When an injury or medical diagnosis limits your mental or physical functioning, it can limit your ability to work full-time. Losing an income may create a financial burden, but fortunately, a disability lawyer can help you apply for Social Security disability benefits. Here's what you need to know about the process.
How Does Social Security Disability Work?
All workers are required to pay Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax. This includes a Social Security tax, which transfers out 6.2% of your check. These payments fund Social Security disability, retiree, and survivor benefits.
To gain access to these benefits, you need to apply and be approved. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a strict set of qualifications. First, you must have worked in a job in which you paid FICA tax for at least 20 of the last 40 quarters. Second, you must have an approved medical condition that prevents you from working for at least a year.
What Are the Benefits?
The primary goal of disability payments is compensating for lost wages, preventing financial insecurity for your dependents. Even if you've won an injury claim, the economic impact can be devastating. The SSA uses your income before you lost the ability to work to determine the average of your overall lifetime wages and create a monthly total.
In some situations, dependents can also qualify for disability payments upon your approval. Spouses (both current and divorced), children under 18, and disabled children under 22 can all receive up to 50% of your total amount. However, there is a household combined maximum of between 150% and 180%.
What's the Application Process?
Even though it can now be completed online, applying for disability benefits is complicated. The SSA requires you to submit personal identifying information, such as your date of birth and legal name; details about your medical condition, including proof of diagnosis, treatments, and medications; and a breakdown of your past employment and income.
Once submitted, you'll wait for either an approval or denial. Along with guiding you through the application process, a disability lawyer can represent you during the appeal process if you receive a rejection.
If you or a loved one has a debilitating injury or illness, contact Stine & Associates, P.C. in Greensburg, PA, to review your legal options. Families across Westmoreland County have depended on these local disability lawyers for guidance and representation for over 20 years. Learn more about how they can help you online, and request a consultation with an attorney at (724) 837-0160.