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Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability in Colorado?

Disabled man sitting on his wheelchair at home.

If you have a disabling condition and are considering applying for assistance, you may have questions about whether you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. You also may have eligibility questions if you have applied and received a letter from the Social Security Administration denying your application for disability benefits. A sizable portion of Coloradans with valid disability claims receive rejection letters initially and have to work with an experienced disability lawyer and pursue an appeal.

If you have a medically diagnosed disabling condition and are having difficulty obtaining disability benefits in Denver, Greeley or anywhere in Northeastern Colorado, the attorneys at The Sawaya Law Firm are ready to help. Our Colorado Social Security Disability lawyers have helped many Coloradans pursue disability benefits. Our founding attorney Mike Sawaya and The Sawaya Law Firm have established a Heritage of Justice by successfully advocating for many disabled and injured Coloradans in 40 years of law practice. Call a Denver personal injury attorney today for a free review of your disability claim and discussion of how we may assist you.

What are the Qualifications for Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD)and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are the two primary federal programs that provide monthly income to people who become completely disabled and are unable to work for long periods of time. Applicants for disability benefits in Colorado have to show medical evidence that they meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled and also comply with other criteria to qualify for benefits.

Each application is approved or rejected based on factors such as:

  • supporting medical evidence
  • the anticipated duration of the disability
  • the applicant’s ability to work and earn money.

You must have a medically diagnosed disabling condition that prevents you from doing gainful work and that is expected to last for a long time or indefinitely. In the application, you must provide the names of your doctors and medical records detailing your medical disability and its effects on your life and job.

The Social Security Administration’s Blue Book lists categories of impairments and the conditions necessary for each condition to qualify for disability benefits. Claims’ reviewers use the book to evaluate whether an applicant has a condition that prevents them from working.  The medical condition must be expected to last at least one year or be a terminal condition that will eventually result in death. There are no disability benefits available from the Social Security Administration for short-term disability or partial disability.

If you can still perform some type of work, even if you cannot handle the demands of your former job, you may not qualify for disability benefits. If there is a question about your ability to work, the claims’ reviewer may set up an appointment for a doctor to examine you and provide an opinion about whether you can still be gainfully employed.

In addition to meeting the definition of disability, a worker seeking SSD benefits must have worked long enough and paid taxes into the Social Security system to qualify for insurance benefits. The number of years of work and work credits you need to qualify for disability depends on your age.

If you have not worked or contributed money into the Social Security system, you still may qualify for Supplemental Security Income. The elderly, the blind and disabled people with very little income or assets may be eligible for SSI benefits. Your eligibility for SSI is not dependent on your employment history or the amount of Social Security tax you have paid into the system.

What Are the Qualifications for Expedited Consideration of a Disability Application?

Some serious diseases such as certain types of incurable cancer and adult brain disorders clearly qualify as disabilities. The Social Security Administration maintains a list of more than 200 disabling diseases and conditions that qualify for a compassionate allowance.

An applicant may receive fast-track approval of disability benefits if he or she has one of the serious conditions that qualifies for a compassionate allowance. Your disability claim application may be processed in as little as 10 days. The average processing time for quick decision determinations in Colorado was 13 days.

Do I Qualify for Disability in Denver?

Claims’ reviewers at Disability Determination Services, a state agency in Colorado, review applications for disability benefits in Denver and throughout the state and decide whether each applicant qualifies for benefits. The average time to process initial applications is approximately 73 days in Colorado. Unfortunately, most applicants seeking disability benefits are initially turned down. Many do not have adequate medical documentation or a complete work history. Some applications get rejected for technical reasons.

If your application is denied, you have 60 days to request a reconsideration of the decision. If the reconsideration alsoSocial Security Disability Claim is denied, a second appeal can be presented to an administrative law judge. The Denver disability attorneys at The Sawaya Law Firm can identify the reason your application was turned down and help you appeal the decision. Our committed attorneys have handled thousands of disability cases. We understand the regulations related to applying for disability and filing appeals are complicated. The process can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with it. It helps to have the guidance of a knowledgeable disability attorney. A Denver SSD lawyer can go with you to hearings and conferences with the claims’ reviewers and help you make clear that your disabling condition prevents you from working.

To learn more about how an experienced and compassionate disability attorney can guide you through the disability process and help you present the strongest possible case for benefits, please call The Sawaya Law Firm to schedule a free initial consultation. We will review your case and evaluate your qualifications for disability benefits at no charge.

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