LOS ANGELES SOCIAL SECURITY ATTORNEY
Tony Adderley has been working as a professional advocate for individuals entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) and worker’s compensation benefits for more than 20 years. As a Los Angeles social security lawyer he has handled a variety of different cases for a variety of different clients all with their own unique sets of injuries and circumstances.
In addition to helping out with initial application filing, Tony Adderley and his trusted team of legal aides can also provide legal representation for individuals who might be entitled to coverage and benefits but who have already been denied by either the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the worker’s compensation system) – or any other program such as the supplemental security income (SSI) program. Many applicants are initially denied, but that doesn’t mean that they should give up hope. Experienced Los Angeles Social Security attorney Tony Adderley can assist applicants with appealing the denied claim.
Unlike many attorneys who only help clients with application paperwork, Los Angeles social security attorney Tony Adderley is also a trial advocate who can represent his clients in both administrative hearings and court, if a victim is repeatedly denied for coverage. When he believes in the merits of a case, Tony Adderley will pursue the benefits which his clients are entitled to with dogged determination and diligence.
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Since its inception in 1935, Social Security has helped millions of the disabled and elderly avoid the worst kinds of financial hardship. Today, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays monthly benefits to thousands of workers who have become disabled before retirement age and cannot work. Those who apply for SSDI benefits must have worked and paid Social Security (FICA) taxes for a number of years – the specifics depend on the applicant’s age and a long list of other factors.
You would think that the word “disability” can be easily defined, but for someone to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance payments, a person must have a “disability” according to the Social Security Administration’s rather narrow definition of the word. Additionally, to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance payments, someone’s medical condition must be serious enough that it has lasted or is expected to linger for at least a year. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not provide disability payments for temporary medical conditions that are projected to heal within a year.
The SSA defines a “disability” as a medical condition that prevents someone from “substantial gainful activity.” What is substantial gainful activity? Substantial gainful activity (or “SGA”) can be employment or volunteer work. One of the basic requirements for obtaining Social Security disability payments is that your medical condition must prevent you from doing “substantial gainful activity” that earns (as of 2017) $1,170 or more each month (or $1,950 for blind persons).
WHAT IF AN APPLICANT FOR BENEFITS IS NOT EARNING ANYTHING?
If the SSA determines that you are working at or above the permissible SGA level, you do not qualify for Social Security disability benefits. If you are already receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits (not Supplemental Security Income or “SSI”) and you begin work that earns an amount above the SGA level, your benefits could be terminated. But even if you’re not earning money, you may still be engaged in what the SSA calls substantial gainful activity.
SGA is more than a specified amount of income. Volunteer activity, criminal activity, or running a small business “on the side” may all be considered substantial gainful activity by the SSA even if you’re not earning money. Confused? You’re not alone. That’s why anyone seeking to obtain disability benefits in southern California will need the advice and services of an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer. To understand how all of this works, we have to look at two more definitions – how the SSA defines “substantial” and “gainful.”
Substantial activity means significant physical or mental activity. Work can be “substantial” even if a person can only work part-time, or if someone doesn’t work or earn as much as he or she did before becoming disabled. Usually, “gainful” activity is activity that someone is paid for, but even if someone isn’t paid, if the activity if usually an activity that is paid, the SSA may consider the activity “gainful.”
Here’s a specific example of how this might play out in a real situation. Let’s say that you file for disability on the basis of diabetes and high blood pressure, but you quickly become bored without work so you volunteer to “help” a friend or relative who owns a small business by answering phones or greeting customers. Even though you are not paid, the SSA might determine that your work is work that someone is normally paid to do. And that might disqualify you for disability benefits.
WHAT KIND OF ACTIVITY IS NOT SUBSTANTIAL GAINFUL ACTIVITY?
What kind of activity is not considered SGA? A person’s basic daily routine and household chores, attending school, any kind of physical, mental, or occupational therapy, and most social activities would not be considered substantial gainful activity. But anyone applying for disability benefits should understand that while these activities may not be considered substantial or gainful by the SSA, they may still be considered when the SSA decides if someone is or isn’t disabled. If your social activities include active participation in amateur sports – a church softball league, for example – the SSA may decide that you’re not disabled enough to receive benefits.
If someone is active as a volunteer, the SSA may scrutinize that activity. The SSA may decide that the volunteer activity demonstrates the person’s ability to work and the person, therefore, is not disabled. Even if the SSA determines that someone is disabled, it may still decide that the volunteer work is SGA that disqualifies the person from receiving disability benefits. The SSA may look at how many hours are spent volunteering and at the physical and mental requirements of those activities.
