Social Security Disability Information
The social security disability process can be complicated, by working with a social security disability lawyer we understand not only the process and evidence needed, but what it takes to win a claim.
You may be entitled to draw Social Security benefits if you are disabled. Social Security provides two programs which provide these benefits: Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There are medical and non-medical requirements for each program. The medical requirements are the same for both programs: you must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disability.”
For the disability insurance program, you must have sufficient work credits in the years preceding your disability in order to be covered or “insured” for the program. These credits are accrued by your Social Security contributions from your earnings being paid into the Social Security trust fund. Working “under the table” or for cash that is not reported to the IRS will not assist you in earning work credits. The Social Security Administration will calculate your work credits and determine your insured status; however, doing so is very complicated and you need an experienced attorney to help ensure that you are given the credit you deserve. It is NOT unheard of for Social Security to miscalculate claimants’ work credits.
For the SSI program, no work credits are required. However, there are limitations to the allowed amount of income and resources that you have. The rules about allowed income and resources are complicated and you should seek the advice of an experience attorney to help you determine if you qualify for benefits!
Unfortunately, most claims are denied at least once or twice before they are approved. After a denial, it is very important to appeal in a timely fashion. A delay in appealing a negative decision may cause you to have to start over and it may even cause you to lose benefits. The administrative process includes four stages, which are: Initial Application, Reconsideration, Hearing, and Appeals Council. At the initial application and reconsideration stages, Social Security will send your claim to a state agency to obtain medical evidence and make a decision regarding your disability. The hearing level is important because your chances of approval are better and you get to appear in front of a judge. If your case is denied at the hearing level, review at the Appeals Council is very technical and requires knowledge of the regulations governing the disability process. Having competent legal representation at each stage of the process is vital to give you the best chance of obtaining the benefits you may be entitled to!
Depending on the type of disability program that you are qualified to receive, you may be entitled to Medicare and/or Medicaid medical insurance benefits to help cover your healthcare costs. Find out today what you may be eligible for with a free case evaluation by one of our experienced attorneys!
Frequently Asked Questions
Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is program designed to help the disabled that do not have a work records or whose “insured” period has expired. The medical requirements for SSI are the same as those for the DIB program. However, there are additional non-medical requirements, such as limits on monthly income and limits on resources, that must be met in order to qualify. If you meet the requirements for SSI, then you are also eligible for Medicaid benefits to assist you with your healthcare costs.
The definition of disability requires that you must have a severe physical or mental impairment, or any combination of physical and mental impairments, that are severe enough to keep you from working for at least 12 month or that can be expected to result in death. These impairments must be well-documented by medical records of your treatment for your physical and mental conditions. Also, your impairments must keep you from being able to perform not only your past work, but also other work that is generally available in the economy.
If you want to file a child’s claim or a derivative claim, such as a Disabled Widow(er) or Disabled Adult Child claim, or other SSI claims not eligible for the online application, you must either call the toll-free number listed above or call or visit your local Social Security office.
Our office assists certain clients in filing their claims if they meet certain requirements. Call us today to find out if we can help you!
Each of these stages, initial application and reconsideration, take anywhere from 3 to 6 months, on average, to receive a decision.
If your case is denied at reconsideration, then you can request a hearing, where you will be able to appear in front of a judge. There is a great advantage to having a hearing as recent statistics show that your chances of having your claim approved are better after presenting your case to a judge. However, one disadvantage is that the wait time to get to the actual hearing is very long. Extended wait times are a national problem, and in some hearing offices, it can be over 24 months from the time you request a hearing until the time that you actually have a hearing.
If you are not successful at the hearing level, you can appeal your claim to the Appeals Council, and then on to Federal Court, if necessary.
You should obtain medical treatment for each and every condition that you have, whether physical or mental or both. The judge at a hearing cannot just go by your word of what is wrong with you – you must have medical evidence to support your claim! Get established with a primary care provider and get referrals to specialists, if needed. Tell your doctors exactly what is going on with you – how much pain you are in, how you are limited in your daily activities, etc. It can be difficult to go to the doctor if you don’t have insurance, but do the best you can. Go to free or low-cost clinics, apply for Medicaid . . . do whatever it takes. If you don’t get medical treatment, you are hurting yourself medically and financially.
Keeping our office informed if you get a new phone number, change address, or develop a new medical problem is extremely important. If we cannot get in touch with you, we cannot provide you with good representation. We want to know what is going on with you! Please let us know!
If, for some reason, you choose not to appeal to the Appeals Council, you can file a new claim. However, there are ramifications to doing so, such as the effect on your date of disability and the possible payments you would be able to collect.
The bottom line is that you need the services of an experienced attorney to advise you on what path is best for you. Contact Farmer & Morris Law today!
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