Social Security Disability Attorney in Birmingham, Alabama
Can you no longer work due to an illness or injury? I can help you apply for Social Security Disability Benefits. I have been handling social security matters for the past 30 years. While I have primarily assisted people with appealing denials to obtain a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, I have also assisted my clients before the Appeals Council as well as in United States District Court.
I have determined that my clients get their benefits much more quickly if I assist them with the filing of their Initial Application. I would be honored to assist you with your initial application in the hope that we can prepare a complete and compelling application together that will result in your getting the benefits you deserve as soon as possible.
What Do You Have to Prove to Qualify for Benefits?
There is a multi-step process to determine eligibility for benefits. Simply put, if you are not working and meet one of the listings of impairment published by the Social Security Administration, you are very likely to qualify for benefits. However, just because you do not meet one of the listings of impairment, you may still qualify. Here are the steps:
Are you engaged in substantial gainful activity? Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is the amount of monthly earnings that will cause the Social Security Administration to believe you are not disabled. For 2022, if you are not blind, you must earn less than $1,350 per month to be eligible for benefits. If you are blind, then you must earn less than $2,260 per month to be eligible for benefits. If you earn more than SGA, even if you have an impairment that meets one of the listings, you won’t qualify for Social Security disability benefits. So, you must demonstrate you have earned less than SGA in order to proceed to the next step.
Do you have a severe impairment? In order to continue being considered for disability benefits if you are not earning SGA, you must demonstrate that you have a “medically determinable” severe impairment that limits your ability to work. It is possible to not have a single severe impairment but to instead have multiple minor impairments, that when combined, qualify has a severe impairment as they limit your ability to work. In any event, the existence of a severe impairment is based on medical opinions and exams conducted by your treating physicians. So, you must provide medical evidence to support your severe impairment in order to proceed to the next step.
Does your severe impairment meet or equal a listing? The Administration will determine whether your severe impairment(s) meets or is equivalent to a listing. However, if even if your impairment(s) do not meet a listing and are not equivalent, you may still be able to prove entitlement to benefits and you will move to the next step, regardless of whether this step is satisfied.
Can you perform your past relevant work? In order to answer this question, it’s necessary to determine your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). In other words, your treating physicians will determine what work activities you can perform and what physical or mental limitations you may have as a result of your impairment(s). For example: How much can you lift? How far can you walk? How long can you sit? Your RFC is then compared to your past relevant work to see if your impairments indeed prevent you from going back to one of your previous jobs. If they do, then you go on to the next step.
What is your capacity to do other work? The final step in the eligibility process is to determine whether there are other jobs that exist in significant functions that you could perform within the parameters of your RFC. This is often referred to as the “medical-vocational assessment” to determine your ability to find other work based upon your age, education, work experience and limitations.
How Do You Prove Eligibility?
While you can certainly provide evidence of how your impairments have limited your ability to perform activities of daily living as well as work tasks, and you can submit evidence from friends and family in this regard, the most crucial evidence to support your claim is your medical records. It is imperative that you have medical documentation to support your claim of both a severe impairment and of your physical and mental limitations (RFC) resulting from your impairment(s). I can assist you with gathering this evidence and presenting it to the Administration. I can also provide you with Medical Source Statements for your treating physicians to complete based on their ongoing treatment of your severe impairments to assist the Administration in presenting opinions as to what your limitations are. It is important to understand that both your impairment and your limitations are required to be supported by the medical evidence.
Please contact me if you would like assistance with applying for social security disability benefits. I would be happy to assist you.