Rogers, AR Disability (SSDI) Lawyer
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 57 million Americans — about 20% of the national population — lives with some form of disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that in 2014, roughly nine million of those individuals recieved over $10 billion in the form of monthly disability benefits. By the SSA’s own official numbers, the average benefits recipient can expect an award in excess of $1,000 each month. This assistance is an incredible resource for people whose disability prevents them from working, and can put a dramatic dent in otherwise overwhelming bills, groceries, and other routine expenses.
Unfortunately, obtaining these benefits is a struggle for most claimants. In Arkansas, about one third of all total applicants will be accepted on the first try — the remaining majority will be denied. At the next stage of the process, referred to as Reconsideration, the approval rate plummets from an already low 30% down to not even 9%.
Being approved for benefits is not impossible, but it can be a difficult and frustrating challenge to handle on your own. An experienced attorney familiar with the system can help increase your chances of getting approved, or advocate for you if you’ve already been denied.
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. To schedule your private legal consultation, call Rogers, Arkansas social security disability lawyer Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438 today.
How an Experienced Disability Attorney Can Help
The statistics above are not particularly friendly to claimants residing in Arkansas. On average, if you have a 70% chance of being rejected during your first attempt, and subsequent attempts have an even lower rate of success. There are numerous technical and medical reasons which can fuel denials, and even if your doctor believes you are disabled, the SSA examiners may come to a different conclusion based on their own standards and procedures. These factors taken in combination with the often draining physical side effects of a serious health condition add up to one conclusion: battles with the SSA can be incredibly discouraging and exhausting.
No matter how overwhelmed you may feel, don’t give up: Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law is here to help you. Disability benefits lawyer Ken Kieklak has nearly two decades of practical experience working with the people of Rogers, Arkansas, and will advocate aggressively on your behalf. No matter where you may be in the application process, or whether you are applying for yourself or your child, our firm wants to help you succeed. Call us today to learn more about how we can serve you.
How Do You Qualify for Disability?
The answer to this question depends largely on the type of benefits you are applying for: SSI (Supplemental Security Income), or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance). In very basic terms, SSI is based on financial need, whereas SSDI is based on previous payments into the social security system. While unusual, some people can and do qualify for both simultaneously, which is referred to as receiving concurrent benefits.
Whether SSI or SSDI seems to be the more appropriate fit, you will then have to pass several additional waves of criteria. In the first wave, you will have to pass the SSA’s blanket requirements, which remain the same regardless of disability:
How much money are you making?
If your income is deemed too high (currently, over $1,070 per month) you will not be accepted.
How severe is your disability?
If you can easily control it with medication or other techniques, meaning it does not interfere with your ability to work in a meaningful way, you will not be accepted.
How long has your disability lasted (or how long is it projected to last)?
If the answer is less than 12 months (unless the expected prognosis is death), you will not be accepted.
What sort of disability do you have?
If your disability is not found in the Listing of Impairments, is not listed in the compassionate allowances (CAL) program, or if you cannot prove equivalent disability with an RFC (Residual Functional Capacity) assessment, you will not be accepted.
If you pass these generic requirements, you will then have to clear yet another set of questions targeted to your specific impairment. For obvious reasons, the standards for judging blindness are very different from those used for judging diabetes, so each claim must be evaluated on an individual medical basis. The guidelines for medical assessment are contained in the Listing of Impairments. If your impairment is not on the Listing, CAL or RFC criteria must be met instead.
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.
Our Rogers, Arkansas Disability Attorneys Can Help
Qualifying for monthly benefits is difficult, but you may be a strong candidate. An attorney can help boost your chances of being approved. To schedule a private consultation, call the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438, or contact us online today.