Social Security Disability in St. Petersburg, FL
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program that pays monthly benefits to you if you have become disabled before reaching the age of retirement and your disability prevents you from working in the same capacity.
If you believe you are eligible to receive SSDI in St. Petersburg, Florida then you will first need to fill out an application and be approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
What happens if SSA denies your application for SSDI? Are you confused because you meet all of the requirements? If so, you need to work with a St. Petersburg, FL attorney that has experience in dealing with the SSA in SSDI denials. An attorney can help you appeal the decision that denied you benefits to hopefully reverse the decision so you can receive the benefits you need.
Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance?
Before trying to obtain SSDI benefits in St. Petersburg, Florida it is essential to understand the eligibility criteria. Absent these requirements, you may be denied SSDI benefits. Ensuring you qualify may help you decide whether to enlist help from the start.
St. Petersburg residents who apply for SSDI will have their medical eligibility determined by Florida’s Division of Disability Determinations (DDS). DDS operates within Florida’s Department of Health, but is fully funded by the federal government. Consequently, the DDS uses the SSA definition of a disability to make these decisions. Furthermore, the DDD is also responsible for the periodic Continuing Disability Review of all disability beneficiaries. This takes place to determine if they can continue to meet medical eligibility criteria.
You have likely spent a great deal of time working in St. Petersburg over the years, which bodes well for fulfilling the first requirement. You need to have worked a specific number of years in a job where you paid taxes towards social security (FICA taxes). More specifically, you need to earn a certain amount of work credits to be eligible for SSDI. You can receive up to four work credits per year, and the number of work credits you need for eligibility depends on the age you were when you became disabled.
Although St. Petersburg employees do not pay state income tax, they do have to pay federal FICA tax. This is typically done by the employer through payroll withholding. Specifically, the IRS states that the current tax rate for Social Security is 6.2% for a St. Petersburg employer and 6.2% for a St. Petersburg employee, for a total of 12.4%. The total Medicare tax of 2.9% is also shared equally. However, if you are self-employed in St. Petersburg, you are responsible for the full 15.3% FICA tax burden.
Qualifying Medical Condition
The second requirement is you must have a long-term, severe medical condition that the SSA classifies as a total disability. Severe means that the condition interferes with or prevents you from being able to perform primary job duties. Long-term means that your disability will last at least one year. Total disability means that you are unable to perform a substantial gainful activity for at least one year. The updated list of qualifying medical conditions in 2020 for social security disability includes the following:
- Neurological disorders
- Mental disorders
- Skin disorders
- Varying syndromes
- Kidney disease
- Hematological disorders
- Immune system disorders
- Digestive tract disorders
- Respiratory illnesses
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Senses and speech issues
- Cardiovascular problems
However, even if you have a qualifying medical condition there are other considerations. You still might not be eligible if you are currently working in St. Petersburg and making above a certain amount of money. The SSA refers to this as the work credit requirement. For instance, if you are a disabled applicant making $1,260 per month or a blind applicant making $2,110 per month, the Social Security Administration will say you can perform a substantial gainful activity, thereby disqualifying you from receiving SSDI.
SSI vs. SSDI
If you are not eligible for SSDI due to the work credit requirement, you might still be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSI is a federal program that helps people with disabilities who have very little or no income but do not meet requirements for SSDI. Monthly payments are given to people to help them pay for basic needs such as clothing, food and shelter.
Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) offers an Optional State Supplement for SSI recipients in St. Petersburg. Specifically, the supplement is $78.40 per individual, and $156.80 per married couple. This assistance is designed for individuals who reside in licensed assisted living facilities. Also, those living in adult family care homes and mental health residential treatment facilities can qualify. Additionally, DCF provides Family Assistance Programs including Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA), Food Assistance, and the Medically Needy program.
How To Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits In St. Petersburg, Florida
Applying for SSDI benefits is a relatively straightforward process, but it is important to be exceptionally prepared beforehand; otherwise, it can become unnecessarily complicated. Here is what you need to know about your SSDI benefits application.
Step 1: Gather Appropriate Information
Before you fill out the SSDI benefits application, you will need to gather all pertinent information. Here is a list of some of the most common elements you should have on hand when you are sitting down to apply for SSDI benefits:
- A list of your diagnosed medical conditions
- Information about health care professionals you have seen, including their names, addresses and the dates you saw them
- List of medication or treatments you have been prescribed and the medical professional who prescribed them
- Information about work history, when you stopped working due to the disability and the type of work you were doing before your disability
- Information about your vocational training and education level
- Employment information for the current year, as well as the two previous years including your start and end dates and how much money you made
- If applicable, include information about military service and the dates you served
- Information about current and/or former spouses including their names, social security numbers and marriage/divorce dates
- Names and birthdates of children who are under the age of 18 or who became disabled before the age of 22
You should also include any additional information you think might be relevant to your application for SSDI.
Step 2: Apply Online
There are three ways to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits:
- Visit ssa.gov/applyfordisability and apply online
- Call the Social Security office at 800-772-1213 and schedule an appointment to apply
- Go to your local St. Petersburg, FL Social Security office to apply in person without an appointment
You should only apply for disability insurance when you have sufficient medical records to show that you are eligible for it. If you have not seen a doctor in a while, make sure to see one a few times and get their recommendation for SSDI before applying.
Florida’s Social Security field offices report to the Social Security Region 4 Office, located in Atlanta, Georgia. However, St. Petersburg residents will typically deal with their city’s field office.
Step 3. If Denied, Contact an Attorney
If you have been denied SSDI and you believe you are eligible, your next step is to contact a St. Petersburg attorney and appeal the decision by submitting a request on this site .Your attorney will gather all of your information and make a strong case for why you need the benefits SSDI provides.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer In St. Petersburg, Florida
Have you been denied Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in St. Petersburg? If you believe you are eligible, it is important to reach out to a lawyer. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Florida state lines. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can appeal the decision and hopefully win your case so you can receive the benefits that you need.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!