A Social Security disability lawyer assists people who have suffered a disability that prevents them from working. A Social Security attorney guides them through the process of determining and getting the benefits to which they may be entitled.
A social security disability lawyer handles the legal aspects of social security administration. A social security attorney can provide legal representation for people who have become disabled and are no longer able to perform work. Social security disability lawyers can help you file an SSA claim to be compensated. If an SSA claim is denied, a social security and disability lawyer can appeal the case.
A social security disability lawyer handles aspects of law that involve workers who are in the process of retirement and want to begin collecting social security or individuals who are unable to perform work. A social security disability lawyer should be contacted if you find yourself in the previously stated situations. Though it might seem costly to hire a social security and disability attorney, you should still consider consulting with a social security and disability lawyer for any formal legal advice.
Disability Benefits Are Available for Dependents
If a person becomes eligible for SSDI, their dependents are also entitled to receive benefits. Each dependent may be eligible for a benefit equal to one-half of what the primary receives. This does not affect the primary’s benefit. However, there is a maximum a family can receive. It ranges from 150 percent – 180 percent of the primary’s benefit depending on additional factors.
To qualify, the dependent must be:
- under the age of 18;
- under age 19, and still enrolled in high school; or
- disabled before reaching age 22
SSA helps us provide for our loved ones in the event that we become unable to do so ourselves.
Disability Benefits Are Available to Spouses
The current spouse of someone entitled to retirement or disability (SSDI) benefits may be entitled to receive benefits under the higher earner’s Social Security if certain requirements are met. These include:
- they are 62 or older; or
- they provide care for a child under the age of 16; or
- they provide care for a disabled child who is getting SS benefits
The former spouse of someone eligible for retirement or disability benefits may also be eligible to receive benefits under their ex’s Social Security if:
- they can prove they were legally married for at least 10 years; and
- they are 62 or older; and
- they are not currently married.
This does not affect the amount paid to the primary spouse.
The Social Security Administration will typically deny a disability application where drug addiction or alcoholism is the primary contributing factor of the disability. The initial determination that an applicant’s drug or alcohol problem contributes to their disability is normally made by the Medical Consultant assigned to evaluate their case. Evidence from a variety of medical sources may be used to establish the existence of an addiction, but pure opinion is generally insufficient on its own. The most relevant type of evidence used to identify an addiction include medical records indicating hospitalization or drug rehabilitation treatment. Anecdotal evidence, including statements made to a treating physician by a patient about their drug and alcohol use, is generally insufficient to prove addiction or alcoholism without some additional corroborating evidence. In addition, the medical evidence used to establish the addiction or alcoholism must also meet the criteria listed in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Once the determination is made regarding the existence of an addiction, the next step involves an evaluation as to whether it is a primary contributing factor of the disability. To put it another way, would the disability still exist if the applicant stopped using drugs or alcohol? This type of analysis will look at whether the physical or mental limitations would remain absent the use of drugs or alcohol, and whether the remaining limitations would qualify as disabling. To use a simplistic example, an individual who is unable to work due to the fact that they are intoxicated all-day long would be denied disability since the intoxication itself is the source of unemployability. If the addiction was put into remission, then the disabling limitations would cease to exist.
Alternatively, it may be possible to use a permanent impairment caused by chronic drug or alcohol abuse as the basis for a disability claim. Although, cases of this type are very difficult to argue and win. For instance, an individual suffering from irreparable liver damage due to alcoholism or intravenous drug use might be found disabled on the basis that the liver damage is permanent. If the addiction was put into remission, then the disabling limitations would continue to exist.
Finally, it is worth noting that an individual who is approved for disability, but has a drug or alcohol addiction, may not be eligible for direct payment of benefits. In some cases, a representative payee may be appointed to receive and manage payments to avoid it being spend on drugs and alcohol. But again, disability cases of this nature are not easily approved.