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Florida Social Security Disability Lawyer

Experienced Florida Social Security Lawyer Helps Clients Get the Benefits They Deserve

The federal government provides two types of benefits for older Americans, as well as those who live with a serious disability, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Social Security Administration administers both programs, however, each has its own eligibility criteria. The available benefits under SSDI and SSI are also different. Applying for Florida disability benefits can be complicated. At the Disability Law Firm, we help clients navigate the disability application process. Attorney Robert Alston, the founder of the Disability Law Firm, has extensive experience handling all types of disability claims, and has been helping clients obtain the benefits they need and deserve since 2002.

Social Security Disability Insurance

Every Year IN THE U.S.

In 2018, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits were paid to over 10 million people. Nearly 87 percent of these recipients were disabled workers.

Almost an equal number of men and women receive SSDI benefits, which amount to an average monthly benefit amount of $1,233.70. Additiionally, one in seven SSDI recipients also received SSI benefits.

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10M

SSDI
Beneficiaries
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87%

OF RECIPIENTS ARE DISABLED WORKERS
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70%

OF INITIAL APPLICATIONS ARE DENIED

Types of Florida Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two kinds of benefits for those living with serious disabilities. While the SSA administers both programs, they have different eligibility requirements and benefit amounts.

Social Security Disability and SSI

The federal government provides two types of disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Social Security Disability Insurance

Supplemental Security Income

WHO CAN FILE: Individuals who are unable to work due to disability and have earned enough work credits through the payment of Social Security taxes. In some cases, a disabled employee could be eligible for both SSDI and SSI, provided they have a work history and limited income and resources.

Under certain circumstances disabled widows or widowers, and children who had a disability starting before the age of 22, may also qualify for SSDI benefits based on the employment history of a loved one.

WHO CAN FILE: Individuals who are unable to work due to disability and have not earned enough work credits through the payment of Social Security taxes. SSI benefits are only available to those with limited or no income and resources.

There are also child SSI benefits and SSI benefits for older adults. Persons who are receiving SSI benefits may also become eligible to receive medical assistance in the form of Medicaid.

How Social Security Determines Disability

A diagnosis of a serious medical condition is only a starting point. Social Security evaluates how your condition affects your daily activity and functioning.

ADULTS

The SSA defines disability as the inability to work due to a physical or mental impairment which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months or which can be expected to result in death. Additionally, Social Security has 14 specific disability listings which, if all the requirements are met, may entitle a person to disability.

CHILDREN

Children applying for SSI benefits must meet a similar definition of disability, but rather than showing that a child cannot work, the child must show that their disability results in “marked and severe functional limitations.” Additionally, Social Security has 15 specific disability listings which, if all the requirements are met, may entitle a person to disability.

Below are the listings for both adults and children. Medical evidence is required to support the requirements of each listing.
  • Musculoskeletal system disorders
  • Special Senses and speech disorders
  • Respiratory system disorders
  • Cardiovascular system disorders
  • Digestive system disorders
  • Genitourinary disorders
  • Hematological disorders
  • Skin disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems
  • Neurological disorders
  • Mental disorders
  • Malignant Neoplastic Diseases (cancer)
  • Immune System Disorders
  • Low birth weight and failure to thrive (for child applicants)

An applicant who has multiple disabilities, none of which are severe enough to qualify on their own, may be able to successfully make a case that the cumulative effect of their disabilities makes them eligible for benefits.

Applying for SSDI Benefits

To apply for SSDI benefits, an applicant must have a qualifying disability and enough work credits. The SSA has a strict application procedure in place to determine SSDI benefit eligibility.

Social Security work credits are based on the amount of money a person makes. Up to four credits can be earned per year.
$1410 earned for one work credit
40 work credits to qualify

Determining Eligibility

The Social Security Administration uses a five-step process to determine eligibility for benefits:

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1. Whether the applicant is working

Applicants making more than $1,260 per month are not considered disabled by the SSA and will not be eligible for benefits.

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2. The severity of the condition

A condition must be severe such that it limits the ability to perform basic tasks such as walking, sitting, standing or remembering. The condition must also last for 12 months or more.

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3. Whether the condition is listed

If an applicant’s disability is not reflected in a disability listing, they may still be able to obtain benefits by showing that their disability is equivalent to a listed disability.

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4. Whether an applicant can still perform their job

Those with medical conditions that are not listed may still qualify for SSDI benefits if they cannot perform necessary job tasks.

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5. Whether an applicant can perform any other type of work

The SSA considers the applicant’s age, education, experience and skills. If the SSA finds that there are no other jobs an applicant can realistically perform, they will be found eligible for benefits.

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1. Whether the applicant is working

Applicants making more than $1,260 per month are not considered disabled by the SSA and will not be eligible for benefits.

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4. Whether an applicant can still perform their job

Those with medical conditions that are not listed may still qualify for SSDI benefits if they cannot perform necessary job tasks.

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2. The severity of the condition

A condition must be severe such that it limits the ability to perform basic tasks such as walking, sitting, standing or remembering. The condition must also last for 12 months or more.

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5. Whether an applicant can perform any other type of work

The SSA considers the applicant’s age, education, experience and skills. If the SSA finds that there are no other jobs an applicant can realistically perform, they will be found eligible for benefits.

