Our mission is to help those clients who are unable to help themselves, due to a disability that prevents them from working, by providing personal and professional representation using our legal training to advocate for the Social Security benefits our clients deserve.
What’s my disability?
Social Security Disability Claimants suffer from a wide range of debilitating problems ranging from mental and psychological disorders, such as schizophrenia, paranoia and other psychotic disorders, “Chronic Affective Disorders”, such as medically documented depression, sleeping disorders, eating disorders, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, delusions, bipolar syndrome or manic syndrome. Other claimants suffer from physical disorders such as fibromyalgia, cardiovascular impairments or heart disease, cancer, debilitating arthritis, blindness, diabetes, back pain, spine injuries, Crohn’s disease, liver failure, kidney failure, and other disabilities that prevent you from working.
Types of Claims Available to You
1. Social Security Disability
Title II Claims are also known as a Social Security Disability (SSD) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim. In order to qualify for a Title II Claim, you must meet the insured status requirements of the Social Security act. In other words, you must have worked and paid into the social security system for a set amount of time based on your age at the time of the onset of your disability, which is typically having worked for at least 5 out of the last 10 years.
2. Supplemental Security Income
Title XVI Claims are also known as a Supplemental Security Income Claims or SSI. You need not ever work to qualify for this type of claims. However, in order to qualify for a Title XVI claim, if you are single, you can not have assets worth over $2000, and if you are married, you can not have assets worth over $3000.
Are you Disabled?
Disability is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the inability to do any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to last for a period of not less than 12 months.” In other words, if you have a medically documented disability that prevents you from working for at least 12 months, you may be considered disabled under the Social Security Act.
What do I have to prove?
In order to determine whether an individual is disabled, the Social Security Administration has established a five-step sequential evaluation process.
In other words, if you pass the evaluation process, you are disabled.
The steps are:
1. Is the claimant engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)? SGA is defined as work that is both substantial and gainful. Substantial Activity is work activity that involves doing significant physical or mental activities. Gainful activity is work that is done for pay. If the claimant has earnings above a set level, he is presumed to be able to engage in SGA and will be denied benefits.
In other words, are you able to work and make money?
2. Does the claimant have a medically determinable impairment or combination of impairments that is severe? An impairment is considered severe if it significantly limits the claimant’s ability to perform basic work skills.
In other words, is the reason you are unable to work due to your medically documented disability?
3. Does the claimant meet an impairment listed in 20 CFR 404? If the claimant’s impairment meets a listed impairment, he is disabled under the Social Security Act. If not, he must proceed to step 4.
In other words, the Social Security Administration has made a list of disabilities that if you have one of them, then you are disabled. So this step determines whether your disability meets one on the list. If it does not, you are not automatically declined, you just go to the next step.
4. What is the claimant’s residual functional capacity? Does he have the capacity to perform the requirements of his former job? Residual Functional Capacity is the ability to do physical and mental work activities on a sustained basis despite the claimant’s disability. If the claimant has the Residual Functional Capacity to perform his past relevant work, he is not disabled. If he can not perform his past relevant work, we must look at step 5.
In other words, does your disability prevent you from doing your old job? If you can’t then you go to the next step.
5. Can the claimant do any other work considering his residual functional capacity, age, education, and work experience? If the claimant is not able to do other work, he is considered disabled and will receive benefits.
In other words, is there a job that you can do based upon your disability, your age, education and work experience?