If you have a mental or physical condition that makes it impossible to earn a living, you could be facing a serious financial crisis. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer who can help you navigate the treacherous waters of applying for benefits.
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits is stressful – especially if you need the money to provide for yourself and your family. A denial could be devastating. Unfortunately, the majority of disability claims are dismissed – often because of preventable mistakes or omissions. Our Rogers, AR Social Security Disability attorney is available to provide the assistance you need. Call our office at (479) 316-0438 to discuss your options during a free consultation.
What is a Disability in Rogers, Arkansas?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that prohibits an person from participating in substantial gainful activity (SGA). The impairment must have existed or is anticipated to last at least twelve months or result in death. A statement on behalf of someone applying for benefits is insufficient to prove a disability. A claimant must show documentation of the physical or mental condition, including clinical reports, diagnostic test results, and written statements from treating physicians.
Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance in Rogers
The SSA administers two separate and fundamentally different programs that benefit disabled individuals – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits
SSDI benefits are funded through taxes deducted from your paycheck. These benefits are available for individuals who have worked for a sufficient period and are unable to continue to work because of a mental or physical impairment. SSDI works similarly to other insurance policies – you pay monthly premiums through your taxes and the benefits are available if required.
To qualify for SSDI, an applicant must have earned enough work credits. Whether you work for a company, are self-employed, or an independent contractor, you could earn up to four work credits a year. The number of credits necessary to qualify for SSDI depends on your age but is typically around 20 credits. The benefits you receive will depend on your average income and the years you were engaged in substantial gainful activity before being diagnosed with a physical or mental impairment. In some situations, your spouse or children under the age of 18 could be eligible for benefits under your Social Security claim.
Supplemental Security Income
SSI is administered by the SSA and funded by the general tax fund. The disability standards for SSDI and SSI are the same. However, when applying for SSI benefits, your income and resources will be taken into consideration. SSI benefits are need-based. You do not have to earn work credits to qualify but must have limited income and resources.
To be eligible for SSI benefits, an individual’s income and resources cannot exceed $2,000 – or $3,000 if a couple. Resources are widely defined and include cash, savings, life insurance policies, contributions, personal property, homes, and vehicles. There are some exclusions, such as your residence and a vehicle worth up to a specific amount. To further understand what and what does not qualify as a resource, contact our experienced Rogers Social Security Disability lawyer.
Other Benefits Available in Rogers, Arkansas
If you are suffering from a qualifying disability, your family might be entitled to auxiliary benefits through yours. These benefits, which could total up to 50% of your available benefits, are available to your children and, under certain circumstances, to their mother.
Auxiliary benefits through your SSDI benefits could also extend to your stepchildren or grandchildren. To be eligible, the child’s parents must be either deceased or disabled, the child is under the age of 18, and the child lives with you. Additionally, you must have provided at least half of the child’s financial support for at least a year before your disability eligibility date. In cases where the child is under one, you must have provided economic support for at least half of its life.
Should you be diagnosed with an eligible impairment and have a disabled and unmarried child over 18, they could qualify for disabled adult children benefits. Furthermore, the child’s disability must have begun before they reached the age of 22.
Reasons Disability Claims are Denied in Rogers, Arkansas
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits, either SSDI or SSI is often intimidating and complicated. The SSA requires that a claimant meet all relevant deadlines and provide complete and accurate information. Any errors or omissions could cause your claim to be delayed or denied.
A common reason claims are denied is because the applicant failed to adhere to the procedural requirements. A small misstep, incomplete document, or an omission could result in a denial of your benefits. This includes missing any of the set deadlines in the process. Deadlines are not suggestions and must be strictly complied with or your claim could be dismissed.
Lack of Medical Documentation
Medical evidence of an applicant’s physical or mental impairment is a critical element of any benefits claim. Without documenting your disability, you will not qualify for benefits. The medical records and documents must indicate that you have an eligible disability and that disability sufficiently impairs your ability to work. An experienced Rogers, Arkansas Social Security Disability attorney will help you gather sufficient and compelling evidence, including records of hospital admissions, diagnostic test results, doctors’ appointments, and detailed medical statements from your treating doctors.
Income and Resources
Your income is important in determining eligibility for either SSDI or SSI. To be eligible for SSDI, you must have earned enough work credits and your impairment must prohibit you from engaging in substantial gainful activity. For a non-blind individual in 2021, the monthly SGA amount is $1,310. This means that if you can earn more than the threshold, you are not eligible for SSDI. Your resources and assets are not considered in determining eligibility for SSDI.
SSI is income and need-based, so your income also plays a significant role. For SSI, an individual’s monthly income cannot exceed $794 or $1,191 if the claimant is married. Your resources are also included in determining eligibility. If you have too many assets, your claim could be denied.
Call an Experienced Rogers, AR Social Security Disability Lawyer to Discuss Your Options
Social Security benefits can be intimidating and complicated. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, has helped Rogers’ residents understand their rights, available options, and applying for benefits for decades. If you or a loved one needs benefits, contact our Rogers, AR Social Security disability lawyer to provide you the skilled representation you require. Call (479) 316-0438 to set up a free consultation.