When you’re unable to work due to a medical condition but still need a steady source of income, it may feel hopeless. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits for those with qualifying medical conditions through the SSDI and SSI programs. So, what benefits are available and how do you know if you qualify for disability benefits? 

How Do You Qualify for SSDI?

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program is available for those who have worked most of their life and paid into the social security system. Under the SSA, you must meet a variety of requirements:

  • The most basic requirement is that you are unable to do the work you used to perform.
  • The SSA also must determine that you are unable to adjust to doing another job
  • You must also have a medical condition that is severe and expected to persist for at least one year or result in death. 

SSA will also determine if you qualify for disability benefits by determining if you are truly disabled. There are five questions they ask, including:

  • Are you currently working? If you earn more than $1,350 on average each month, you may not be considered disabled. 
  • Is your condition severe enough that you are limited in your ability to work for at least 12 months?
  • Is your condition one that is included on the SSA list of disabling conditions?
  • Are you unable to do the same type of work you used to do?
  • If not, is there another type of work you can do? 

Work Credits for SSDI

When the SSA determines whether or not you qualify for disability benefits, they will check your work history to see if you have earned enough work credits. The number of credits you acquired throughout your time in the workforce will vary depending on how much money you earned. In 2022, for each quarter a person earns $1,510 or more, they are given one Social Security or Medicare credit. There is a maximum of four credits given per year for each quarter the earnings requirements are met. While these work credits do play a role in your eligibility, the average of your earnings during your working years will determine how much your monthly benefit payment will be. 

The number of credits needed are as follows:

  • For those younger than age 24, 6 credits earned within a 3 year period are required. 
  • For those age 24-31, you could qualify if you have credits for working at least half of the time between age 21 and the onset of your disability. 
  • For those age 31 and older, at least 20 credits are required and must be earned within a 10-year period prior to the start of your disability.

How Do You Qualify for SSI?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a disability benefit available for those with a limited work history. SSI is a “needs-based program” that is designed to assist those with:

  • a disability that prevents them from having gainful employment
  • a great financial need
  • those who are blind
  • or those over the age of 65

SSI payments are a set amount that may change each year depending on the Cost-of-Living-Adjustments (COLA). 

Medical conditions that qualify for SSI may include:

  • Blindness
  • Cancer
  • Back injury
  • Kidney disease
  • Genitourinary issues
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Digestive tract problems
  • Vision loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Skin disorders
  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Immune disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Mental disorders
  • Various syndromes
  • Hematological disorders

For more specific information about what conditions qualify for adults and children, you can visit the SSA website. 

Contact the Law Office of Karen Kraus Bill For Assistance

If you think you may qualify for disability benefits, don’t hesitate to reach out to our offices to schedule a free consultation. Applying for disability benefits on your own can be time consuming, intimidating, and may result in a denial of benefits. Your chances of a successful request for benefits, or even an appeal if you’ve been denied before, are greatly increased when you have the help of an experienced disability attorney. Reach out today with any questions you have about qualifying or appealing. Call 573-875-5200 or visit the website.

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a lengthy and complex process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a set of strict requirements for applications and approvals. Having a lawyer for a social security disability appeal can help you get approved if you have previously been denied SSDI. 

SSDI Cases Are Often Denied Initially

While this may not be the news you are looking for, a large portion of SSDI applications are denied. The SSA denied an average of 67% of the claims submitted in 2021. This number varies throughout the years, but don’t let this statistic discourage you. Some denials are for medical reasons, while others are for non-medical reasons. It is not the end of the road if you are denied SSDI. Hiring a lawyer for social security disability appeal will make the process go smoother and increase the likelihood that you will be approved. 

The SSDI Appeals Process Is Complex

If your application for SSDI benefits is denied, you have the right to make an appeal. According to the SSA, there are four levels in the appeals process: 

  1. Reconsideration by the state Disability Determination Services (DDS)
  2. A hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
  3. Review by the Appeals Council
  4. A federal court review

Reconsideration By The State DDS

This is the first step of the SSDI appeal process. During the reconsideration step, your case will be reviewed in a similar manner as the initial review. A disability examiner and medical team will thoroughly examine the information while allowing you to provide additional evidence to support your application. Your claim could be approved during this first appeal if you were simply missing some medical records or other supporting documents. 

ALJ Hearing

If your SSDI application is still not approved, you can request a hearing before the ALJ. During this hearing, you will have the opportunity to testify regarding your case. A judge will ask you and any medical experts questions about your condition. A vocational expert will also evaluate hypothetical questions asked by the judge. If you reach this step in the appeal process, it is crucial to have the support of a disability attorney to help you prepare for the hearing. 

Appeals Council Review

If you are not satisfied with the decision made during the ALJ hearing, you can request a review by the Appeals Council (AC). This council consists of appeals judges responsible for considering all evidence submitted along with the ALJ’s findings. At this point, the council can either deny, grant, or dismiss the review request. The AC can then modify, uphold, or reverse the actions of the judge. It can also remand the case for another ALJ hearing. 

