Social Security Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits in Macomb County

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) in Macomb County, St. Clair County, Oakland County or Wayne County can be an overwhelming and time consuming task. Before you begin the process, you want to have a basic understanding of what you can expect moving forward and the comfort of knowing that your plan will likely result in obtaining benefits.

Generally, in order to be approved for SSDI benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) takes a 5 step approach to analyzing your claim:

  1. Are you working?
    • a. If you are working and earning more than $1,090.00 in the year 2015, than you generally cannot obtain benefits.
  2. Do you have a severe medical condition?
    • a. Typically, the SSA will require some proof in the form of medical documentation that you have a medical condition that prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity.
  3. Do you have what SSA considers a very serious diagnoses and limitations that meet or equal what SSA calls a "Listing." If yes, the claim is approved; if not the claim proceeds to Step 4.
  4. Can you perform the work that you previously did? If yes, the claim is denied; if not, the claim proceeds to Step 5.
    • a. Again, medical documentation will assist in proving that you cannot perform work that you have done in the past.
  5. Given your age, education and work experience, can you perform any other work full-time (i.e. 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, with normal breaks)? If yes, the claim is denied. If not, the claim is approved.
    • a. For example, can you sit or stand at the movie theatre and take movie tickets, 8 hours a days, 5 days a week, with normal breaks?

Generally, you have the responsibility to prove you are not working, have a severe medical condition and are unable to do any prior substantial gainful activity (capable of doing some form of prior work). If you accomplish this, the burden shifts to the government to prove that there are other jobs in the economy that you can do full-time.

Am I Disabled?

Benefits are not paid for a short-term disability or for a partial disability. The SSA defines 'disability' as being totally disabled meaning (1) you cannot do the work you have performed in the past, (2) you cannot adjust to other types of work and (3) your disability has lasted or will last at least one year or result in death. Medical treatment and documentation are the tools used to prove that you are Totally Disabled.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits in Macomb County

It can take a long time before you are actually paid benefits, but a competent attorney can help shorten this time. With the help of the SSA, family or friends, most people are able to file the initial application for disability benefits. Unfortunately, unless you have a 'Listing' medical condition that automatically qualifies you for benefits, many initial applications are denied. You then have 60 days to Appeal your denial. If you plan on hiring an Attorney you must do so quickly after receiving the denial letter. Also understand that the Appeal process can take longer than the initial application process, up to a year or more.

The Law Offices of Nickolas Daniels & Associates, PLC encourages individuals to call and speak with Attorney Anthony Misuraca before filing the initial application for benefits. Mr. Misuraca has extensive experience dealing with SSDI claims and he will assist you in filing the initial application with the goal of placing you in the best possible light. Retaining an attorney at the initial application stage will help insure your application is filed properly and quickly.