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Social Security Disability J.J. Can Help

Pensacola Social Security Disability Lawyer

Social Security Disability Insurance & Supplemental Security Income

Social Security disability (SSD) is a government program that provides financial benefits to those who cannot work due to a disability or disabling condition. There are two main SSD programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While SSDI is available to qualifying individuals who have earned sufficient work credits, SSI is income-based, meaning it is possible to qualify for benefits despite the absence of a work history. 

If you are seeking SSD benefits, have had your SSDI or SSI application denied, or need assistance with any other SSD matter, reach out to the Law Office of J.J. Talbott team. With decades of experience and a long history of success, our Pensacola Social Security disability attorneys have what it takes to effectively advocate for you. We genuinely care about the people we serve and are committed to helping you navigate the legal process with as little stress as possible.

Contact our firm online or by phone at (850) 695-8331 today to learn more about how our SSD attorneys can help you with your claim. 

Social Security Disability Insurance 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was designed to help people who cannot work due to an injury, illness, or another disabling condition. To be eligible for SSDI, you must have a qualifying condition and you must have earned enough “work credits” by working long enough and recently enough, earning income on which you paid Social Security taxes. The number of work credits you need to qualify for SSDI depend on the age at which your disability began. 

What Does the Social Security Administration Consider a “Disability?”

To qualify for SSDI, you must have a condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) strict definition of a “disability.”

To be considered a disability according to the SSA, your injury or medical condition must: 

  • Prevent you from engaging in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) 
  • Prevent you from performing the work you did before or performing modified work 
  • Last or be expected to last for at least one year or result in death 

The SSA has a “Listing of Impairments” that includes most physical and mental conditions that meet these criteria. If your injury or condition is not listed on the Listing of Impairments, this does not mean that you are automatically disqualified from receiving SSDI benefits. Instead, you will have to prove that your injury or condition is similar to one of the ones listed or otherwise represents a “qualifying condition.” 

How Are SSDI Benefits Calculated? 

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a calculator to determine how much a qualifying individual will receive in SSDI benefits. Typically, benefits are paid on a monthly basis and are based on average covered earnings over time, or “average indexed monthly earnings” (AIME). 

Generally speaking, SSDI benefits range from about $800 to $1,800 per month, though this varies significantly depending on numerous factors. Additionally, monthly SSDI benefits are limited to a maximum amount set each year. In 2022, the maximum monthly SSDI benefit is $3,345 per month. 

What to Do If Your SSD Claim Is Denied 

Unfortunately, most first-time Social Security disability claims are denied. If your SSD claim has been denied, you have the right to appeal. In fact, it is strongly recommended that you appeal the denial rather than restart the claims process, as your chances of success are much higher. 

It is important that you work with an experienced attorney if your SSD claim has been denied. The appeals process can be lengthy and confusing; you want a lawyer by your side who knows the process and who can protect your rights. You will likely be required to attend a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), and an attorney can help you prepare for this hearing, as well as meet all other applicable deadlines and requirements. 

  • How Long Does It Take Social Security to Make a Decision on My Claim?

    A significant part of the claim process involves obtaining your medical records, which can be a time-consuming process as the Social Security Administration has to get your records from many medical providers. Also, if Social Security has medical questions, they send you to a doctor for an evaluation. A disability examiner will work with a state agency doctor to make the initial decision on your claim. As such, the period for the initial evaluation may take between 3-5 months.

  • How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability?
  • What if I Cannot Afford an Attorney?

    Attorneys’ fees are both approved and regulated by Social Security. Many attorneys work on a contingency fee. This means that you do not have to pay attorneys fees if you do not recover. Contingency fee percentages are capped at 25 percent of the “past due” benefits with a cap not to exceed $6000.00. Social Security will pay the attorneys’ fees amount to your attorney at the conclusion of your case out of your past-due lump-sum benefits. At that time, you may also have to pay your attorney for any out-of-pocket expenses such as ordering medical records; copies, and postage.

  • If I Can’t Work Because of My Medical Condition, Does That Mean I Am Eligible for Disability?

    Qualifying for Social Security Disability is as much a legal question as it is a medical one. Social Security laws require more than having your doctor tell you that you are disabled. Instead, we look at your medical condition, your physical and work restrictions, and the effects that these facts have on your ability to work. This is a complicated evaluation that often requires an attorney’s assistance.

  • Should I Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?

    At the Law Office of J.J. Talbott, we encourage our clients to file for social security disability benefits if there is a possibility that the employee would qualify for SSD.  Unfortunately, most people are denied social security disability benefits the first time they apply and it takes approximately eighteen (18) months to two years to get to a formal hearing with the Social Security Administration after you request a hearing. 

    While many attorneys might encourage you to wait to file social security disability benefits – it is our belief that applying for social security disability benefits sooner may be better for the employee and may limit the time for which the employee waits for some income after they reach maximum medical improvement. 

    Specifically, if the employee waits to apply for social security disability benefits after reaching maximum medical improvement, and the insurance carrier does not accept the employee as permanently totally disabled then the claimant may have to wait 18 – 24 months without any income.  This is a tremendous hardship that many employees cannot handle.  Therefore, applying earlier helps the employee receive the monetary SSD benefits quicker. 

  • When Do I Need to Get an Attorney to Help With My Social Security Disability Claim?

    Applying for Social Security benefits involves more than completing an application, and it is helpful to have someone who will work for you from the beginning.  The Law Office of J.J. Talbott accepts claims at the initial application stage and would be happy to evaluate your case, answer your questions, and file your application with Social Security. Although you can complete your application without an attorney’s assistance, consulting an attorney early in the process, before you apply or shortly after, can be extremely beneficial. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help put your claim on the best footing from the outset. Let our team of attorneys fight for your Social Security benefits today!

