Contrary to the popular myth, Social Security Disability (SSD) is not an age-related financial benefit. Instead, SSD is a condition-related benefit. People with specific physical or mental disabilities, regardless of age or how much money they have paid into the system. Might be eligible for SSD benefits. Additionally, the cause is usually irrelevant. It does not matter if the claimant was in a car crash or had a severe illness.
Substantial benefits are often available, but the Social Security Administration does not merely give this money away. The SSA is often a bureaucratic maze that’s difficult to navigate. Frankly, the SSA hopes that, after a couple of setbacks, frustrated claimants will abandon their claims or settle them for pennies on the dollar.
So, the aggressive Atlanta Social Security Disability lawyers at Bader Scott do not give up without a fight. We realize that SSD benefits often make the difference between making ends meet and going further in the hole. Therefore, we quickly evaluate your case and develop a plan of action. Then, we stand up for your legal and financial rights when no one else will.
Building an SSD Claim
Benefits are available if the claimant had a disabling physical or mental condition. “Disability” is more than a medical term, and it is a very subjective word. In addition to medical implications, this word has legal, educational, vocational, and other consequences.
Moreover, no one ever hears the doctor say, “you have a disability.” Significant loss of shoulder motion usually disables construction workers, but this injury might not affect college professors at all.
Fast Track Conditions
In a few cases, “disability” is not particularly relevant. The SSA presumes that certain conditions are disabling, regardless of the claimant’s educational, vocational, or other circumstances. This shortlist includes:
- Organ transplants,
- ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), and
- Cancer in some areas and at some stages.
Fast-track cancers include lung, bladder, thyroid, and breast cancer. These diseases are unusually aggressive so that immediate benefits could be the difference between life and death. The cancer survival rate has improved significantly since the 1990s, even regarding the aforementioned aggressive cancers. But that’s assuming the patient receives prompt and proper treatment, and these treatments are often quite expensive.
So, if you or a loved one has a fast-track condition, an Atlanta Social Security Disability lawyer might be able to obtain benefits by merely submitting some medical evidence. In almost all other cases, however, claimants should be ready for a fight, even if they are entitled to benefits.
Blue Book Conditions
Almost all SSD claimants have a presumptively disabling condition. The list of presumptive conditions in the SSD Blue Book sometimes changes, but for the most part, they remain the same. Some conditions which generally appear on the list include:
- Depression and other affective disorders,
- COPD and other breathing conditions,
- Back injuries,
- Sensory loss,
- Kidney disease,
- Advanced ADHD,
- Cardiovascular disease, and
- Non-fast-track cancer.
In addition to a current diagnosis, the claimant must also prove the condition is disabling. This word was already examined above. But in general, a condition is disabling if it significantly interferes with daily life. So, an Atlanta Social Security Disability lawyer must present compelling general evidence on this point.
Moreover, many conditions have specific requirements. Epilepsy is a good example. Millions of Americans suffer from this illness, but only a handful of them qualify for SSD benefits. Mostly, the claimant must show that the seizures are disabling even when the claimant is medicated. Alternatively, the claimant might be able to show that the cure is worse than the disease. In other words, the medicine or high dosage requirement has so many side-effects that it is disabling.
In both these cases, claimants must also present additional evidence, such as detailed seizure descriptions, eyewitness statements that substantiate the claimant’s report, and complete treatment and medical history.
Atlanta Social Security Disability Lawyers and CFR 404.1526 Conditions
This section of the Code of Federal regulations contains the medical-equivalency loophole. People with conditions that are medically equivalent to Blue Book conditions might also be entitled to benefits. Atlanta Social Security DIsability lawyers do not use the 404.1526 loopholes very often, mostly because the list of Blue Book conditions is thorough.
Once again, epilepsy is a good example. This condition is listed in the Blue Book. However, there are several other conditions which have the same symptoms as epilepsy, such as:
- Nonepileptic Events: Psychogenic seizures, arrhythmia, and narcolepsy are almost precisely like epilepsy in many respects. However, nonepileptic events are much rarer and much more difficult to control with medication.
- Febrile Seizures: Infants and young children often have high-fever seizures. If the patient had one such event, there’s about a 30 percent chance of another event. These claimants might be entitled to temporary SSD benefits, a concept that’s outlined below.
- Migraine Headaches: Only a few migraine patients experience seizures. Even fewer patients have seizures, which are so severe and so frequent that they are disabling even with medication.
These conditions are presumptive, not disabling. So, an Atlanta Social Security Disability lawyer must present enough evidence to overcome that presumption.
What to Expect in a Social Security Disability Claim
Before talking about the procedure, it’s essential to talk about the goal. Knowing the destination makes any journey easier and helps claimants keep their eyes on the prize.
As of January 1, 2020, the maximum SSD monthly benefit is $2,788. The actual amount varies based on the nature of the condition, extent of the claimant’s disability, and several dependents in the household.
These benefits could be temporary or permanent. Temporary benefits presumptively last for twelve months. The actual length varies based on several conditions, mostly the nature and extent of disability.
Initially, most SSD claimants submit paperwork to a Claims Examiner. These examiners often deny claims, at least in part. Additionally, since many CE have little experience and huge caseloads, they often make a legal calculation, and other mistakes.
At the appeals level, the outcome is often completely different. An Atlanta Social Security Disability lawyer can challenge evidence, make legal arguments, and otherwise advocate for claimants. Additionally, an attorney is also an excellent negotiator. So, if the claim settles, which is often the case, the settlement is usually on very favorable terms.
The wait for an appeals hearing is often excruciatingly long. Wait times exceed twelve months, in many locations. The good news is that claimants are usually entitled to retroactive benefits as of the filing date.
Contact Our Aggressive SSD Attorneys
SSD claims are quite complex. For a free consultation with an experienced Atlanta Social Security Disability lawyer, contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers. We do not charge upfront legal fees in SSD cases.