Georgians who have become disabled, and who paid Social Security taxes on their earnings, are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This widely available government program pays benefits in the form of payments and/or medical care. If you or a family member are unable to work because of a disability, you may be entitled to compensation. In 2020, over 1.9 million Georgians were awarded benefits. These recipients now enjoy improved financial security amidst often challenging life circumstances. While it is true that SSDI benefits are readily available, the process of applying for them is not always easy. But expert help is available: Georgia Social Security Disability lawyers have years of experience advocating on behalf of working Georgians who are owed SSDI benefits. These lawyers can assist you in applying for your benefits, and provide support throughout the application and subsequent appeals processes. Read on to learn important facts about SSDI claims and the application process, both nationwide and in Georgia.
Facts to know about SSDI nationwide
- In 2020, 69.8 million people received Social Security benefits in the US.
- 5.8 million people were newly awarded Social Security benefits in 2020.
- Most 2020 SSDI beneficiaries—85.5%—were disabled workers.
- Other beneficiaries were disabled adult children (12.1%) and disabled widow(er)s (2.5%).
- The average monthly award amount for male disabled workers in 2020 was $1603.45; for women, it was $1289.60.
- The average age of disabled worker beneficiaries was 55.0.
- In 2020, 28.9% of SSDI benefits were awarded to disabled workers aged 55-59.
- The greatest number of SSDI benefits for disabled workers (231,276) were granted to those with Musculoskeletal system and connective tissue disorders.
- In 2020, children of disabled workers received an average of $396 per month.
- In 2020, spouses of disabled workers received an average of $391 per month.
Facts to Know About SSDI in Georgia
The distribution of SSDI benefits in Georgia follows similar trends. Here are some important statistics to know about the distribution of SSDI in Georgia:
- In 2020, over 1.9 million people were awarded SSDI benefits.
- SSDI beneficiaries include retired workers, disabled workers, widow(er)s and parents, spouses, and children.
- 270,507 of these beneficiaries were disabled workers.
- In 2020, Georgians were awarded over $2.6 million in SSDI benefits.
- Nearly two-thirds of all claimants for SSDI benefits are initially denied.
- After making an initial claim, claimants typically wait at least three to five months for a reply from the Social Security Administration.
- After a claim is denied, an appeals process follows. Some applicants wait for as many as two—and sometimes three—years for their appeal hearing.
These statistics indicate that, while many Georgians are already experiencing the added financial security that results from an SSDI benefit, the application and appeals process can be lengthy and challenging. While you may be able to speed up the process by beginning your application online, you will still be obligated to provide the required documentation from your workplace, your doctor, and other sources. Many applicants have found that having the support of an expert attorney who is well-versed in applying and appealing can make these processes easier and faster. Rather than spending your time and energy learning the details about the Social Security Administration’s requirements and processes, you can rely on a Georgia disability lawyer who has helped many others to navigate the process successfully. Hire an experienced expert instead of having to become one yourself.
How Attorneys Assist SSDI Claimants
The process of applying for SSDI benefits begins with gathering information and documentation. Since a worker's lifetime covered earnings largely determine the dollar amount of benefits received, you are obligated to document your work history. You will need to provide medical records and proof of your disability. In addition, you will need to ensure that your disability meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. If you don’t meet these specific criteria, or if your initial claim fails to properly show that you do meet the criteria, you may be denied benefits. The criteria for disability are highly specific, and often difficult for a non-expert to understand.
The Georgia disability lawyers at Affleck & Gordon have extensive experience in helping their clients understand these criteria. They also provide guidance for clients as they track down the required proof that their disability qualifies for SSDI benefits. Georgia Social Security Disability lawyers are invested in ensuring that you and your family members receive the benefits for which you qualify, and they are highly experienced in assisting claimants to gather documents and in understanding the Social Security Administration’s complex requirements.
Because two-thirds of initial SSDI claims are denied, you will likely need to pursue further documentation and preparation for your claim to be approved. Most applicants appeal the initial denial and their claim is reexamined by the Social Security Administration. This is where a Georgia Social Security Disability lawyer’s expertise is particularly helpful. Because they have years of experience filing claims, pursuing appeals, and arguing cases in front of Social Security Administrative Law judges, they know precisely how to proceed in the way most likely to secure benefits for their clients.
Although you can apply for SSDI benefits on your own, doing so merely puts you in line to wait for months and years for even an initial reply to your application. In addition, claims are often denied because of technical errors or missing information. These are two problems that can be easily rectified with the insight of an experienced SSDI attorney. With a lawyer’s assistance, you can shorten these wait times. An expert lawyer can ensure that you present precisely the correct documentation, highlight the relevant aspects of your application, and make sure the details are exactly right. By skillfully advocating on your behalf, Georgia Social Security Disability Lawyers set your application up for success.
How are SSDI Attorneys Compensated?
Having an expert on your team familiar with the detailed work of filing SSDI claims enables you to proceed with the process more quickly and confidently. This assistance is available to Georgians without an upfront attorney fee. If your claim is approved, your fee is deducted from the first SSDI payment of past-due benefits. In other words, your attorney will be paid out of your “back pay.” This amount is federally regulated and is limited to 25% of past-due benefits, up to a maximum of $6000. If your claim is not approved, you are not obligated to pay this fee.
So, if you or a family member is unable to work because of a disability, you may be able to join the almost two million Georgians now receiving SSDI. These benefits—including both health care and monetary compensation—can ensure your financial security. They can also provide support for your family and dependents if they are unable to work. If you have been working and paying into the Social Security system, you deserve compensation. Schedule a free consultation with the Georgia disability lawyers at Affleck & Gordon to learn more about how one of their experienced attorneys can help you understand and secure your SSDI benefits.