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3. Whether the condition is listed

If an applicant’s disability is not reflected in a disability listing, they may still be able to obtain benefits by showing that their disability is equivalent to a listed disability.

DO NOT BE OVERWHELMED

Having the assistance of an experienced Florida disability lawyer can significantly ease the stress and confusion that often accompanies the application process.

FREE REPORT:

Social Security Disability:7 Secrets Revealed.

SSDI Benefits for Adult Children with Disabilities

Adult children who have a disability may be able to obtain SSDI benefits based on a parent’s work history

These benefits are referred to as “child’s” benefits, because the applicant, although an adult, is receiving benefits that are tied to their parent’s work history. To qualify, a child must have a disability that developed before they turned 22 years old. Because the benefits are based on the parent’s work history, the parent of an adult child seeking SSDI benefit must either:

• Receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits
• Have died and earned sufficient work credits

Once an adult child begins to receive SSDI benefits, the benefits will continue until the child is no longer considered disabled. Benefits may be affected if the child gets married.

Applying for SSI Benefits in Florida

Supplemental Security Income benefits are available to older Americans as well as individuals who are blind or disabled and have limited income and resources.

For adults, disability is defined as a physical or mental condition that:
  • Results in the inability to work; and
  • Has lasted (or is expected to last) for not less than 12 months; or
  • Can be expected to result in death
For children, disability is defined as a physical or mental condition that:
  • Results in marked and severe functional limitations
  • Has lasted (or is expected to last) for not less than 12 months; or
  • Can be expected to result in death
To qualify for SSI benefits based on blindness, a person must have:
  • Vision of 20/200 or worse in the better eye (based on best-corrected visual acuity), or
  • A visual field limitation such that the widest diameter of the visual field, in the better eye, is 20 degrees or less

Applying for SSI Benefits

To apply for SSI benefits, an applicant must have a qualifying disability and meet the income and resource requirements. The SSA has a strict application procedure in place to determine SSI benefit eligibility.

Income requirements are based on household size and income and are determined on a case by case basis.
$2000 resource limit for individuals
$3000 resource limit for couples

Supplemental Security Income benefits

In 2018, over eight million people received SSI benefits. That same year, total federally administered SSI payments were $54.8 billion, and the average monthly payment for SSI recipients was $551.

 

AMONG SSI BENEFICIARIES

Of those who received benefits, 28 percent were aged 65 or older, 58 percent were between the ages of 18 and 64, and 14 percent were under the age of 18.

Six out of ten recipients under the age of 65 were diagnosed with a mental health disorder. 57 percent of SSI recipients have no other form of income, while nearly one in five are currently employed.

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58%

WERE AGES 18 TO 64
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34%

ALSO RECEIVE SSDI BENFITS
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60%

HAVE A MENTAL HEALTH DISORDER

Appealing an Adverse Decision

Recent estimates suggest that well over half of all Florida disability applications are denied. When the SSA denies a claim for disability benefits, the applicant can appeal that decision. Appeals must be made in writing, and submitted within 60 days of the denial.

COMMON REASONS FOR DENIAL
  • The applicant earns too much money
  • The applicant’s disability is not “severe” or will not last long enough
  • An applicant’s failure to seek ongoing treatment
  • An applicant’s failure to submit the necessary medical documentation
Four Levels of Appeal
  • Reconsideration
  • A hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge
  • Review by the Appeals Council
  • Review by a federal court

Depending on the type of appeal and the reason for denial, the SSA may request additional information from an applicant to support their claim.

Even with our high success rate, denials are not uncommon. The appeals process is long and complicated. That is why it is important to have an experienced lawyer fighting for you. Attorney Robert Alston has handled over 1,000 social security disability cases. Robert’s extensive experience with the appeal process gives you the upper hand.

At a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge, the judge will determine the applicant’s limitations and may call a vocational expert to testify how those limitations affect the applicant’s ability to work. Robert Alston’s experience in social security disability cases proves effective when cross-examining the vocational experts.

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Everyone needs Robert Alston and his team on their side.

- Ron

If you want an attorney to work hard for you this is the man you need to hire.

- Lori

I can't thank The Disability Law Firm employees and Robert Alston enough.

- Gary

This was such an easy decision to go with this law firm, they treat you like family.

- Rosemarie 

This legal team is the best I have ever used.

- Bryan 

Amazing experience with outstanding professionals.

- Robin 

This law firm was the best call we ever made. I highly recommend them.

- David

Excellent law firm. Compassionate and caring staff.

- Susette

Mr. Alston helped with my disability case when no one else would listen or help.

- Marcia

This firm goes above and beyond to help their clients.

- Orenda

You can’t ask for any better.

- Howard

From day one they treated me as if I was the most important person in the world.

- Ron

Contact an Experienced Florida Social Security Disability Attorney at for Immediate Assistance

TALK TO A LAWYER

At the Disability Law Firm, attorney Robert Alston helps clients and their families obtain the government benefits that they deserve. With over 20 years of experience helping the injured with disability claims, Robert knows what it takes to succeed on his clients’ behalf.

To learn more about how the Disability Law Firm can help you obtain benefits, call 813-779-8895 to schedule a free case evaluation today.

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