If a disability prevents you from working, Social Security Disability (SSD) can provide the financial stability you need. While applying for SSD benefits takes time and effort, there are several steps you can take to make the process smoother and get the most out of the SSD program.
What Can I Do to Maximize My SSD Benefits If I Can’t Work?
If you can’t work due to a disability, you can take steps to apply for and maximize your SSD benefits, including:
- Apply for benefits as soon as possible: Some individuals wait to apply for disability because they think they can manage without the benefits or are afraid they’ll be denied. However, this approach could cost you because SSA will only provide retroactive benefits for a short period before you are awarded benefits. The sooner you apply for benefits, the sooner you can start receiving them if approved.
- Review your Social Security statement: The Social Security Administration (SSA) lets you set up a free online Social Security account where you can receive an annual Social Security statement that summarizes your work history and potential benefits you can receive. Your SSDI benefits are based on your earnings history, so if your account is missing information, your potential benefits may be lower than they should be. Inform your lawyer if your statement appears to be missing information.
- Ensure you are receiving the cost-of-living adjustment: Periodically, the SSA issues an upward adjustment in benefits based on the increased cost of living. This increase can sometimes be substantial. For example, the 2023 cost-of-living adjustment increased benefits by 8.7 percent. These adjustments are supposed to be automatic and are typically included starting with beneficiaries’ payments in January following the adjustment. If your benefits do not increase, contact the SSA to ensure you are receiving the increased amount.
- Check if you are receiving all benefits for which you qualify: You or your family may qualify for more than one type of benefit. Eligible family members who may qualify for SSDI benefits may include a spouse, ex-spouse, child, disabled child, widow or widower, or a disabled adult child who was disabled before the age of 22. Depending on your age and circumstances, it may be preferable for you to delay claiming one benefit until you reach a certain age. If you are disabled and married to a disabled spouse, you may qualify for spousal Social Security disability benefits, as well as your own disability benefits. A disability lawyer can review your situation and determine which benefits you qualify for, as well as the time that is best to claim these benefits in order to maximize your SSD benefits.
- Have your benefits recalculated: There are certain times when the SSA must recalculate your benefits, which could result in an increase in benefits if a previous computation underestimated your benefits. For example, you may have previous earnings that were not credited.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Receive as Much in Benefits as Possible?
The most important step you can take to maximize your benefits is to work with an experienced SSD benefits lawyer in Michigan who understands the system and how to maximize your SSD benefit payments. An experienced lawyer can ensure that your application is completed correctly and the SSA is informed about changes in your status. A lawyer can also help gather strong evidence to prove your claim.
Here are some more ways an attorney can help:
- Explaining whether you meet eligibility requirements: Knowing which criteria you must meet to qualify for SSD benefits is essential. An attorney can review the requirements and assess your eligibility for benefits.
- Evaluating the laws that apply to your case: SSD laws often change, so staying current on all relevant regulations is critical. A lawyer can identify and respond to any legal changes that could affect your case.
- Helping you file your claim correctly: Errors in paperwork can lead to costly delays in receiving benefits. A lawyer can help you fill out forms correctly and make sure your application is error-free.
- Gathering evidence: An attorney can gather medical evidence and other documentation to support your claim.
- Representing you in court: If your claim is denied, your lawyer can prepare you for and represent you at hearings.
- Manage the appeals process: If your initial claim is denied, an attorney can file an appeal and prepare you for additional proceedings.
- Making personalized recommendations: Your lawyer can analyze your particular situation and make personalized recommendations. For example, if you are considering attempting to return to work, your lawyer can advise whether it is a good idea, as well as explain SSA programs that can protect your benefits while you make such attempts.
More Than $3k/Month in SSD Benefits Possible If You Can’t Work
It may be possible to claim more than $3,000 a month in Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits if you cannot work, based on your work history. When you apply for benefits, the SSA considers factors like your age, health condition, education, and past earnings to determine how much you can collect in benefits.
Contact Disability Law Group Today to See How We Can Help
At Disability Law Group, we understand how difficult it is to manage life with a disability. Our experienced disability attorneys are ready to review your case and provide personalized solutions to maximize your SSD benefits. Contact us today for a free consultation with a Michigan SSD benefits attorney.