Social Security Disability Lawyers

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Social Security Disability (along with Supplemental Security Income) is a federal program designed to provide for people who become disabled and are no longer able to work. In order to eligible for Social Security Disability Income, or SSDI, you must have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from obtaining gainful employment and which is expected to last at least one year (12 months) or result in death, among other requirements.

In some instances, a person who files for SSDI benefits may have their claim denied—even when they are rightfully owed benefits. There are numerous reasons why this may occur. At Ashcraft & Gerel, we assist clients in Maryland and Virginia with all aspects of their SSDI claims, including appealing denied claims. Whether you need help filing your initial SSDI claim, ensuring you meet all deadlines for filing, appealing a denied claim, or seeking additional benefits, our Social Security Disability lawyers can help.

Conditions That Meet the Definition of “Disabled”

Social Security defines certain conditions as “disabling.” The full list of these conditions is available for view in the complete Listing of Impairments, also known as the “blue book.”

Some of these conditions include:

  • Back injuries
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Heart failure or coronary artery disease
  • Certain mental disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Various skin disorders
  • Cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders
  • Liver disease
  • Certain syndromes

Again, this list is not exhaustive. We recommend that you look through the blue book yourself or contact an attorney at our firm for more information on whether or not your injury/condition qualifies as a “disability” according to the Social Security Administration.

Additionally, even if you have a condition that is not listed in the blue book, you may still be eligible for SSDI benefits if you have an injury or condition that is deemed “medically equivalent” to a condition listed in the blue book.


Social Security Disability is different from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in a number of key ways. While both are federal programs meant to assist people who are unable to work, the qualification processes for each program are vastly different.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Income, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have earned the appropriate work credits. In other words, you must have worked for a certain period of time, during which time you made contributions to Social Security in the form of taxes.
  • You must not be 65 years old or older.
  • You must have an illness/injury/condition that qualifies as a “disability” according to the Social Security Administrationor an illness/injury/condition that is equivalent to one of the listed disabilities.

Additionally, there is a five-month waiting period before you can start receiving SSDI benefits. Various factors are involved in determining how much you may be able to receive in compensation, as well as the duration of your SSDI payments.

In contrast, you do not need to have earned any work credits in order to be eligible for SSI. This program is designed to assist those who have a disability, whether physical or cognitive, that has prevented them fromever obtaining gainful employment. To qualify, you will need to fall below certain income thresholds.

Contact Ashcraft & Gerel for a Free Consultation

Our Social Security Disability lawyers have decades of experience representing injured and disabled workers throughout Maryland and Virginia. In addition to helping clients with SSDI claims, we assist injured workers in all types of workers’ compensation matters. If your disabling injury occurred at work or while you were carrying out duties covered in the scope of your employment, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.


Ashcraft & Gerel can meet you at home, in the hospital, or at one of our office locations.