Two Aspects Of The Disability Claims Process Where You Need An Attorney

Law Blog

When it comes to disability claims, there are certain aspects of the evaluation process where a disability attorney can really help. Whether it is the government's assessment of substantial gainful activity, the severity of your impairment, or any of the other prerequisites necessary to qualify for benefits, an attorney can ensure that you have the best chance possible for receiving the benefits you deserve. Following are two ways disability claims lawyers can help you during the process.

Substantial Gainful Activity

Substantial gainful activity is the government's term for whether or not your current income streams are sufficient or whether you in fact require assistance in the form of disability benefits. The cutoffs for substantial gainful activity are different for the blind and the non-blind, with monthly earnings set at $1,820 and $1,090, respectively. Ultimately, this means that if you earn more than the aforementioned amounts every month, you will not qualify for disability benefits.

However, those numbers are in reference to net earned income less any expenses related to your disability. In other words, if you earn $4,000 per month, but have medical expenses that total $3,000 per month, your monthly net earnings would amount to $1,000. Coming in at just under the $1,090 cutoff, you would still be eligible for benefits, though by no means guaranteed them. A disability attorney can ensure that your expenses and income are accurately reflected and demonstrate actual financial need.

Severity Of Your Impairment

While the severity of an injury might seem arbitrary considering people with similar conditions might react differently, it is still a critical component of the evaluation process. This is primarily to help screen out individuals who exaggerate minor injuries and put strain on a system designed to help those truly in need. Before being considered for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration subjects candidates to a thorough physical examination to assess the severity of the injury.

More importantly, this provides a professional medical opinion of the impairment to those who ultimately decide whether or not an applicant is in need of benefits. Injuries are generally classified as "severe" or "non-severe" based on a number of criteria. One of the ways that disability lawyers can help clients through this process is in making sure that the attending physician provides a thorough and comprehensive report concerning how the injury affects the candidate's ability to work. Also relevant is the degree to which the impairment makes it difficult to enjoy a normal, productive life and the pain associated with the injury, if there is any.

Overall, a disability claims lawyer, such as Bruce K Billman, is invaluable during the application process, especially regarding the initial assessments of income of injury severity.


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