Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
Most people would agree that there is intrinsic value in working hard day-in and day-out. However decades of strenuous labor can lead to chronic conditions which may impair or prevent you from doing your job. Likewise, a sudden injury or illness can also make performing your job duties, or even tasks of daily life, extremely difficult, if not impossible. Unfortunately as too many people discover, a reduced income for any reason does not stop your bills from coming due. After several months of being out of work many people can find their savings dangerously low or depleted entirely. The good news is that the federal government has established benefit programs through the Social Security Administration (SSA) that are designed to help honest, hard-working people who fall on hard times due to sickness or injury.
For 20 years Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law has helped Arkansans understand the benefits they may be entitled to. If you work with us, we handle each and every step of the disability application process so that you can focus on recovery from your serious condition or impairment.
What Types of Social Security Benefits Are Available for the U.S. Government?
Despite precautions, injuries do still happen. Sometimes those injuries can be so serious that they can prevent you from working. In fact, the SSA estimates that nearly 1 in 3 20-year-old workers will develop a disability or impairment during their working life. But depending on your impairment or disease, you may be able to qualify for Social Security benefits. The two main benefit programs are:
- Supplemental Security Income – For those with little to no resources or income and have reached the retirement age, are blind, or have a qualifying disability may qualify for SSI benefits. The program provides cash assistance to those who need it.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD/SSDI) – Unlike the SSI program, to qualify for the SSD program you also need to have a sufficient work history. SSD benefits are paid in cash and retroactive benefits to the date of the onset of your severe impairment are available.
These benefits programs are not a comprehensive listing. Other government aid at the state or federal level may also be available.
How Will Social Security Analyze My Claim?
Proving a Social Security claim requires a technical understanding of the process employed by the SSA and an firm grasp on the types of things that a claims examiner or administrative law judge are looking for. An experienced attorney may be able to anticipate questions or concerns about your disability and prepare accordingly. The SSA uses a 5-step sequential process to evaluate adult disability claims and a 3-step sequential process for children. The two processes are substantially similar however the childhood process does not address past work history or the ability to do alternate work (Steps 4 & 5). The steps in the adult process are:
- Is the claimant’s substantial gainful activity (SGA) too great? SGA refers to the work and income you receive despite your disability. If your monthly SGA is too great you will not be able to qualify for disability benefits.
- Does the SSA consider the impairment to be severe? Severe impairments cause a limitation in the things that you are able to do. In contrast an impairment that is not severe will not cause any limitations. The SSA must consider your condition to be severe to proceeds to the next stage in the analysis.
- Is your condition Listed or equivalent? The SSA publishes a list of conditions and impairments that it considers to be so severe that they qualify for disability. If your condition is not Listed, you may still qualify is it is medically equivalent.
- What is your residual functional capacity (RFC)? RFC is the things that your are still able to do and whether that ability permits you to perform your job. Your RFC is determined from the longitudinal record including medical records and from reports of your activities of daily life (ADL).
- Are jobs suited for your RFC available? Generally with the aid of a vocational expert, the judge or claims examiner determines if appropriate jobs exist for you in your region.
Contact Bentonville, Arkansas Social Security Disability Lawyer Ken Kieklak
Working alongside an experienced Social Security attorney can elucidate more of the process while provided you with peace of mind that your claim is being handled properly. To discuss your disability claim call Ken Kieklak at (479) 251-7767 or contact us online.
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