Social Security Disability Attorney Santa Barbara

Following the decline of your health, either through old age or because of a debilitating disability, you need financial assistance to make life easier. Social Security Income (SSI) benefits have increased since 1974. In 2019, 5.7 million new applicants were awarded Social Security benefits. SSI is a form of limited income provided to individuals who are disabled or over 65. 

Disabled children who are eligible for SSI can also apply for benefits. Unlike Social Security benefits, SSI is not solely based on your work history or that of a family member. You can learn more about the process from social security attorneys in Santa Barbara, California. Reach out to Pisegna and Zimmerman for a free consultation.

Am I Eligible For Social Security Benefits?


To qualify for SSI benefits, you must be 65 or older with enough work credits. Otherwise, you can apply if you are legally disabled. If you were born after the year 1929 and became disabled at age 31 through 42, you would need 20 work credits. From 44 up to 62, the number of work credits required increases by two credits every two years.

Before the age of 24, you must have a minimum of six work credits within three years before your disability begins. If you’re 24 to 31, you may qualify if you have work credits after working half the time between the age of 21 and when you became disabled. For those aged 31 and older, you need to have the minimum number of 20 work credits within the 10 years that preceded your disability. 

To show that you are disabled, you must set an appointment with a qualified doctor who can medically examine you.

Why Can I Be Declined?

There are several reasons you might not meet the requirements for SSI benefits. For example, you may be above the income limit of eligibility. In 2021, that limit was $1,310 per month for non-blind individuals. Also, your disability must be severe enough that it deeply impairs your ability to work full time. If that isn’t the case, your disability should be serious enough that it lasts longer than 12 months. 

If your disability puts you at risk of death, this also makes you eligible. Another reason you may not meet the requirements is if the Disability Determination Services office is unable to find you or communicate with you regarding your application. You might also be declined if you refused to cooperate. When you don’t release your medical records to the Social Security Administration office, your claim will be declined. 

The SSA admin may need additional data about your disability and may need to reach out to your doctor to get more information. If you don’t follow the therapy recommended to you, you may also be denied disability benefits. This is because you’re required to comply with the recommended therapy from your health care practitioner. If you require surgery for a severe medical disorder, but you do not want to receive it, this can impact your ability to receive benefits. 

The only reasons you can receive benefits without following the prescribed recommendations are if you don’t have enough money to finance the treatments, another doctor disagrees with the recommended therapy, or are you have a religious belief that prohibits you from following the prescribed therapy. 

Generally, a criminal conviction will not bar you from receiving SSI benefits. If you were injured because you were committing a felony, this would make you ineligible for disability benefits surrounding that injury. Furthermore, if you applied and attempted to receive benefits by fraudulent means, then the Social Security Administration can terminate your benefits. Another reason you may be denied benefits is if your disability was caused by alcoholism or drug addiction. 

What Should I Do To Get Started?

If you believe you’re eligible, you can speak to our well-educated team with experience in filing SSI claims. This can save you time and protect you from making common errors on the application. Get additional direction from our law firm in Santa Barbara to help you through the process. For more information, call Pisegna and Zimmerman for a free consultation.

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