SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS
Social Security disability benefits are intended to provide financial assistance to those who are unable to earn a living due to mental and/or physical impairments.
To secure these benefits, however, it’s necessary to get through a complicated application process. Making missteps or failing to meet strict deadlines along the way can have costly consequences, like:
- Lengthy case delays
- Reductions in benefits
- Wrongful denials of disability claims.
At Tomazin, Hillyard & Clor, LLP, our Denver attorneys have decades of experience helping people secure the disability benefits they need and deserve. Skilled at efficiently guiding people through the intricacies of Social Security Administration (SSA), our lawyers can help you with first-time claims, as well as appeals.
Our goal is to help you secure the full amount of benefits to which you are entitled.
Qualifying for SSDI: Eligibility Requirements for Federal Disability Benefits
In order to be eligible for federal disability benefits, the following conditions must apply to you and your situation:
- You have a condition that meets the SSA’s definition of disability – This means that you have a mental and/or physical impairment that:
- Prevents you from working (or engaging in substantial gainful activity, in the SSA’s terms); AND
- Has lasted for at least 12 month consecutive months, is expected to last for at least 12 consecutive months, or is expected to result in death.
- You have earned enough work credits – This means that you have worked for a sufficient amount of time in a job covered by Social Security. The number of required work credits to qualify for federal disability benefits varies by age, with no more than 40 work credits being required for any Social Security benefit.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
Applying for federal disability benefits starts by completing an application (which is available online1 or at a local SSA office2) and submitting it – along with the necessary supporting documents – to the SSA for review.
Supporting documents that may need to be filed with your disability benefit application can include (and may not be limited to):
- Medical test results, doctor’s reports and other medical records
- Statements from employers (or former employers) regarding how the condition affects your ability to work
- Statements from family and/or friends regarding the impacts that the impairment has had on your abilities, independence, etc.
Once an application has been submitted, the SSA may request that:
- You send additional information and/or documents (depending on the nature of your condition).
- You submit to an exam by a physician of its choosing (when, for instance, there may be lingering questions about the nature and severity of the impairment(s)).
Social Security Disability Benefits: More Important Information
- Claim processing times – Waiting times for SSA decisions (regarding disability benefits) can vary widely, depending on a number of factors. Just some of these include the nature of the impairments(s), whether the application was properly completed, whether doctors promptly send in medical evidence, whether the SSA requests additional medical exams, and whether the case is selected for a quality-control review.Given that a number of factors can impact how soon a decision is issued (and how long it can take to start receiving benefits), having the help of an experienced attorney can be essential to avoiding costly delays.
- Wrongful denials or termination of benefits – While the SSA is focused on providing benefits to those who need (and have earned) them, officials do not always make the right or fair decisions in these cases.In fact, it’s not uncommon for evidence to be overlooked, misplaced, or even misinterpreted, which can lead to wrongful denials of benefits (or even the termination of benefits after a claim has been approved). In these situations, it’s best to consult an attorney, who can help you fight the wrong decision and mount a successful appeal.
Position Your Claim or Appeal for Success: Contact a Denver Disability Lawyer at Tomazin, Hillyard & Clor, LLP
If you or someone you love is ready to apply for disability benefits – or appeal a wrongful denial or termination of benefits, it’s time to contact a Denver disability lawyer at Tomazin, Hillyard & Clor, LLP.
Ready to provide you with support, personal service and effective representation, our lawyers are skilled at guiding people through the complexities of the SSA to help them obtain the benefits they deserve.
Call (303) 771-1900 or email our firm via the contact form on this page to find out more about your options for proceeding, as well as how we can help you.
From offices based in Denver and Greenwood Village, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal service and representation to people throughout the Denver metro area, Arapahoe County, and the state of Colorado.
More general information about SSDI & SSI from the SSA
1: Application forms for federal disability benefits are provided online, here, via the SSA.
2: Use this tool to search for an SSA office in your area.