Under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973, volunteer work with any of these groups is exempted from consideration as substantial gainful activity:
- Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA)
- Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
- Retired Senior Volunteer Program
- Foster Grandparent Program
- University Year for ACTION
- Active Corps of Executives
CAN “PASSIVE” INCOME DISQUALIFY SOMEONE FOR SSDI?
“Passive income” – for example, the income someone may receive from retirement funds, investments, or similar sources – does not affect eligibility for SSDI benefits, although it may affect someone’s eligibility for Supplemental Security Income benefits. The substantial gainful activity “test” is applied only to the income that someone earns (or could be earning) from working while claiming to be disabled.
If someone applies for SSDI benefits while self-employed – whether the self-employment is freelancing, contracting, or a small business – the rules are somewhat different. The SSA understands that income may not be the true measure of how much someone is working.
If someone pays self-employment taxes for enough years, that person will qualify for SSDI benefits just as if he or she worked for an employer who pays FICA taxes on behalf of employees. But if someone owns a business and still does some work, the SSA will not approve disability benefits if it deems the work substantial gainful activity.
Applying for SSDI benefits can get even more complicated and confusing. What we have covered here is only the beginning. Anyone who applies for disability benefits in southern California must have the advice and guidance of an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer who can explain how the SSA’s rules regarding substantial gainful activity impact you and your eligibility to receive disability benefits.
Most people in California know that the Social Security Administration (SSA) is a part of the federal government and that it pays older, retired workers monthly benefit checks. What some people may not know, however, is that the Social Security Administration also sends monthly checks to disabled children as well as to disabled adults who are under the age of 62. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides monthly benefit payments to disabled workers. However, only those disabled workers who meet precise medical requirements are qualified to receive SSDI benefit payments.
Social Security Disability Insurance offers benefit payments exclusively to those who have been employed and who have paid Social Security taxes long enough and recently enough to be eligible for the benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance is an earned benefit for workers with physical and mental disabilities. SSDI benefits may be received by blinded or disabled workers, their surviving children and spouses, and adults who have been disabled since childhood or birth.
It would be better if disabled workers had more convenient access to disability benefits and medical treatment. Sadly, however, the disability benefit system established by the Social Security Administration does not always provide the disabled worker with quick, convenient access. Disability benefit applicants who have been approved to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits must endure a five-month waiting period before the SSA owes disability benefits to the applicant.
WHY IS THERE A FIVE-MONTH WAIT? WHEN DO THE FIVE MONTHS BEGIN?
That’s right. The Social Security Administration withholds five months of an approved applicant’s Social Security Disability Insurance benefits before starting monthly payments or calculating back payments owed to the applicant. The five-month waiting period for SSDI benefits begins on the applicant’s established onset date (“EOD”) of his or her disability. The Social Security Administration establishes this date as the date when the applicant became disabled. Therefore, the date when the applicant is actually entitled to SSDI benefits is at least five months after the date when the applicant became disabled. Three dates are important:
- the established onset date
- the application date
- the entitlement date
The entitlement date, however, can be no more than twelve months prior to the application date, which means that the established onset date can’t be more than seventeen months before the application date. In some cases, the SSA actually sets the established onset date after the application date. Confused? You are not alone. Most of those in Southern California who need to apply for SSDI benefits will need the help and guidance of an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer.
If you have a “protective filing date,” a precise date when you informed the SSA that you would be applying for SSDI benefits, the protective filing date functions as your application date for the purposes of the seventeen-month period. The entitlement date can be twelve months prior to the protective filing date, which means that your established onset date of disability can be seventeen months prior to the protective filing date. This means that you can be paid Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for the twelve months prior to the protective date.
WHAT ARE THE EXCEPTIONS TO THE FIVE-MONTH WAIT?
In most cases, the five months are spent awaiting the SSA’s decision about an applicant’s eligibility, so the applicant does not actually wait for five months after the decision for benefits has been made to start receiving those benefits. Exceptions to the five-month wait include applicants who are eligible for “expedited reinstatement” if they previously received SSDI payments, returned to work, and are disabled again, if no more than five years pass from the first disability onset date to the second.
