Over 1.8 million Americans applied for Social Security disability benefits in 2022. Only around 543,000 of those applicants were awarded monthly Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. It is no secret that the road to obtaining disability benefits is a long and complicated process, with the majority of initial disability claims receiving a denial letter.
Attorney Patrick Kelly understands the delicate intricacies of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and has over 30 years of experience fighting for the rights of America’s disabled workers in San Francisco, CA..
Do I Qualify For SSDI Benefits?
The first step in applying for SSDI benefits is making sure you qualify. In order to qualify, you must meet the following criteria:
- You need to have been employed with work covered by Social Security.
- You must have a medical condition that meets the SSA’s strict definition of disability.
In addition to meeting these qualifications, you must also have worked long enough under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits. The SSA requires you to have a certain amount of work credits based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. For 2023, you earn 1 work credit for every $1,640 in wages or self-employment income. An applicant normally needs 40 work credits, with 20 of those credits earned within the last 10 years ending with the year the disability began.
Do I Have a Qualifying Disability?
The Social Security Administration uses a step-by-step process to determine if you have a qualifying disability. This process involves the following 5 questions:
- Are you currently working?
- Is your condition “severe”?
- Is your condition included in the list of disabling conditions?
- Can you do the work you performed previously?
- Can you perform any other type of employment?
Do not give up hope of obtaining SSDI benefits if you do not qualify based on these questions. There are special rules for individuals in particular situations. An experienced Social Security disability lawyer can help determine if you meet these specific circumstances.
What is the Social Security Disability Benefits Process?
The application process for SSDI benefits follows the same general steps whether you choose to apply online, in person, or by phone.
- Gather all documentation needed to apply. The SSA provides a convenient online checklist to help ensure you include everything needed for your application.
- Fully complete your application – missing or incomplete sections can result in a denial.
- The SSA will then confirm that you have worked enough years to qualify, evaluate current work activities if applicable, then process your application and forward your case to the Disability Determination Services office located in your state.
- The Disability Determination Services office will make the decision to award or deny benefits.
It typically takes three to six months after you have submitted your initial application to receive a decision.
What are the Benefits to Hiring an SSDI Attorney in San Francisco?
Although you are eligible to apply for Social Security disability benefits on your own, there are several advantages to having a skilled SSDI lawyer working on your behalf.
- An experienced attorney can speak and understand the complicated terminology of the Social Security Administration.
- A disability lawyer will make sure that all of your paperwork is properly completed and submitted before required deadlines, eliminating the possibility of a denial based on missing a due date.
- You can start the benefits process without any money up front. Our law firm works on a contingency basis meaning you only owe for our services if we are able to obtain disability benefits for you.
- The chance of a successful outcome is significantly higher when you have an attorney who is well versed in disability claims representing you.
Let Us Fight For Your Disability Benefits
At Patrick Kelly, Attorney at Law, we understand that navigating through the Social Security disability process can be a stressful undertaking for anyone, and even more so for someone struggling with the daily challenges of a disability.
Attorney Patrick Kelly has represented clients in more than 20 states and has a proven record of successful outcomes. If you or a loved one have recently been denied benefits and are facing the appeal process, or need assistance applying for SSDI for the first time, request a free consultation by filling out our online form or by calling us at 510-769-4895.