Being disabled is tough enough without money worries. No work means no income and bills have to be paid. It may be time to apply for Social Security Benefits in Bellingham WA.
What Is Disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses its own definition of disability. An applicant must have an injury or condition that lasts at least 12 months. Also, the condition must prevent the applicant from performing substantial gainful activity or SGA.
The 2018 definition of SGA is the ability to earn $1180 per month. The process can be confusing and one may need to talk to a lawyer about Social Security Benefits in Bellingham WA.
Disabled persons may qualify under one of two programs. Social security disability insurance or SSDI is for consumers who worked and paid FICA taxes. Further, the applicant must have enough work credits to be approved.
On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income or SSI is for low-income individuals, the blind and elderly. Indeed, applicants must meet income and asset requirements for approval. This program is funded by the state and federal governments to aid people who did not pay FICA.
If approved, single individuals receive $750 per month while couples receive $1125. Monthly payments for SSDI recipients are based on their income history.
The Application Process
Each state has a disability claims office where its citizens’ applications are reviewed. The claims examiner looks to see if all the requirements are met. Further, vocational and medical experts review the file. If the vocational expert feels a person can work, the application may be denied.
Likewise, SSA has its own medical providers and they may send an applicant for a second opinion. Hopefully, this doctor agrees the applicant is disabled.
It helps to have a lawyer during this time. That is because a large portion of disability applications are denied. At this point, the lawyer must file an appeal. The first appeal is a request for reconsideration.
A request for reconsideration initiates a second review of the applicant’s claim file. If the claim is denied again, the lawyer files for a hearing. Unfortunately, SSA has a massive backlog of hearing requests. Consequently, it could take well over a year to receive a hearing. For more information, contact the Allen Law Firm.