits. Applicants must follow strict guidelines, file all necessary paperwork on time, and ensure their application is complete and accurate. Hiring an experienced attorney greatly improves your chance of being approved so you can begin receiving benefits as soon as possible.

Can I Apply For SSD While Working Part Time Or Going To School?

You may work part time and still qualify for benefits so long as you are earning less than $1,040 a month. You are likely to be denied if you make more than this amount. It is possible for students to qualify for benefits, but it is important to have strong, convincing medical evidence to support your claim. The SSA may view strenuous course loads as evidence that your disability does not prevent you from working.

When Should I Hire An SSD Lawyer?

You should hire an experienced Louisiana Social Security Disability attorney as soon as you and your doctor agree that you are totally disabled. Your attorney will know what medical proof you need to be successful, as well as the administrative requirements for obtaining benefits. Help is still available if you tried to apply without attorney representation and were denied. A lawyer can help you through the appeals process, including asking for reconsideration or taking your claim before an administrative law judge.

How Do I Appeal A Denied Claim?

There are several steps to the Social Security Disability appeals process, and they must be done in order, before you are permitted to advance to the next stage. They include:

  1. You may apply for reconsideration in most states, within 60 days of being denied. A new adjudicator, who was not involved in the original decision, will review old and new evidence before issuing a decision.
  2. If your reconsideration request results in a second denial, you then have 60 days to request a hearing with an administrative law judge. You will have the opportunity to present witnesses, including doctors or anyone else who can support your claim. The judge will then issue a written decision approving or denying your application.
  3. The next stage is to request an Appeals Council review. The appeals council has the ability to approve or deny a review request, meaning that it may choose to review your case, send it back to the administrative law judge or not review your case at all.
  4. The final stage in the appeals process is to take your case before a Federal Court judge.
What Rules Apply With SSD Benefits And Health Insurance?

Many rules apply when Social Security Disability benefits and health insurance interact. Different rules apply to different forms of insurance coverage such as Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance and private disability insurance. We are happy to review your specific situation and explain how these rules might affect your application.

What Happens With SSDI Or SSI When A Disabled Child Reaches 18?

The Social Security Administration typically suspends benefits when a child reaches 18 years of age. The child will then be re-evaluated under the adult criteria for determining eligibility. Speak with one of our experienced SSDI or SSI attorneys to determine whether benefits could be extended under the adult rules.

Which Diseases Qualify For SSDI Or SSI?

Both Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs require medical proof of total disability. The SSA provides a long list of common conditions that typically lead to approval under the programs. The list is non-exhaustive, however, meaning that even unlisted conditions (or a combination thereof) could result in a successful application.

How Should I Prepare For A Disability Hearing?

The easiest way to prepare for a disability is to hire an experienced attorney who can educate you about the law that applies to your case. Hunter and Beck will work directly with your medical professionals to obtain updated medical records and statements to prove your eligibility. The hearings are informal but some rules do apply, such as testifying under oath. Often, the judge will bring in medical advisors and vocational experts to the hearings as witnesses.

What Role Does A Social Worker Play In Disability Cases?

Our attorneys have seen social workers play a critical role in disability cases. This role includes educating clients about programs that are available, referring clients to experienced medical professionals, as well as obtaining advocates who can help them obtain the benefits they need. Social Workers’ case notes and testimony are often important evidence to support a disability claim.

What SSD Benefit Do I Have For Dependents?

The Social Security Administration states that unmarried children may qualify for benefits up to age 18, or up to age 19 if they are full-time students.

Where Can I Get More Facts Or FAQs On Social Security?

Hunter and Beck are available to address any questions or concerns you might have during an initial consultation.