Are you out of work after a serious accident or illness in St. Petersburg, FL? You may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits to help with your expenses if you’re struggling with a permanent disability. An experienced St. Petersburg Social Security disability lawyer at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, P.A. can help you navigate the complex claims process and protect your legal rights.
Since 1955, we’ve recovered more than $675 million in compensation for our satisfied clients. That money has helped countless people get their lives back on track over the years.
How Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, P.A. Can Help With a Social Security Disability Claim in St. Petersburg
Federal Social Security laws are extremely complicated. Even if you’re eligible to receive SSDI benefits, you’ll still have to satisfy strict qualifying rules to successfully file a claim–and most claims are denied.
If you’re struggling with a disability, you have enough on your plate. An experienced St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer can help you seek the compensation you need and deserve.
When you hire Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, P.A. to fight for your rights, you’ll have an attorney in your corner to:
- Help you get the medical evidence needed to initiate the application process
- Build a thorough application for benefits
- Advocate for you during the appeals and hearing process if your claim is denied
- Locate experts in medicine and other specialties to testify on your behalf
- Ensure that you’re receiving the maximum benefits possible
Our attorneys have more than 300 years of experience helping clients like you–making us one of the most experienced personal injury law firms in the Tampa Bay area. If you would like an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney to review your Social Security disability case, you can count on us.
Your initial consultation is always 100% free of charge. Just call our law offices today for the legal advice you deserve.
Overview of the Social Security Disability Laws in St. Petersburg
Most people think of Social Security as a retirement income program. While Social Security does provide a monthly check for older Americans, it also provides benefits for workers who are unable to work because of a disability. Those benefits are available regardless of age.
There are two primary types of disability benefit programs:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which provides benefits to disabled individuals based on their prior work history and record of paying Social Security taxes
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a needs-based program that pays benefits to low-income people with disabilities
Both SSDI and SSI benefits are modest. Even if you qualify for SSDI based on your prior work history, your benefits can be reduced if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Do you have questions about your rights under the SSDI program? Call our law firm to schedule a free case review today.
What Types of Benefits Are Available to Social Security Disability Recipients in St. Petersburg?
SSDI provides three primary types of benefits to disabled workers:
- Cash disability benefits to the qualifying disabled worker
- Widow/widower benefits for disabled workers over the age of 50 who develop a disability within seven years after a qualifying spouse’s death
- Benefits for disabled adult children between the ages of 18 and 22 whose parents are deceased or receiving SSDI or SSI benefits
The SSDI system is extremely complicated. If you need help evaluating your options, an experienced St. Petersburg Social Security disability attorney at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, P.A. can help.
All you have to do is give us a quick call to schedule a free case evaluation today.
How Do I Know Whether I’m Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Most people under age 65 qualify for SSDI benefits if they worked and paid Social Security taxes on their earnings. However, only workers who are totally and permanently disabled can claim SSDI benefits.
To claim benefits, you’ll have to establish:
- Your psychiatric, cognitive, or medical impairment prevents you from performing substantial work
- You’ve accumulated sufficient work credits to qualify for benefits
Typically, you can’t claim SSDI benefits if you’re able to continue working. If your earnings average more than $1,310 per month in 2021, you won’t qualify for Social Security disability benefits. A higher earnings rate applies for blind individuals.
What Qualifies as a Disability Under the SSDI Rules?
Unlike workers’ compensation, SSDI doesn’t provide benefits for partial or short-term disability. You’ll have to establish a severe long-term disability to qualify.
You will be considered totally and permanently disabled if:
- You cannot perform your typical work because of a medical condition
- You cannot perform any other types of work because of that medical condition
- The medical condition has lasted, or is expected to last, for at least one year or is expected to result in death
The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists certain disabilities that automatically qualify you for disability benefits, including:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Serious neurological disorders
- Blindness and serious vision problems
- Serious vision disorders
- Immune system disorders
- Arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and other musculoskeletal disorders
- Chronic pain
- Certain types of cancers
- Cardiovascular disease, heart failure and coronary artery disease
- Respiratory illnesses, such as COPD
- Digestive system disorders, such as gastrointestinal hemorrhage, hepatic (liver) dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease, short bowel syndrome, and malnutrition
If your condition is not on the SSA list, the agency will evaluate our claim to determine whether your condition is sufficiently severe. The SSA will also consider whether your condition allows you to do any other type of work–considering your age, education, and any skills you have developed over the years.
What Are Work Credits?
You automatically earn “work credits” for Social Security purposes if you earn income and pay Social Security taxes on that income. In 2021, you earn one work credit for every $1,470 in wages or self-employment income. The dollar amount needed to qualify changes every year. You can only earn a maximum of four work credits each year, regardless of your income level.
The number of work credits you’ll need to qualify for SSDI benefits varies depending on your age.
Most workers must satisfy the following criteria:
- They must have at least 40 work credits
- 20 of those work credits must have been earned in the prior ten years, ending in the year of disability
You may qualify based on fewer work credits if you were younger when you became disabled. If you were disabled before age 24, you can claim SSDI benefits if you earned six work credits in the past three years
A special rule allows workers who were disabled before age 31 to qualify if you have credit for working half the time between age 21 and the time you became disabled.
Can a Lawyer Help if My Social Security Disability Application Was Denied?
According to the SSA’s own statistics, only between 20-25% of SSDI applications are approved. Most applicants are required to file an appeal before they’re actually awarded benefits. Even after appeal, most claims are denied.
There are any number of reasons your claim could be denied.
Some of the most common include:
- You’re able to perform some other type of work
- Your impairment isn’t expected to last at least 12 months or isn’t sufficiently severe
- You haven’t provided sufficient medical evidence
- Your earnings are too high
- You previously filed a claim that was denied
Some claims are legitimately denied. Others may be denied because of procedural errors or lack of evidence. If your claim was denied, it’s important to have a skilled attorney by your side to protect your legal rights.
Our lawyers at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, P.A. can file a request for reconsideration if the SSA denied your prior claim. We can also work with you from the start to increase your chances of getting approved.
How Long Do I Have To File an Appeal if My Social Security Disability Application Was Denied in Florida?
You only have 60 days to request a hearing if your initial SSDI claim was denied. If you miss the deadline, your case can be dismissed.
However, if you have a good reason for missing the deadline, it may be possible to obtain an extension.
The hearing process can take time. It can be months before your hearing is even scheduled. That’s why it’s important to take legal action right away if your claim was denied. If you have any questions about how our lawyers can help you through the appeals or claims process, give us a call today.
Contact a St. Petersburg Social Security Disability Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Whether you were hurt in a car accident, a slip and fall, or on the job, you could be entitled to federal SSDI benefits. An experienced St. Petersburg Social Security disability lawyer can help you fight for the fair compensation you deserve. For more information, call Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, P.A. and schedule a free consultation today.