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How to Know Which SSA Program Is Right for You

Posted on March 7, 2016

Cleveland disability attorney

Social Security is for far more than just retirement. The Social Security Administration offers numerous programs to individuals in various circumstances. You must understand, however, which program you are eligible for, and even then the process of obtaining benefits can be drawn out and complicated. A knowledgeable disability lawyers in beachwood attorney can help you decide which program is right for you, as well as help you in an appeal if you are initially denied.

Types of Benefits Offered by the SSA
The SSA was established in 1935 by act of Congress, and since then has been modified substantially. Benefits are now available for:

• Those who retire and have a minimum number of hours paid into the system.
• Those who have become disabled and are unable to work long-term (SSD).
• Those who can’t work and whose income in the past has been very low (SSI).

Factors Affecting Whether You Qualify
Qualifying for disability benefits is not a simple matter, but your Cleveland disability attorney can guide you. To qualify for Social Security disability (SSD), you need to have sufficient earnings for a minimum number of quarters over the past 10 years. You also must be unable to work for at least 12 months at any job, not just the position to which you are accustomed. You may also qualify if your disability is likely to result in death.

Your disability must be considered by the SSA as “severe.” Your disability can be either physical, mental, or both, but mental health issues are more difficult to prove. This is because initially SSD was established only with physical disabilities in mind, and the process of determining disability has not fully adopted mental health.

You must also have received medical treatment for your disability, and this needs to be well-documented. Don’t assume that one visit to a doctor will be sufficient. There must be an established treatment. In order to satisfy the requirement that you cannot work, your doctor will need to fill out forms that are included in your application. Your doctor is not legally required to do this, so it is important that you establish a good relationship with your doctor, and perhaps offer payment to complete these forms.

Age is also an important factor, as is education/training and skill. If you are in your late fifties and have little or no education or job skills, your chances of qualifying are very strong. In essence, the older you are or the less training and experience you have, the more likely that you will qualify for SSD.

SSI and Means Testing
SSD pays out far more than SSI. Supplemental Security Income is intended for subsistence living. However, those who are deemed eligible, as your Cleveland disability lawyer will tell you, are also able to obtain Medicaid. When you apply for SSI you will need to pass a means test which determines that your income has been below a certain level. If you have other income or assets you may not be eligible for SSI, or your benefits might be reduced accordingly.

We Can Help You with Your Claim
Many people who are considering one of the programs offered by the SSA find the application process daunting. Your Cleveland disability attorney can help you with your application, as well as with an appeal, if necessary. Call Attorney Oreh today at 216-896-0935.

 

Social Security Disability Library