Federal Court Review

Once you have the Appeals Council’s decision, you can file action in a federal district court within 60 days. If you are still not approved for SSDI, you can take your case to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Hiring a Lawyer for Social Security Disability Appeal

As you can see, the appeals process requires legal expertise. Hiring a lawyer for a social security disability appeal will significantly increase your chances of being approved and take much of the pressure off of you. From organizing documents, to appearing in court, to an overarching knowledge and expertise in disability law, a disability attorney is going to be by your side throughout the process, giving you peace of mind and a much higher chance of successfully appealing.

Call The Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill

The disability attorneys at the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill are very experienced in the SSDI application and appeal process. We understand that this is a complicated process and can be intimidating for some people. We offer assistance at every step of the process. We can help you gather documentation, organize your appeal, and prepare you for any hearings. If you have been denied, don’t hesitate to schedule a free evaluation today to see how we can help.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with schizophrenia? If you have, you are aware that schizophrenia is a serious condition that results in hallucinations, paranoia, speech difficulties, and disordered thought processes.

Numerous antipsychotic medications are successful in the treatment of schizophrenia, but they often have serious adverse effects. Certain people may not respond to the drugs well enough and continue to have symptoms.

Whether your medications are ineffective or your prescriptions keep you from working, it’s important to consider that you may qualify for Social Security disability for schizophrenia.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder in which the diagnosed person’s mental and emotional processes break down, making it impossible to distinguish reality from delusions. The condition often progresses slowly, taking months or even years to manifest into disabling symptoms. People with schizophrenia sometimes struggle to behave appropriately in social contexts and may also struggle with self-care.

The cause of schizophrenia is unknown. It often manifests itself throughout adolescence but may also manifest during childhood or adulthood. Genetics, environment, infection, or family dysfunction may all play a role in producing the condition. Schizophrenia is classified into four types:

  • Paranoid schizophrenia
  • Disorganized schizophrenia
  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia
  • Catatonic schizophrenia

Residual schizophrenia is a term referring to a condition in which a person has a good handle on most of their symptoms but even so exhibits residual symptoms.

Getting Disability For Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is considered a disability if you fulfill the criteria set out by the Social Security Administration in Listing 12.03, schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, of the Listing of Impairments.

Schizophrenia is often diagnosed by psychiatrists and is typically determined using verbal interviews with both the patient and any close family members. The psychiatrist will assess the symptoms mentioned, the person’s behavior since the symptoms were first detected, the person’s medical and family history, as well as the person’s reaction to the medicine given to treat the symptoms.

Although no medical tests may be used to diagnose schizophrenia, a diagnosing psychiatrist may conduct a CT scan to rule out other physical illnesses that may produce comparable symptoms.

Schizophrenia manifests itself in a number of ways. Due to the slower progression of schizophrenia, symptoms may initially be very minor or mirror common conditions such as stress, sleeplessness, or difficulty focusing. 

The condition’s symptoms, such as social disengagement or trouble establishing and retaining friends, are sometimes misdiagnosed as shyness or social ineptness. However, as the illness advances, psychotic symptoms often manifest. These include hallucinations, delusions, flat affect (the appearance of no feeling), catatonic behaviors (social withdrawal), and distorted thinking.

Filing For Disability For Schizophrenia

Under Section 12.03 Schizophrenia, Paranoid, and Other Psychotic Disorders, the Social Security Administration (SSA) covers applications for disability benefits based on a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

To qualify for disability for schizophrenia, a person must establish the following: 

  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Conduct that is disorganized or catatonic
  • A pattern of irrational or incomprehensible thought 
  • Isolation and disengagement from a social connection on an emotional level

Additionally, you must be able to demonstrate, through medical documentation, that your symptoms significantly impair your ability to perform routine tasks and to obtain and retain gainful work. Suppose your symptoms are not severe enough to need full-time care but are severe enough to prevent you from working. In that case, the SSA specifies a second set of criteria for eligibility for disability for schizophrenia.

While medical records often include symptoms and accompanying limitations, they frequently do not detail how a condition prohibits you from working and may not be adequate to establish disability under SSA guidelines. Due to the complexity of schizophrenia and the difficulty of establishing your inability to maintain gainful employment solely through medical records, it is frequently highly recommended that claimants hire a Social Security Disability attorney to assist them in establishing and presenting their case.

Hire An Experienced Disability Attorney

Applicants with significant mental conditions such as schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders should consider hiring a skilled disability attorney. Not only is schizophrenia a severe illness, but individuals who suffer from this disorder have significant disadvantages when it comes to self-representation, especially given the constraints placed on focus, memory, and logical reasoning.

A disability lawyer may assist the applicant in obtaining relevant medical documents and managing the hearing procedure.

Contact The Law Offices Of Karen Kraus Bill to help you throughout the application process or if you have been denied and want help with your appeal.

