|How do I qualify for benefits?
To receive benefits under the Social Security Disability or SSI program, you must have physical or mental health problems severe enough to keep you from working in any regular paying job for at least 12 months. The test isn't whether you are able to go back to your previous employment; and the test isn't whether you've been able to find employment lately. The test is whether you are capable of doing jobs available in the national economy.
Using complex regulations, the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers the following criteria in making determinations regarding your case:
* medical condition
* your remaining ability to work
* your age
* work experience
At age 50 (in most cases), and again at age 55 and 60, SSA regulations make it easier to be found disabled.
I've been denied benefits. What is the next step?
Nationwide, about 60 percent of all applicants are initially denied benefits, but many of these ultimately receive benefits after an administrative hearing. You must request (file) for a hearing no later than 60 days after you receive your denial notice.
Do I need an attorney?
You have the right to have an attorney represent you in your Social Security case. Statistics have shown that people represented by attorneys have been successful more often than people without attorney representation. You should contact an attorney as soon as your Initial Application is denied. The earlier an attorney is able to start working on your case, the better your chances of winning.
When you come in for your first meeting with an attorney, make sure to bring any Denial Notices you have received from the Social Security Administration as well as any medical documentation that you may have.