Central Florida Social Security Disability Lawyer
Social Security Disability Claims
If you are unable to earn a living due to a serious physical or mental disability, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. However, the process in Florida for obtaining these benefits can be difficult and time-consuming. In fact, 70% of Social Security Disability claims are initally denied. For this reason, it’s crucial to seek the assistance of a disability claims attorney who knows how the system works and what you need to prove in order to successfully secure benefits.
Marshall S. Adler can help you with your claim from start to finish. He brings three decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured workers and their families throughout Central Florida. Here are just some of the ways he can assist you with your social security disability case:
•Handle all communications with the State Disability Determination Services (DDS to complete the filing process
•File your initial SSD or SSI application with the Social Security Administration
•Appeal a denied claim by requesting reconsideration, requesting a full review, and, finally, appealing the initial determination with the Appeals Council
•Structure a settlement that minimizes offset in social security disability benefits.
Social Security Disability Benefits
Most people do not expect to collect social security before retirement age. However, anyone who becomes disabled and can no longer work before the age of 65, may take advantage of one of two primary disability programs managed by the Social Security Administration.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SDDI): SDDI provides benefits to disabled individuals who have earned enough work credits by working and paying Medicare and Social Security taxes. (5 out of past 10 years). The estimated average Social Security disability benefit amount for a disabled person under this program is $1,234 per month but may receive less than this or up to $2,861.
Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI): SSI provides cash assistance payments to disabled individuals regardless of their work history. This is a needs-based program that factors in financial assets, household income, etc. The maximum SSI benefit amount for a disabled person under this program is $771 per month and $1,157 for an individual with an eligible spouse.
Eligibility Requirements for Social Security Disability
To qualify for either SSD or SSI benefits, you must have a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of a disability, which stipulates:
•You have a severe medically determinable impairment that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 1 year, or will result in your death
•You are unable to perform the work you did previously or you cannot be gainfully employed in any capacity
There is a mandatory waiting period of five months after your disability begins before you can start receiving benefits but you should apply for Social Security disability benefits as soon as possible after you become disabled.
How Do I File for SSD Benefits?
You can apply for SSD benefits over the phone, online, or in-person at your local Social Security office. The Law Office of Marshall A. Adler can assist you in the application process and prepare paperwork explaining your disability and medical treatment. The Division of Determination Services is in charge of reviewing your claim and approving or denying SSDI benefits.
Medical Conditions that Qualify as a Disability
Debilitating injuries and illnesses that the SSA commonly approves includes:
•Musculoskeletal conditions such as herniated discs, severe back problems
•Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
•Cardiac (heart) conditions
•Lung or respiratory conditions
•Neurological conditions such as seizures or stroke
•Orthopedic or joint conditions like arthritis
•A digestive system disorder like Crohn’s disease
•Loss of speech, vision, or hearing
•Psychological/mental disorders (depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder)
For a full listing of every medical disorder that qualifies for SSD benefits, consult the Social Secuity Blue Book.
Factors that Impact SSD Benefit Amount
The amount and type of Social Security disability benefits you receive is determined depends upon many factors, including the following:
•the extent and severity of your medical condition;
•your age, education, and length of time you have spent in the workforce;
•how much you paid in Social Security taxes before becoming disabled;
•your ability to return to employment of any type after disability;
•your earnings prior to the disability;
•the availability of disability benefits and income from other sources.
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability at the Same Time?
Yes, it is possible to collect workers’ comp and SSD benefits at the same time. However, one or more of these benefits may be reduced or offset.
An offset only applies if the total amount of your workers’ compensation and social security benefits exceeds 80% of your pre-disability income or “average current earnings.” If it does, than the portion that equals more than 80% will be deducted from your social security benefits.
How Does the SSA Calculate Average Current Earnings?
To determine monthly benefits, the SSA uses one of the following formulas and takes the highest of the three amounts:
•High Five Formula: your average monthly earnings from the highest-paid five years in a row
•High One Formula: average monthly earnings from your highest-paid year in the past 5 years before your disability
•Average Monthly Wage: your average monthly wage.
Social Security Disability attorney Marshall Adler will know how to structure a settlement to minizime or eliminate this offset. Depending on your circumstances, there are a few ways this can be done:
•Negotiate a lump sum settlement of your workers’ comp benefits. Proceeds from lump sum are prorated and spread out over your life expectancy, allowing you to collect the maximum amount of money you would have been entitled to in SSDI benefits if not for the offset.
•File for early retirement to avoid offset but doing so will lower monthly lower monthly SS payment.
•Exclude certain expenses from workers’ comp settlment (legal fees, dependent payments, rehabilitation costs, etc.)
Are You Seeking Social Security Disability Benefits in Florida?
If you have questions about whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Law Office of Marshall S. Adler 407-648-5523. We offer a free initial consultation!