Anyone who seeks dependent benefits as a disabled worker’s child will have no waiting period, and those who are approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) qualify for benefit payments beginning the very next month. However, the Supplemental Security Income program is limited exclusively to those with low incomes and meager assets. The differences between SSDI and SSI are important to understand if you need to receive disability benefit payments.
SSDI benefits can sometimes be approved quickly if you suffer from one of the serious medical conditions on the Social Security Administration’s “Compassionate Allowance” list. The Compassionate Allowance exception allows the SSA to identify the most seriously disabled applicants and get benefits to them as promptly as possible. The conditions that make someone eligible for Compassionate Allowance include but are not limited to most cancers, some types of muscular atrophy and muscular dystrophy, ALS, and early-onset Alzheimer’s.
WHY ARE SOME CLAIMS FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS REJECTED?
Eligibility to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits is often difficult to establish and is always a complicated task, so it is important to talk with a good disability attorney to better understand your eligibility for benefits. Your disability must prevent you from working for twelve months or more (or your condition must be terminal). About 25 percent of all SSDI applications are rejected because the SSA determines that a disability is not serious enough to prevent the applicant from working.
Adequate documentation and accurate records are key to the success of your application for SSDI benefit payments. The Social Security Administration assesses an applicant’s medical condition and medical records, work history, and the type of work an applicant has performed previously. A number of documents and precise details are required. Social Security rules and regulations are always complicated and are quite frankly sometimes baffling.
In Southern California, if you apply to receive SSDI payments, a knowledgeable Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer can boost your likelihood of approval for benefits by helping you accurately complete the applications and if necessary by advocating on your behalf at an appeal hearing before a Social Security administrative law judge. The rejection of someone’s first application for disability benefits is typical, although those benefits are frequently approved when an applicant pursues an appeal.
If your own SSDI application has been rejected, if it is pending, or if you are recently disabled and are only now learning about SSDI benefits, an experienced disability benefits attorney can explain how the SSA arrives at its decisions regarding disability and can direct you through the application procedure. It can be a long ordeal, so if you need Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in Southern California, a good disability attorney can help you get started.
If you are disabled in Southern California and you are unable to work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides two programs for workers with medical, psychiatric, or psychological disabilities. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal disability insurance program offering monthly cash benefits to disabled workers and their families. The SSA provided these benefits to almost 11 million disabled workers in 2014. Most of the disabled workers approved for SSDI benefits receive about $1,150 a month; for many, it is their primary or only income source. Obtaining SSDI benefits is often a complicated and confusing process.
Despite its extraordinarily positive impact on the lives of millions of disabled U.S. workers, most of us actually know little about how the Social Security Disability Insurance program works. To qualify for SSDI benefits, an applicant must establish a sufficient and recent work history. When disabled workers in Southern California apply for SSDI benefits, they almost always require the assistance of an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer.
An SSDI applicant must have sufficient work credits and a long-term or permanent disability that prevents the applicant from performing any type of work. A disability applicant will also encounter confusing – sometimes baffling – phrases and language that a disability attorney can explain. For example, when the SSA refers to an applicant’s “Date Last Insured” (or “DLI”), SSA is referring to the last work quarter in which the applicant met disability insured status requirements. In most cases, disabled individuals will qualify for Social Security disability benefits if they worked five out of the ten years immediately prior to the onset of the disability.
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO RECEIVE SSDI BENEFITS?
In fact, in order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance, you must pass the “recent work” test, which means that you must have worked for at least five of the immediately previous ten years, or more precisely, at least twenty of the previous forty quarters. The rules are a bit different for those who are under the age of 30, who may not have worked long enough to meet the standard requirements.
To qualify for SSDI benefits, most SSDI applicants will need from twenty to forty credits (five to ten full years of work) with at least twenty credits earned in the ten-year period immediately before the onset of the disability. The number of credits needed increases with age, so workers who are ages 31 to 42 will need at least twenty credits; workers who are ages 43 to 62 require one additional credit for each year of age; and those aged 62 and up need forty credits. About 80 percent of SSDI benefit recipients are age 45 or older.
For most individuals, the SSA will look back ten years – the “look back period” – from the date that the applicant filed a disability claim to determine an individual’s Date Last Insured. Understand that the date that the disability applicant actually stops working because of the disability is not the DLI. The SSA is interested only in the ten-year period immediately prior to the date of the application.
HOW IS A DLI DETERMINED?
