Do you have a disabling condition that has left you unable to work? While being unable to earn a living can place you in a difficult financial situation, you might be entitled to receive Social Security disability benefits. However, applying for these benefits can be an extremely complex process. Federal disability benefits programs have limited resources, so the Social Security Administration strictly establishes and enforces the eligibility requirements for recipients. To ensure you have the best chance at having your disability benefits application approved, turn to the Alabama Social Security disability lawyers of Stokes Stemle, LLC for help.
At our firm, we believe that you deserve personalized service during this difficult time in your life. Our attorneys and staff take the time to get to know you and understand your needs and goals. Then we take what we’ve learned and create a case strategy to seek the results you want and deserve.
When you need help getting Social Security disability benefits in Alabama, reach out to the attorneys of Stokes Stemle, LLC. You’ll get a free consultation where we can discuss how our firm can assist you in getting the disability benefits you may be entitled to.
When Should I Hire an Alabama Social Security Disability Lawyer?
You should begin working with an attorney as early as possible when applying for Social Security disability benefits. Many applicants quickly become confused and frustrated by the application process. They may have difficulty filling out application paperwork correctly and submitting the required supporting documentation. For this reason, most disability claims are denied at first.
Although applicants are not required to hire an attorney to apply for disability benefits, having a Social Security disability lawyer can give them the best chance of having their benefits application approved as quickly as possible. An attorney can help you understand the criteria for being approved for disability benefits and whether your disability may qualify you for benefits. They can also advise you about which disability benefits program you may qualify for.
Experienced Social Security disability lawyers know what claims examiners are looking for when determining whether an applicant has a qualifying disability. An Alabama SSDI attorney will also know what information and documents are needed for a successful application and can ensure that your application is completed correctly. This can help you avoid having your application denied on an initial review so you can get disability benefits more quickly.
If you have submitted an application for Social Security disability benefits that was denied, you need to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. While the denial letter will explain why your application was rejected, you may not know what you need to do to fix your application to file an appeal. If you hire an Alabama Social Security disability lawyer for your appeal, your attorney can identify the information and evidence you need to collect to support your application and give you the best chance on appeal. A lawyer can also advocate on your behalf during the appeals process.
Worried about the cost of hiring an attorney to help you through the Social Security benefits application process?
When you are disabled and cannot work, you may be worried about the cost of hiring an attorney to help you through the Social Security benefits application process. However, under federal law and regulation, Social Security disability attorneys are not paid up-front. Instead, they receive a percentage of the back pay benefits you receive, up to a cap. The Social Security Administration will even calculate your attorney’s fee and pay it to them directly, so you don’t need to worry about calculating your lawyer fee or paying them.
Does Social Security Disability Help with Housing?
The Social Security Administration does not provide direct assistance with housing costs to recipients of disability benefits. However, individuals who have been approved for Social Security disability may also be eligible for other housing assistance programs. These programs include:
- The Housing Choice Voucher Program, commonly called the Section 8 program, helps pay rent costs for disabled individuals. Administered by the U.S. Department of Housing, the program subsidizes the housing costs for eligible rental units. Under the program, a participant must pay a portion of their income towards their rent, and the program pays the difference. Approval for the program depends on asset and income limits, family status, citizenship status, and criminal background.
- The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a federal program run by the Administration for Children and Families, helps low-income individuals and families cover their gas, oil, and electric utility costs. Many states also offer energy assistance programs and help lower utility costs. Utility companies frequently offer payment assistance to customers who have trouble affording their utilities, including payment plans.
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, provides funds through a prepaid debit card that qualified low-income and disabled individuals can use to purchase certain foods and other products from retailers that accept SNAP benefits.
How Much Does Social Security Disability Pay a Month?
Social Security disability benefits can vary depending on the type of program that you receive benefits from. Disability benefits are paid from one of two programs: Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and supplemental security income (SSI). Social Security disability insurance is intended for insured workers, while supplemental security income is designed for disabled individuals with little or no income or assets.
If you are approved for SSDI, your benefits will be based on your earnings withheld for Social Security before your disability. To calculate your benefits, the Social Security Administration will determine your average indexed monthly earnings, or AIME.
The SSA then uses your AIME in a formula to determine your disability benefit payment, usually based on whether you also have dependent family members. Average SSDI monthly payments range around $1,300 for individuals and $2,300 for families, while maximum possible benefits can exceed $3,300 per month.
Supplemental security income benefits are based on the maximum federal benefit amount. This amount increases every year. A recipient of supplemental security income benefits can receive the federal benefit amount minus any countable income. Countable income can be earned through employment or self-employment or include portions of a spouse’s or parent’s income. Alabama also offers a state supplemental payment to recipients of SSI benefits.
Is Social Security Disability Taxable?
Social Security disability benefits might be taxed depending on which program you receive benefits from. While SSDI benefits may be taxed, SSI payments are not considered taxable income.
If you are receiving SSDI benefits, the taxable portion will depend on your total income and benefits for the year. You could be required to pay tax on your SSDI benefits if half of your benefits and all other income is more than the base amount of your filing status.
Base amounts of social security income include:
- $25,000 for single, qualifying widow(er), and head of household filers
- $25,000 for filers who are married but have lived apart from their spouse for the entire tax year and are filing separately
- $32,000 for filers who are married and are filing jointly
- $0 for filers who are married and have lived with their spouse for the entire tax year and are filing separately
Married couples who file jointly must combine their respective incomes and SSDI benefits to determine the taxable portion of any benefits.
Contact a Social Security Disability Attorney Today
Let us handle all the details of an Alabama social security disability claim. We can prepare and pursue your disability benefits application, including gathering your medical records and financial information, speaking with your treating medical providers, drafting and filing your benefits application, and handling appeals from denials of your application. You can trust us to manage your disability claim from start to finish.
If you have questions about applying for Social Security disability benefits or how disability benefits work, contact an Alabama Social Security disability lawyer from Stokes Stemle, LLC – Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Let an experienced member of our legal team provide you with the answers and knowledge you need to make the best decisions for your future.