  • How Does the Social Security Administration Define “Disability”?

    “Disability” is defined by the Social Security Administration as an  “… inability to engage in substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment [or combination of impairments] which can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve [consecutive months] … taking into account the individual’s age, education, and work history.” 42 U.S.C. sec 423 et al; 20 C.F.R. 404 (emphasis added).

  • What Happens When I Reach Retirement Age?

    Once you reach age 62, your disability benefits will be automatically converted to retirement benefits by Social Security.

  • Will I Get Health Insurance Coverage Under Social Security?

    Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. sec. 426(b), you are entitled to be covered by Medicare within 24 months of being approved to receive disability benefits under SSDI. Please note that there is a 5-month waiting period from the onset of the disability to entitlement. However, under SSI, you should be able to get Medicaid coverage which is administered by the State.

  • Can I work and still collect Social Security Disability?

    You cannot be engaged in “substantial gainful activity.” 20 C.F.R. 404.1571. In 2016 there is a presumption that a claimant earning $1010.00 a month is engaged in “substantial gainful activity.” This means that if you are paid more than this for work in one month despite a disabling condition, your claim will be denied. However, an attorney can help you determine if this work constituted an “unsuccessful work attempt” or whether the actual earnings should be reduced due to “impairment-related work expenses” or whether it was really “subsidized work.”

  • How Much Money Will I Receive on Disability?

    Disability payments under SSD are determined by your earnings record. Social Security uses your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) which can be found on your Earnings Record with Social Security. SSDI payments are based upon lifetime earnings, not the severity of your disability. It is also important to note that SSDI benefits are reduced if you receive Workers Compensation payments. If you are entitled to benefits under SSDI, then the most that you could receive is $2,639 for 2016.

  • Are Children Entitled to Receive Social Security Disability?

    An adult child becomes disabled before the age of 22 may be entitled to draw SSDI benefits based upon the Social Security eligibility of his or her mother or father. The parent must be deceased or drawing SSDI disability or retirement benefits. It is not necessary for the adult child to have an earnings record with Social Security as the adult child can utilize the parent’s earning record. However, the disabled adult child cannot be engaged in substantial gainful employment. Children under the age of 18 may be entitled to receive SSI benefits if they meet the criteria for being disabled and their family income and assets meet the eligibility requirements.

  • What Happens if My Claim Is Denied?

    If your claim is denied, the next step will be to file for reconsideration. At reconsideration, the claim is evaluated by a different examiner and state agency physician. If the claim is denied at reconsideration, you may request a hearing before an administrative law judge. Please note there are strict time deadlines to appeal decisions or file for reconsideration, and if you file late, then you have no recourse and have to start over. Usually, this is the point at which you will want to hire an attorney. Many claims are denied by Social Security in the initial stages. However, a majority are then approved at the hearing level. You have a good chance of winning at hearing level so it is important not to give up.

How the SSD Attorneys at the Law Office of J.J. Talbott Can Help 

Applying for Social Security disability benefits, appealing a denied claim, and simply navigating the SSD system can be extremely difficult without the help of a knowledgeable lawyer. At the Law Office of J.J. Talbott, we truly care about our clients and are committed to doing everything we can to achieve the best possible outcomes in their cases. 

As your legal team, we will be there to guide you and advocate for you throughout the process. We recognize that this is a very stressful time in your life, which is why we handle everything from gathering and submitting paperwork to communicating with SSA representatives so that you do not have to. 

We return all phone calls within 24 hours and remain consistently available to our clients. When you hire the Law Office of J.J. Talbott, you do not pay any upfront or out-of-pocket expenses; we only collect legal fees if/when we recover a favorable result for you.

Call us today at (850) 695-8331 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our Social Security disability lawyers in Pensacola. 

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Supplemental Security Income 

The purpose of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is to provide qualifying individuals with funds for basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Unlike SSDI, SSI is not based on earnings over time. You do not need to earn any work credits to qualify for SSI, meaning you can receive SSI benefits even if you have never worked due to your disability. 

Instead, SSI is income-based. This means that benefits are generally only available to individuals or couples who meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) income threshold. If you make too much money, you do not qualify for SSI. 

How to Qualify for SSI 

To qualify for SSI benefits, you must be at least one of the following:

  • Disabled 
  • Blind
  • 65 years old or older

Additionally, you must: 

  • Have limited income and resources 
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a qualifying alien 
  • Reside in one of the 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., or the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Not leave the country for one full calendar month or for at least 30 consecutive days 
  • Not be confined to a government-funded institution, such as a prison or hospital 

There may be other criteria required to qualify for SSI benefits. We recommend that you seek assistance from the knowledgeable Social Security disability lawyers at the Law Office of J.J. Talbott for help determining whether you are eligible for benefits. 

How to Apply for SSI Benefits 

You can request an appointment to apply for SSI benefits on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) website. The process of requesting an appointment takes about 5 to 10 minutes and requires you to provide certain information, such as your name, date of birth, Social Security number, mailing address, phone number, and email address. 

After completing the online request, you will be contacted by a Social Security representative to schedule an appointment. If you cannot request an appointment online, you can also call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday. 

If you need help applying for SSI benefits, do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of J.J. Talbott team. We are happy to assist you with this process, as well as all Social Security disability-related matters.

Contact us online or by calling (850) 695-8331 today!

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Whether you’re one of the 250,000+ Floridians injured in an auto accident each year, or you’ve suffered an injury at work and your employer’s insurance company is not co-operating, the Law Office of J.J. Talbott can help get you the compensation you deserve. Founder, J.J. Talbott is among the 1% of trial lawyers in the United States who have won multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements.

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