Thus, an applicant’s DLI depends on the date that person stopped working at a job that pays into the Social Security fund through FICA taxes. For example, if you stopped working five years ago today, your DLI is today. If you stopped working four years ago today, your DLI would be a year from today. If you stopped working six years ago today, the DLI was one year ago today. But it is imperative for applicants to understand that, just as an auto accident must occur before your auto insurance expires if you want to file a claim, your disability onset must occur before the date you were last insured. Otherwise, you are not eligible for SSDI benefits.
Therefore, in most cases, if you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance after your DLI has passed, you will need to prove that the onset of your disability happened before your DLI. The only exception to this rule is if you received a “protective filing date” prior to filing your disability application, and if the protective filing date falls before your DLI, then you will remain qualified for benefits.
Many persons’ disabilities are not caused by a singular event that happens on a single day. Thus, determining a disability onset date can be difficult, and medical evidence will be required to establish an onset date. Once determined, if your onset date is before your DLI, you will still have to satisfy the recent work requirement, but the look back period will start with your disability onset date.
For example, if you stopped working six years ago after being disabled in a traffic accident, but you did not apply for Social Security Disability Insurance until today, the ten-year look back period begins when you stopped working six years ago. As long as you worked for five years – at least twenty quarters – in the period from sixteen years ago until six years ago, you are insured for SSDI.
WHAT IF A DISABLED WORKER IS INELIGIBLE FOR SSDI?
If you file a disability claim subsequent to your Date Last Insured and you cannot prove that your disability onset date came before your DLI, you still may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, provided that your current income and assets meet the program’s requirements. The Date Last Insured is not pertinent to SSI qualifications. SSDI and SSI are different and distinct disability benefit programs, but they have one thing in common. Both programs entail a lengthy and complicated application procedure.
Confused? That is to be expected, and you’re only reading about the disability application process – not yet actually applying. It’s the reason that so many disabled workers in Southern California turn to an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer for help. However, if you are disabled and you are unable to work, an experienced disability lawyer can explain more details and guide you through the entire process – from the first application through the first benefit check. It can take some time, however, until your first benefits arrive, so if you are a disabled worker, call an experienced disability attorney and get the process started now.
Was Your Claim Denied?
No matter what stage of an application process a person might be in, whether an application has yet to be filed or if one has already been denied, Tony Adderley can speak with applicants and provide sound legal advice on the steps that the applicant should take in order to keep moving forward with recovering benefits and coverage owed. Claims are denied for a number of reasons. Applicants often fill out the form incorrectly and are denied based solely on this fact, which could have easily been avoided if you worked with an attorney. Your claim may also be denied if it is determined that your injury is not serious enough to receive benefits. Having a disability can severely impact your ability to earn money and support yourself, so don’t delay when it comes to contacting an attorney for assistance with submitting a claim. The sooner that you call an attorney for help, the sooner your claim can be submitted and you can be approved for Social Security disability benefits.
Filling for Disability
As a disability and Social Security lawyer, Attorney Tony Adderley has encountered many situations where a client has inadvertently done things that had an adverse impact on their disability case. So Attorney Adderley has authored an ebook: Six Ways to Not Mess-up Your Disability Case. In this ebook, he explores the importance of gathering sufficient medical evidence and when (and when not to file a new disability benefits application. You’ll also learn why it’s so important to prepare for your medical examination and resolve any and all substance abuse issues that may arise. Additionally, Attorney Adderley explores why you should seek an early resolution to your case, along with how failure to review your hearing file could subsequently present roadblocks later in the case. With these tips and help from a qualified disability attorney like Tony Adderley, you’ll be well on your way to getting the Social Security disability benefits that you deserve! Check out Six Ways to Not Mess-up Your Disability Case today!
Mistakes When Filling
As a workers’ compensation and Social Security lawyer, Attorney Tony Adderley routinely encounters cases where errors and mistakes result in an unfair and unfavorable ruling on your Social Security case. So Attorney Adderley has created a video series, exploring some of the most common legal mistakes that can result in a less-than-favorable decision in your case, from missing medical records and accurate credibility determinations, to substantial evidence rules and consideration of prescription medication side effects. In Attorney Tony Adderley’s video series, you’ll learn about some common mistakes and how a qualified Social Security lawyer can help you avoid an unfair decision in your case. Contact Attorney Adderley’s Los Angeles law offices today by calling 310-507-9948.