After spending most of your life working and paying into Social Security, one day, you may become unable to continue working due to your age or perhaps your declining health. You may consider filing for disability benefits. Applying for disability benefits may feel intimidating and confusing. Many people are left wondering, “Do I need a lawyer for social security disability?” 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Social Security Disability?

While you are not required to hire a lawyer during the Social Security Disability application process, having legal counsel will significantly decrease your chances of being denied benefits. Many people assume that the application process is quick, easy, and only requires filling out a few forms. This is not the case when it comes to applying for disability benefits. The application process can be complex, and it requires extensive paperwork, medical records, and other personal information. Errors or omissions could impact your claim negatively and may result in a denial of benefits. If you were denied benefits, having a disability attorney to help you through the next steps will make the process much easier. 

What Is Required When Applying For Disability? 

When applying for disability, you will need to present information about your medical condition, work history, and other personal information. It is crucial to provide complete and accurate information during the application process. 

A Disability Attorney Can Help You Organize the Required Information

Compiling all of the required information on your own can be difficult and tedious. A disability attorney can assist you in organizing the correct information and ensuring it is comprehensive and satisfactory. 

Medical Information

  • Name, address, and telephone number of all treating physicians 
  • Dates and names of any medical tests you have undergone
  • Names of medications you are taking and the prescribing doctor

Personal Information

  • Your social security number
  • Your date and place of birth
  • Name and birth dates of any children who are minors
  • Your current or former spouse’s social security number and date of birth as well as the place of marriage and date of divorce or death if applicable
  • Your banking information including bank name and routing number or account number

Work Information

  • Names and addresses of employers from the current year and year prior
  • A copy of your Social Security Statement
  • The amount of money earned in the current year and previous year
  • A list of up to five jobs you have had in the last 15 years with dates of employment
  • Information regarding any workers’ compensation benefits you field or intended to file for
  • The start and end dates of any active-duty U.S. military service prior to 1968

What Happens If I Am Denied Benefits?

Finding out that you have been denied your benefits can feel frightening, but a majority of clients are denied on the application. There are many reasons why your disability claim may have been denied and it can be remedied. You may have filed the incorrect claim type, failed to show adequate medical proof, you may earn too much money, or it could be something else. If you were denied, your claim could be reevaluated during the appeals process. It is not recommended to attempt an appeal without the assistance of a knowledgeable disability attorney. Disability attorneys have experience with the Social Security claims process as well as insights into the specific requirements to get approval. 

The Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill Can Help

Whether you are applying for the first time or need to appeal a denial, the disability attorneys at the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill are ready to assist you. Applying for SSDI or SSI on your own might seem straightforward at first, but you will quickly discover a lot goes into the process. Mistakes or missing information on the application can result in a denial or reduced payments. The attorneys and staff at the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill have filed hundreds of applications. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Many people qualifying for disability have one big question about the income they are going to be receiving. Is SSDI taxable? The question is not so simple to answer as it can vary based on your specific situation and location. Here is a breakdown of how taxable your SSDI may be.

Before receiving SSDI benefits, there are two major factors that must be in play to qualify for benefits. The first is the definition by which the government deems someone qualified to receive benefits:

First, the SSA says, “Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering—for at least 12 months.” The condition must prevent you from doing the kind of work you did previously, and based on your age, education, experience, and transferable skills, you are unable to perform other work.

Additionally, you must have a pre-qualifying disability from the SSA’s Approved List and make less than $1310 in monthly wages.

SSDI has supported Americans since Social Security came into existence during the New Deal acts of the 1930s.

When do you pay Federal Tax for SSDI?

Generally, SSDI income is not taxable unless your federal taxable income is above a certain threshold. Currently, as of December 2020, the threshold for a single income amount that is not taxable is $25,000 and $32,000 when married and filing jointly.

State Tax Possibilities for SSDI

The above rules stand for federal taxation of SSDI, but what about State taxes? Historically, states have not taxed Social Security Income, including disability income. However, in recent years, some states have began implementing state-specific policies on how social security income is taxed. The following 13 states have their own policies in place:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

The state regulations on social security income often mirror the Federal regulations and simply add a state-specific layer to the way your income is taxed, but in some states, the regulations and ruling can differ slightly.

How Are SSDI Taxes Calculated?

Your reported income for taxes does not necessarily include the entirety of your disability income. The way this is calculated is based on your other sources of income and a portion of your social security income. If your calculated total is below the threshold set in your state or federally, you will not receive any taxes on your disability income. Additionally, this means that if your disability benefits are increased for any reason, you would potentially get taxed on a portion of that increase.

All of this can be confusing to navigate. This is one of the many reasons people often seek council with an experienced attorney to help them make sure they take the best route possible for their specific needs.

Need Help Navigating SSDI and Taxes?

Many of the questions people have about the income they receive can blur the lines of legal support and accounting support. Let our experienced social security disability lawyers help! Our attorneys have specialized in Social Security Disability Income and SSI legal services for over 30 years and we are prepared to help you through the process! Schedule a free consultation with one of the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill.