Filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is complicated and can be frustrating for most people who have no idea how to navigate the process. Besides an overwhelming amount of paperwork that must be gathered, managed, and submitted according to the deadline, claimants must also be familiar with the laws and regulations that govern SSDI claims.
These reasons alone are enough to warrant working with an experienced SSDI attorney; however, sometimes it may be difficult to find an SSDI law firm willing to take your case, especially if one or more of the following eight factors are involved:
- Your medical condition(s)
The number and type of medical conditions in your medical history play a role in whether or not you are likely to be approved for SSDI benefits. Some people believe that the more medical problems they list, the more likely it will be that they will be approved for benefits. However, having multiple issues can raise a red flag with the Social Security Administration (SSA) if they believe you are overstating your medical condition. There are also some conditions, such as fibromyalgia, that historically have made benefits more difficult to obtain.
- Benefit application history
Some disability law firms prefer to represent clients only on appeal — i.e., those who have already applied for SSDI benefits and have been denied. (Our firm represents clients at both the application and appeal process.)
- Medical records
If you are not currently seeing a doctor for your SSDI-related medical condition(s) or have not seen a doctor for several years, it may be difficult to qualify for benefits because of poor medical records.
- Current work status
If you are currently working, this may make it more difficult for you to obtain SSDI benefits. Even though Social Security does allow you to earn a certain amount per month – typically around $1,300/month in 2021 – some SSA claims examiners do not look favorably on claimants who can still work unless you had to stop working after a short time due to your disability.
- Meeting SSDI nonmedical requirements
SSDI benefits can be awarded to any disabled individual, regardless of their income. But in addition to being disabled, an applicant must also have worked long enough to contribute a significant amount of money to the SSA through Social Security taxes. To determine if you have worked long enough to qualify, the SSA converts your income into “work credits.” The amount of income that equals one work credit changes every year. In 2021, you will need to earn $1,470 in order to earn one credit. The number of credits that you need to receive SSDI benefits will vary depending on your age; if you don’t have enough credits, you will be denied.
- Substance abuse
SSDI claimants that have a current history of substance abuse are typically not considered good candidates for representation by disability law firms, especially if that substance abuse contributes to or exacerbates their current medical condition.
- Unemployment benefits
Filing for unemployment benefits means you are eligible for work; this is a direct contradiction of what you are telling the Social Security Administration by filing for SSDI benefits. However, if your disability is work-related, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits as well as SSDI benefits.
- Your age
Unless you have impairments that automatically qualify you for benefits as having an SSDI-listed medical condition, it can be difficult to obtain benefits if you are under the age of 50. Typically, the SSA considers younger claimants more likely to get better over time, and the SSA only pays for total disabilities that are expected to last (or have lasted) for at least one year or will result in death.
If you are disabled, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our attorneys guide you through the process of obtaining Social Security disability benefits. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll-free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.