Social Security Disability (SSD) provides vital financial support to individuals and families who are unable to work due to a physical or mental impairment. Disability Law Group represents residents of Warren who need help applying for SSD or appealing an adverse decision made by the Social Security Administration (SSA). We put our considerable legal experience and skill to work in advocating for the rights of our clients.
Attempting to take on the disability system by yourself is no simple task. In fact, most initial applicants will have their social security disability claims rejected. But retaining a knowledgeable attorney will make a difference. Talk to our team today about your disability benefits.
What Does “Disability” Mean According To Social Security?
To qualify for social security disability benefits, an applicant must meet the SSA’s definition of “disability.” Temporary disability, for instance, falls short of this standard. For an individual to be considered disabled, he or she must be able to prove an inability to hold steady, gainful employment due to a disabling condition.
In addition, the SSA must have proof that your disability has either lasted, or is expected to last, for a year at least. Alternatively, the applicant can show that the disability will result in his or her death. On top of that, the applicant should be able to demonstrate that he or she cannot work a previous job or a new one because of the disability.
SSDI And SSI: Two Different Types Of Disability
Social security disability is not a single program, but actually includes two distinct ones: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both of these provide financial support to the disabled, but there are some important differences between them.
FICA deductions are taken from workers’ paychecks to finance SSDI. The amount of SSDI benefits for which an individual may be eligible therefore depends on how much work the individual does over the course of his or her life. The more work, the more work credits are earned, which translates into more SSDI. Before someone can be eligible for SSDI, he or she must work for at least five of the ten years preceding the disability. After receiving SSDI for two years, an individual can apply for Medicare benefits regardless of age.
The other disability program, SSI, is funded by general tax revenue. SSI recipients usually qualify for other forms of government assistance like food stamps and Medicaid. To apply for SSI, an applicant must meet these requirements:
- Be legally disabled or over the age of 65
- Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
- Have insufficient income and assets
Appealing A Disability Claim Denial
By some estimates, nearly 65% of initial applicants for SSD will have their claims denied. The reasons for denial vary, and include:
- Incomplete or missing forms
- Missing documentation, especially medical records
- Not following the doctor’s treatment advice
- Not meeting the government’s definition of “disabled”
- Earning too much money to qualify
- Prior claim denials
- Not following up on information requested by the SSA
Regardless of why your claim was denied, we understand the importance of winning disability benefits quickly so you can get the support you need. While some individuals will continue submitting new applications, this actually can work against you if Social Security continues denying those requests. The best way to respond to a claim denial is to appeal it.
Our law firm helps applicants appeal their decisions, which should be done within 60 days of receiving notice of the denial. There are four types of appeals:
Reconsideration. You have the option to request a reconsideration of your claim online. A reconsideration is a new and complete review by someone who did not handle the original application. SSA will not only take a look at the original evidence submitted but will also review any new evidence submitted.
You can request reconsideration for both medical and non-medical reasons. Non-medical reasons include a denial due to income, living arrangements, overpayments, or resources.
Hearing by an administrative law judge (ALJ). You may ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge, or ALJ, with a phone or video hearing option. This route is an option if the request for reconsideration is denied. An ALJ who took no part in the original review of your application will conduct the hearing.
Once you request an ALJ hearing, you will be sent a package of information about the process. You can choose to opt-out of a video hearing and appear in person at one of SSA’s hearing sites. Whether you choose to appear at the hearing via video or in-person will have no impact on your appeal.
During the hearing, a number of participants will appear: your attorney, the ALJ, a hearing reporter who will record and monitor the hearing, and other individuals as needed such as a vocational expert, medical expert, and/or interpreter.
Review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council can review a claim denial or a case dismissal made by an ALJ. The Appeals Council will look at all requests for reviews but may deny your claim if it finds that the denial was in accordance with disability rules and regulations. Upon reviewing your claim, the Appeals Council can either decide your case for you or send it back to the ALJ for further review.
Federal Court review. Applicants also have the option to file a civil suit in federal court. It is strongly encouraged that you deal with an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer. The sooner you have a disability advocate on your side, the better. A SSD attorney can help ensure you have the documents needed, and evidence submitted, to help you be approved as quickly as possible.
Contact Our Warren Social Security Disability Attorney
Are you frustrated by the disability application process? Have you recently had a claim denied by Social Security? Turn to the dedicated attorneys of Disability Law Group. We can discuss your eligibility for social security disability benefits and help you apply. We can also appeal a claim that was rejected. Contact us today.