Let Us Fight For You
If you have experienced an unfavorable decision appeal or are unsure about whether or not you would qualify for Social Security disability benefits, attorney Tony Adderley can help you determine whether or not you should file a claim. The Social Security Administration has two primary requirements that have to be met in order to qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits. To receive benefits, you must have worked in a job that was covered by Social Security, meaning you were contributing part of your earned wages to Social Security. The second requirement is that you have an injury which will prevent you from working for at least on year. Unfortunately, even if you meet both of these requirements, you will face countless obstacles before you receive the disability benefits that you deserve. Not every person that qualifies will be approved for benefits, which is just one of the many reasons why you need to hire Tony Adderley, an experienced Los Angeles Social Security lawyer.
THE TONY ADDERLEY SCHOLARSHIP – $1,000
The Tony Adderley Scholarship was created to provide an undergraduate or graduate college student with student government leadership experience with funds to help pay for his or her college education. It is Mr. Adderley’s hope that this $1,000 award will help a highly deserving college student to fulfill his or her educational dreams. Therefore he is delighted to offer deserving applicants the Tony Adderley Scholarship, which began accepting applications until June 1,2017.
This is a $1,000 annual scholarship which can be won by an undergraduate or graduate student in any field of study. We always strongly encourage minorities to apply for immediate consideration.
Scholarship founder Tony Adderley adds this: “My law firm is particularly interested in applicants who have a background in student government, especially those who have officer experience in student government. I encourage all well-qualified applicants to submit their applications today.”
Would you like to be considered for this $1,000 scholarship? Please review the following requirements:
- You must either be a United States citizen or permanent resident.
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You are a part time or full time student in an accredited, US undergraduate or graduate university. Community college students also accepted.
- You did not have a salary higher than $35,000 in 2016.
- You possess an active email address.
Essay Topics & Submission Types
All applicants for this $1,000 scholarship must complete an essay in one of these areas:
- How has serving in student government readied you for a successful college and/or professional career?
- What was the most challenging situation you dealt with in student council – either personal or professional – and how did you resolve it?
- What was a particularly difficult problem in student government and how did you use your leadership skills to solve it?
- What are some strategic methods of making a college education affordable for everyone?
- What have you done to be a positive influence on someone younger than you and how do you think that will affect his or her future?
How to Submit Your Scholarship Application
The competition for this $1,000 scholarship is intense, so it is important that you follow these submission instructions:
- The essay must be 100% your own work and should pass Copyscape.
- It must contain no grammatical or spelling errors.
- It must be provided in a Word document with 12 point serif type.
- It must be at least 1,000 words and no more than 3,000 words.
Video Essay Alternative
Are you more verbally and visually oriented? We encourage students who wish to be creative with their essay to submit a video version if they like. Please submit your video to the email address provided later on this page. Your video should have high video and audio quality, and range from 3-10 minutes long.
Winner Selection & Recognition
The winner of the Tony Adderley Scholarship will be chosen within a week of the submission deadline.
Winning a scholarship is a big deal, and we will be sure to share the news of your achievement on our website. We will feature your name, biography and photograph.
We would like to stress how important it is that we are featuring you on our corporate website. Our site receives many thousands of visitors each year and having your profile featured prominently there is a major asset – one that you should utilize fully! Share the link to this webpage on your social media channels. Add the link onto your resume under Achievements. Be sure to mention the scholarship web link on your future college and job applications, as well.
Please submit your application before June 1, 2017.
If you have further questions about the scholarship, we would like you to send us an email to: [email protected] Use this as your subject line please: “Tony Adderley Scholarship Inquiry.” Thank you for your interest and we look forward to your participation.
How To Apply
Please review the application instructions below:
- Review eligibility requirements.
- Choose a topic for your written or video essay.
- Complete the essay and submit it to the email below.
- Please share your written or video submission on social media.
- Check your email address often after the contest closes; we will inform the winner by email.
- All essay submissions for this $1,000 scholarship should be sent to the following email address: [email protected] Please give us your name, age, telephone number, and city/state of residence.
Commonly Asked Questions
How will I receive the scholarship funds if I win?
We will send the winner the scholarship by mail.
Am I allowed to apply several times?
No. You are only allowed to apply once.
I found an error in submission, can I re-send?
Yes, but only once, and it must be received by June 1, 2017 at 12:00AM EST.
My e-mail doesn’t work, can I still win the scholarship?
Unfortunately, no. To win this scholarship, you must have an e-mail.
If you have any additional questions, e-mail them to: [email protected] with the subject “Tony Adderley Scholarship Inquiry.”