Deputy & Mizell is a well-established law firm boasting extensive expertise in handling social security disability cases. Our team of seasoned Social Security disability attorneys stands ready with unmatched professionalism and dedication to serving clients in different areas of Missouri, including Camdenton, Lebanon, Springfield, Kansas City, St. Louis, Cape Girardeau and more. Understanding social security disability can often be complex and daunting. It involves many rules and regulations, which can be challenging to navigate without comprehensive legal expertise. As a result, the need for knowledgeable and experienced attorneys in this field is crucial. At Deputy & Mizell, our attorneys take pride in their in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of Social Security disability law. We bring a wealth of experience and a track record of success, ensuring our clients receive the representation and justice they deserve. Our reputation as leading Social Security disability attorneys in Missouri is built on years of diligent service and client satisfaction.
Definition of Disability
As defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), disability is the incapacity to participate in significant gainful activity (employment) due to a physical or mental impairment. This disability must be projected to endure for at least 12 months or potentially lead to fatality. The SSA also considers age, education level, and work experience when determining eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. Qualifying disabilities can fall into various categories, including physical impairments affecting sight and hearing or mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Purpose and Eligibility of SSDI
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program in the United States that provides financial assistance to individuals who cannot work due to a qualifying disability. To qualify, a person needs to have a severe medical condition that hinders them from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) and should also have a work history where they’ve contributed to the Social Security system for a specific duration, contingent on their age. The purpose of Social Security Disability is to ensure individuals with disabilities who cannot earn a sustainable income can still meet their basic needs. Eligibility for these benefits, however, is determined based on a stringent set of criteria and requirements. These include the severity and duration of the disability and the applicant’s work history. The disability must be expected to last at least a year or result in death. Given the complexities involved in understanding and applying for Social Security disability benefits, enlisting the services of an experienced attorney can prove invaluable. Legal representation can help you navigate the rigid requirements.
The quantity of benefits an individual obtains from SSDI is determined by their historical earnings and the extent of Social Security taxes they have contributed during their years of employment. The SSA calculates the benefit amount considering an individual’s total wages from the past five years before the onset of their disability.
How Long is the SSDI Waiting Period?
There is a five-month waiting period after the onset of the disability, during which benefits are not paid. They will only start after the sixth whole month of disability.
After receiving SSDI benefits for 24 months, beneficiaries become eligible for Medicare, which provides health insurance coverage. However, some beneficiaries may qualify for Medicare earlier if they have end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Continuing Disability Review (CDR)
At regular intervals, the SSA conducts evaluations of SSDI cases to confirm that recipients still satisfy the prerequisites for their disability status. These assessments, recognized as Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs), are performed to determine if the person’s medical condition has improved, enabling them to resume work.
SSDI recipients can work to some extent without losing their benefits through various work incentive programs, such as the Trial Work Period, Extended Period of Eligibility, and Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limits.
Trial Work Period (TWP)
The Trial Work Period permits SSDI recipients to evaluate their capacity for employment over at least nine months within a 60-month timeframe. Throughout this duration, beneficiaries can receive their complete SSDI benefits without regard to their income as long as they disclose their work activity and their disabling condition persists.
Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)
Following the Trial Work Period, beneficiaries enter a 36-month Extended Eligibility Period. During this time, beneficiaries can continue to receive benefits for months even when their earnings are not considered “substantial,” currently defined as earning more than $1,310 in 2021. Should a beneficiary’s earnings exceed this limit, they have the safety net of the EPE to fall back on.
Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
Substantial Gainful Activity, or SGA, refers to a level of work and earnings. Work is “substantial” if it involves significant physical or mental activity. For employment to be “gainful,” it must be the kind of work usually done for pay or profit. It’s important to note that navigating these work incentive programs can be complex. The expertise of our Social Security disability attorneys in Missouri ensures you understand your options and make informed decisions.
Some medical conditions are considered so severe that they automatically qualify for SSDI benefits under the Compassionate Allowances program. This program fast-tracks the application process for individuals with these conditions. Examples include certain cancers, early-onset Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease, and other conditions.
In the event of an unfavorable decision on an SSDI application, candidates can contest the verdict through a sequential procedure, encompassing reconsideration, a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge, and additional subsequent appeals if deemed essential.
Numerous applicants enlist the assistance of disability attorneys or advocates to navigate the application and appeals procedures effectively. These experts offer valuable advice and legal representation to enhance the probability of obtaining approval. Our Social Security disability attorneys in Missouri understand the SSDI framework and are dedicated to ensuring you receive the entitled benefits. At Deputy & Mizell, we acknowledge the intricacies of Social Security Disability law and are committed to offering comprehensive guidance throughout the entire process. We advocate for each client to secure the benefits essential to you. Reach out to us today for an initial consultation free of charge. We are eager to assist you in obtaining the complete benefits accessible under the jurisdiction of Social Security disability law.
Common Misconceptions About Social Security Disability
There are several misconceptions surrounding social security disability that often hinder individuals from exploring their eligibility or understanding their rights:
- Social Security disability is only for “totally disabled” individuals. This is not the case. The program accommodates individuals with various disabilities, as long as they are severe and long-term, disrupting the person’s ability to engage in substantial gainful activity.
- You cannot work while collecting social security disability. In reality, the Social Security Administration allows individuals to earn a certain amount of income while still receiving disability benefits. This is part of their work incentives to encourage beneficiaries to return to work.
At Deputy & Mizell, our Social Security disability attorneys in Missouri want to correct these misconceptions and provide accurate, comprehensive information. We aim to ensure that potential applicants are well-informed and confident as they maneuver the complex landscape of Social Security disability benefits.
Talk To Our Social Security Disability Attorneys in Missouri
Navigating the social security disability landscape can be complex and challenging, riddled with misconceptions, complicated application processes, and potentially disheartening claim denials. At Deputy & Mizell, our team of experienced Social Security disability attorneys in Missouri is committed to guiding you every step of the way.
Our attorneys specialize in guiding applicants through the intricate process and successfully appealing denied claims. We understand applicants’ challenges and are dedicated to helping our clients overcome these hurdles. Our primary goal is to present your case effectively, ensuring accuracy and increasing your chances of approval.
If you or a loved one are considering applying for Social Security disability benefits, or if you have had a claim denied, we encourage you to seek our legal representation. Contact us today at Deputy & Mizell to schedule a free consultation to speak to one of our Social Security disability attorneys in Missouri. Let us help you navigate this journey and secure the benefits you rightly deserve.