Benefits and Appeals for Older Adults

As we age, our body begins to deteriorate and we experience varying levels of medical issues and impairments. Some impairments are so serious that they cause a person to be disabled. Disability raises other mental and physical issues. People with chronic, disabling conditions may no longer be able to continue to work.

If you have contributed to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) system through a qualified work history, you may be entitled to Disability Benefits over 50. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is funded through legislation known as FICA. 

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) is a U.S. law that mandates a payroll tax on employees, as well as contributions from employers, to fund the Social Security and Medicare programs. For self-employed persons, there is a related law called the Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA)

The SSA helps individuals with disabilities, but in many cases applicants are denied. There can be many reasons behind the denial, but there are also ways to reapply or appeal denied decisions.

Time plays an essential role in applying for benefits. It is important to apply as soon as you are no longer able to work. If you wait too long to apply, you may find it difficult to establish entitlement and could experience financial hardship due to a lack of income. 

Know the Rules Before Applying

There is a lot of upside to aging. When someone has attained the age of 50 years  or older, they may be able to slow down and enjoy the finer things in life. Old age, however, comes with various challenges as well, like medical issues that prevent us from working. The Social Security Administration has special rules for older people experiencing disabilities. 

The SSA considers several unique factors for older Americans. It can be helpful to review and understand these factors before commencing with the SSD and SSI appeals processA thorough understanding of these points will assist you when filing an application.

  • Age – The SSA takes the age of the applicant under consideration. There is less likelihood that an older person will be able to return to work or to adjust to a new position. Therefore, an older person is more likely to be left without financial support and may have an easier time being approved for disability benefits. 
  • Education – An applicant’s education level has a lot to do with adjusting to a new role or job. The SSA applies a grid analysis to determine an individual’s residual functional capacity, or RFC level. A claimant’s RFC is based on what physical level of work a person can still perform in spite of their limitations. The RFC levels are categorized by sedentary, light, medium, heavy, or very heavy work. 

For example, if someone can work a desk job with little to no physical limitation, then they may not be found eligible to receive disability benefits because they can still earn an income. In this example, the individual’s education level may determine their ability to work a desk job or another job that limits physical exertion.

  • Work history – The SSA generally reviews the past 15 years of your work history. If you have attained 50 years of age, you can apply for SSDI or SSI benefits. A qualifying work history also implies that you have been paying FICA taxes sufficient to be eligible to receive SSDI benefits. 

If you are within the age group of 50 to 54, you can enjoy special rules set by the Social Security Administration. As people age, they may not be able to continue the same type of employment that they have performed in the past. 

Many people over the age of 50 will be unable to adjust to other jobs. Therefore, the Social Security Administration has published special rules that make it easier for this cohort to be approved.

  • When you attain 55 years of age – When an individual attains 55 years of age and finds himself unable to serve in his same job, they have a better chance of being approved for benefits. The individual will still be evaluated under the same criteria, including age, education level, and past work history to determine whether they will be able to adjust into a different role or apply a different skill set. The grant rate increases with age. If you have limited income and financial resources, but no qualifying work history, you may alternatively be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), another program administered by SSA. 
  • When your age is 60 and above – There are a few additional advantages that come with being in the 60 and above age group. When a person is 60 years or older in age, they may have an even better chance of being approved. If a person is receiving Social Security disability benefits when they reach the full age of retirement, their disability benefits will automatically convert to retirement benefits. The amount remains the same. So, one way or another, they will enjoy the maximum amount of benefits for the remainder of their lives. 

A Guide for Identifying A Top Legal Professional

Have you been suffering from a medical condition that is hindering your ability to work? You may wish to apply for disability benefits. You may have begun the process, but have found it to be too complex without the assistance of a reputable attorney. 

The monetary support provided by SSA could be your only lifeline when severe medical conditions stop you from working and eliminate your earning potential. Getting approved, however, is at times challenging. 

A lawyer’s assistance can be beneficial, but all lawyers are not created equal. So, if you are searching for an experienced legal professional, here are some important things to consider.

What to Know About Hiring A Lawyer…

What makes a lawyer competent? If that is what you are wondering, here are the things to look for when choosing a reputable legal professional who can effectively communicate with the Social Security Administration. First, make sure they are well versed in disability programs for adults. Below are some qualities to look for when selecting a reputable legal professional:

  • Track Record and Area of Expertise

Legal professionals often focus on honing their knowledge and skills in specific areas of law. While all lawyers can practice law generally, most lawyers choose to specialize in specific fields. So, when your concern is to seek disability benefitsyou should look for a legal professional specialized in handling disability compensation cases. You will want a lawyer who knows SSA rules and regulations. A competent disability attorney should be able to intelligently advise their clients on all kinds of disability benefit programs for you and qualified family members.

One way to evaluate the quality of a legal professional is through the prior work they have performed for their clients. An attorney’s track record of submitting successful disability compensation applications is something to consider when deciding whether or not to hire them. A knowledgeable professional should be willing to offer evidence of their track record, including their first time approval rate and grants on appeal.

  • Dedication and Availability

You should only consult with someone who has the proper knowledge of Social Security Disability Insurance benefit claims. A reputable professional should be dedicated to providing you the best service possible. 

He or she should respect your time and focus on success. In a nutshell, a respectable professional should see you through the entire process, no matter how long it takes or how complicated it becomes.

Your attorney should be available to answer or return calls and answer questions. They should provide you with a response to inquiries in a timely fashion. They may have someone available, such as a partner or other office professional, available to address concerns when they will be unavailable. When your lawyer is not available, someone else should be.

  • Honesty and Professionalism

An honest lawyer will be forthright with their clients, even in the face of bad news. An attorney acting with integrity should provide honest feedback about the likelihood of your application’s success. You should be provided realistic timetables for how long your claim will take to receive a decision. You should be informed of the reasons for any denial and your right to appeal. 

Your lawyer should always treat you and others with the respect and dignity you deserve. How a firm treats its clients is a good indication of the quality of their team. Some lawyers are dismissive and unresponsive to clients. Investigate how courteous and professional the staff is in their practice. Firms specializing in disability claims are notoriously busy. It is easy to file a claim when you receive amazing service, thoughtful advice, and polite communication throughout the process.

  • Gives strategic advice

Contact us for a free consultation with a quality attorney before proceeding with an application for disability benefits. A respectable lawyer will advise you on strategies and offer better insight into how your claim for disability benefits will be reviewed.

Whether you apply for disability benefits at the age of 50, 55, or 60,  skilled Social Security Lawyers in San Antonio will make the process seamless for you. They can review your case and help increase the odds of your application being granted. They can handle all the important tasks and you can entirely rely on them.