You have worked hard and paid Social Security (FICA) taxes to earn a Social Security benefit. If you become disabled, you may need to collect that income sooner than you had planned.


Social Security Old Age (Retirement) Benefits

You can collect this income as early as age 62 on a reduced basis, with full benefits available at age 65 or later based on birth year. Your spouse may be eligible for a benefit either based on his or her own earnings, or 50% of your benefit, whichever is greater.

In the event of your death, your spouse and eligible children can collect Social Security survivor benefits, in the amount of 100% of your amount. Even a divorced spouse can collect if the marriage lasted at least ten years.


Disability Benefits

If you or a loved one becomes disabled, Social Security disability benefits can begin at any age. To qualify you need to prove the following:

• You are unable to work at your current job,

• You are unable to work at any job for which you have the proper education, training and experience, and

• Your disability will last at least one year.

Applying for these benefits is time-consuming and complex. The Social Security Administration will interview you and demand extensive documentation such as your complete medical history, list of medications and laboratory test results. They will contact your hospital and doctors to get information directly.

Proving that you are fully disabled is a complicated process, and it is frustrating if your claim is denied. Even if your disability prevents you from working, the Social Security Administration may disagree and find you able to work, and therefore deny your application for benefits. You have the right to appeal the decision through a lengthy hearing process, but there is no guarantee of success.


Attorney Joseph W. Lehn Can Help

If your application for disability benefits is denied, an attorney experienced in Elder Law and Social Security can help you through the complex appeal process. Attorney Joseph W. Lehn, a Florida Social Security Attorney, has helped hundreds of disabled clients collect the benefits they deserve. Our staff, serving the Port Charlotte and Sarasota areas, will work closely with you to make sure that you receive the full benefits for which you are eligible, giving you and your family peace of mind.