Social Security Disability
If you are disabled, and meet other criteria, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) application process can be overwhelming. Many initial applications are valid, but rejected. Washington, D.C. Social Security Disability lawyer Matthew T. Famiglietti is an experienced SSDI attorney who may be able to help you with your District of Columbia SSDI claim. It is wise to seek legal representation even before you file your initial application for SSDI.Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability Insurance is a government program. To qualify for benefits, you must have worked in jobs that are covered by Social Security. You also need to have a disabling condition that meets the Social Security Administration's definition of disability. When awarded, benefits typically continue until the claimant is able to regularly work. There are work incentives in place to help workers go back to work when they're no longer disabled.Qualifying for Benefits
A five-step procedure is used to figure out whether you are disabled under the SSA's definition. If you're working and making more than a certain sum a month, you won't be considered disabled. However, if you aren't working, the SSA will send your application to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office. In order to be considered disabled, you must be significantly limited in your ability to do basic work tasks like walking, standing, or lifting for at least 12 months. Speak to a Social Security Disability attorney in the Washington, D.C. area to find out how you may qualify for benefits.
The SSA keeps a list of medical conditions considered severe enough that they stop someone from performing substantial gainful activity. The list covers every major body system. If your condition is not specifically set forth on the list, it must be as severe as a medical condition that's listed. Assuming it is, there will be a disability finding.
However, if your condition is not as severe as those listed, the next consideration is whether your medical condition stops you from performing any of your past jobs. You don't have a qualifying disability if you're not prevented from doing past work. If you’re stopped from performing your past work, the SSA will look to see whether there's other work you could perform even though you have a medical condition. In this analysis, the SSA considers a range of factors including age, education, medical conditions, and past work experience. There will be a finding that you’re disabled if the SSA determines if you can't do other work. Your claim will be denied if the SSA decides you could do other work.Social Security Work Credits
In order to qualify for SSDI, you not only need to meet the definition of disability, but you also need to have worked for a certain length of time, such that you’ve built up work credits. You can earn up to four work credits in a year, and these are based on your total annual wages or self-employment income. How much you need to have made in wages or self-employment income to obtain benefits shifts from year to year. The age you were when you became disabled will dictate the number of work credits you need to get benefits. Usually, you need 40 credits. Twenty of these credits must've been earned in the last 10 years leading up to the year you became disabled. Younger workers, however, could qualify with less than 20 credits. Consult a Social Security Disability lawyer based in Washington, D.C. to learn more about credits.Appeals
Even workers with valid claims of disability may find their applications rejected by the SSA. The requirements for SSDI benefits are strict. If your claim is denied, you should receive a letter that explains why the SSA decided as it did. You can ask for an appeal. You'll need to request an appeal in writing within 60 days of the date you received the decision letter. There are four levels of appeal: reconsideration, hearing, appeals Council review, and review by federal court. The process starts with reconsideration by someone who didn't take part in deciding your initial claim. If you don't agree with the reconsideration decision you can ask for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge who is not involved in either the initial decision or the reconsideration. The hearing gives you a chance to explain your case. You and your witnesses will be questioned by the administrative law judge. You should be represented by an experienced attorney from the start, and certainly when you ask for reconsideration.Consult a Washington, D.C. Social Security Disability Attorney
If you are concerned about bringing your Social Security Disability claim in Washington, D.C., you should discuss your situation with Matthew T. Famiglietti. Mr. Famiglietti is committed to serving disabled clients in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. He also represents federal employees. Call the Law Office of Matthew T. Famiglietti at (202) 669-5880 or complete our online form.