Social Security Disability Attorney Explains the Steps in Your Indiana Disability Case
Indiana disability attorney Martin Barnes understands that winning a disability ruling from the Social Security Administration is usually a long and complex process. The SSA uses a multitude of rules when making a decision on the severity of a claimant’s health status. There are some claims that are generally automatic, but the final ruling is still a legal determination and the federal government wants to ensure that their rulings are made in an established and consistent manner. The legal component of a disability decision means that having an Indiana Social Security Disability attorney like Martin Barnes can be crucial for receiving a reasonably timed approval of your disability claim. There are five distinct stages of a Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income claim. The rules for determining the disability are very similar regarding medical evidence, but the payment and waiting time rules are very different. In addition, Supplemental Security Income is approved for one year with periodic re-evaluation, but Social Security Disability Insurance considered total disability and the decision is usually a total and permanent ruling when the awarded disabled worker stays within the additional earning guidelines set forth by the disability agencies.
Step 1: Determining Substantial Gainful Activity
One of the first considerations by SSA is the number of Social Security tax credits that the applicant has earned during their working career. Workers can earn up to four credits per year, with one per three months based on a minimum tax record deduction and earning amount. Even individuals who were employed part-time may be eligible of Social Security Disability Insurance, but the level of financial benefits is lessened for those with smaller tax receipt amounts. Substantial Gainful Activity is reached when an applicant earns at least $1090 in a given month, which then will trigger the elimination of benefits for many recipients. Individuals are allowed to have more working income than Supplemental Security Income recipients, as SSI is a needs-based program. Applicants for SSI will be denied if they have cash assets in excess of $2000 and more than one car. Value of a vehicle can also be a problem, but anyone who needs their vehicle for making medical appointments can own a vehicle of greater value. Thus, it is much easier for SSI recipients to have benefits discontinued or reduced if they have significant SGA. Having an experienced Indiana disability lawyer means you will be better informed about how to keep your benefits maximized.
Step 2: Disability Severity
Some people experience pain and difficulty working, but that does not necessarily mean that the SSA will approve a claim without considerable medical evidence. This can be both good and bad. Soreness does not always indicate injury, and many workers experience soreness after a shift. Indiana disability lawyer Martin Barnes can craft a case that will include all of the applicant’s medical issues, and will want as many medical tests as possible. The Social Security Administration only recognizes applicants with total disability, but all of the applicant’s medical issues can be combined when determining disability percentages according to disability determination rules, normally determined by the state of residence. Always be prepared for the SSA to request multiple medical opinions on borderline cases, including needing a qualified Indiana Social Security Disability lawyer to make sure that all medical evidence is accurate and properly assessed for severity. Even seriously disabled individuals can wait several years for a final ruling when the federal government requests multiple tests as a method of stalling or making sure of a disabling condition. In addition, be prepared for your attorney to recommend testing by some specific in-house doctors who they have depended on in the past.
Step 3: Acceptable Impairments
Every disability is not assessed with the same impairment ratings. Some disabilities are not evaluated or defended as intensely when the test results comply with SSA disability rules. Medical tests that provide results that put the applicant in the approval range will more than likely be approved quicker, but the government still takes their time before making a final ruling. Test results can give both the applicant and their disability attorney a good idea that the claim will be approved in short order if medical results indicate the impairment severity or type is squarely in the acceptable impairment range. In addition, there are some impairments that may appear as automatic approvals that SSA does not readily accept. Thorough testing is always a focus for Indiana Social Security Disability attorney Martin Barnes because he understands that documentation is always the key to winning a timely claim. It is important to remember that all impairments are not listed in the Social Security disability registry. However, using the “equaling a listing” assessment can result in a favorable ruling when test results can be compared in a process that is acceptable to the Social Security Administration. This can also require significant testing and the administration will often request more tests from government doctors. Even when a claimant cannot qualify through equal impairment listings, the approval process does not necessarily end there. Children are assessed differently from adults, so winning an equal listing claim can be difficult for a child without a solid Indiana disability attorney.
Step 4: Prior Work History
The work that a claimant has performed in the past can have a major impact on a disability ruling. Individuals who have worked in clerical positions are not always assessed by the same criteria when considering what type of gainful employment they can still perform. The problem with the sliding scale of disability based on former employment is that it gives the Social Security Administration considerable latitude when looking for a reason to deny a claim based on ability to work. Manual laborers such as construction workers often may get approved sooner than office workers or former management officials. Termed as residual functional capacity, workers determined by SSA to have a certain RFC rating will be denied until the applicant and their disability attorney can prove the capacity is in error. This is part one of the work history job performance ability because the government only considers former employment in this assessment.
Step 5: Ability to Work Other Jobs
This argument by the claims examiner is one that is used more often that the other determinations. Any kind of work means exactly that, and often the claim can be made that an applicant can work in a sedentary employment situation. This is also where the two hours of continuous standing and six hours of continuous sitting are applied in many cases. Many disabled individuals can perform minimal task jobs, but finding one of those positions is a different issue. Even though discrimination against the disabled is illegal, the “at will” employment system that controls the U.S. economy gives potential employers practically all they need to deny employment to anyone. There is an adjustment to this rule when the claimant is over 50 years of age, including if they lack educational skills or physical ability to work at a productive level for the employer. Individuals under 50 years of age who are applying for benefits experience more resistance when applying for benefits because of this rule distinction. These applicants will always need experienced and effective legal representation.
Contact an Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney
Attempting to handle your own Indiana disability claim is no undertaking for a novice disabled individual who does not understand the very wide range of rules that the Social Security Administration or your state Disability Determinations Board can use to deny a disability benefits claim. The government is adamant that approving borderline claims will not be done without proper due diligence and that all claimants will be approved within the rules. Always get an attorney who understands the nuances of winning a claim like Indiana’s Barnes Cadwell Law in either location in Indianapolis by calling them at (317) 804-5058.