Obtaining government benefits is typically a difficult process whichever state you live in. Michigan is a good example of how many hoops you have to jump through in order to receive SSD/SSI government benefits. Both programs benefit disabled individuals with an amount of money and a form of insurance, but Social Security Disability (SSD) is intended for people who have earned “work credits” before becoming disabled. Supplemental Security Income (SSI), in contrast, is for disabled individuals who may never have been able to work and have significantly limited resources with little or no income.
In Michigan, nearly 5 percent of the state’s six million residents receive SSD and 50,000 more Michigan residents are waiting in line for their cases to be evaluated. The reason for the backlog is that 65 percent of initial disability claims are denied by Michigan Social Security Offices. If you are either beginning the application process or already in the trenches of an appeal awaiting a hearing date, Disability Law Group, located in Troy, is here to help.
Our disability attorneys are experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate. Moreover, we deal exclusively with disabled clients and their loved ones. Whether you are personally challenged by a disability or have a spouse, partner, child, parent or sibling who is, you can put your trust in our team. We will fight zealously to get you the benefits you need and will always treat you with respect. We are proud to deliver the compassionate service you deserve.
Advantages to Bringing Disability Law Group to the Table
Dealing with large government agencies like the Social Security Administration (SSA) is frustrating at the best of times. When suffering from a major disability due to a congenital defect, injury or disease and/or dealing with financial distress, the paperwork and phone calls needed can be absolutely overwhelming. From our many years of experience in the field strictly specializing in disability benefits, we are well aware that it can sometimes feel as if the government is trying to save money by putting people through the maze of bureaucracy to get to the needed funds and assistance.
Each of our disability attorneys has an in-depth, comprehensive understanding of the way disability law works. We know what is needed to shortcut and streamline the seemingly endless process. We will take as much of the burden off your shoulders as we can by assisting you in completing the many necessary forms and gathering the relevant medical, employment, and financial records. Disability Law Group will help you throughout every stage from the application through appeals and in court. Our attorneys have a track record for success and have received countless awards for our work in the courtroom and in the community.
More than that, we are dedicated to giving you personal attention and to being responsive to your questions and concerns. The last thing you should have to worry about is how your case is being handled behind the scenes and to feel out of the loop about the process. Your focus should be on your health, treatment, and your family.
If you are appealing an SSD or SSI denial and we can prove that your case is one of extreme hardship such that you are presumed to be disabled by an easily verifiable condition (like blindness or amputation for example), our attorneys may be able to obtain “presumptive disability” for you. This finding may enable you to receive payments while waiting for the otherwise lengthy and complicated process to be fully completed.
The Long Stairway to Receiving Benefits
As you read the following, you will see why you need a strong disability lawyer in order to receive the benefits you are entitled to. In most cases, you will have to have a hearing before an administrative law judge in order to obtain disability benefits. There are many offices throughout the state which schedule such hearings; they are known as Offices of Hearings Operations (OHO).
Since your hearing will be scheduled at the office nearest to where you live and some offices are much busier than others, it can take anywhere from 400 to over 700 days for your hearing to be scheduled. Once the hearing takes place and the record closes, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will make a decision on your case. Many Michigan Social Security Disability and/or Supplemental Security Income applicants will have to wait well over 2 years before ever receiving payment. Our experienced disability attorneys will do everything we can to accelerate the process, ensuring a full and fair outcome.
Steps in the Appeals Process
While the following steps may seem unending, if your first application is denied, you can count on our attorneys to lead you through them as quickly and smoothly as possible. We not only work hard to ensure your appeal is properly tended to, developing your file for your day in court, but we also draft the necessary forms specific to your condition(s) to help bolster your case by highlighting your limitations ahead of time. In some case, this may involve one medical source statement, or more, from your doctors and specialists. Our goal is to put each of our clients in the best position to receive the benefits they deserve.
Step One: Submitting an Appeal or Request for Reconsideration
This step requires completing an SSA form (Request for Reconsideration). We will take this step for you promptly because it must be completed within 60 days from the date of your denial. Fortunately, the SSA has recently improved its efficiency in checking on the status of your appeal which may now also be done online.
Step Two: The Hearing
If we are denied after Reconsideration (remember, this is extremely common), we can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) in writing or by completing a form known as a Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge. Again, the hearing must be requested within 60 days of your notification of denial. If we are appealing a determination that your disability no longer exists – known as a Cessation of benefits – we will help you obtain new medical evidence supporting your ongoing disability. It is critically important to be mindful of any deadlines indicate on your decision. At Disability Law Group, we will continue to monitor any important deadlines for our clients and begin working up their file expeditiously and attentively.
If you are unable to make an appearance at the hearing, we can request that the ALJ make the decision on-the-record after examining all pertinent documents. This may benefit you in terms of any mobility or anxiety issues you may have, but this request depends on the facts of each case as no two cases are the same. Our experienced attorneys understand know what to look for an take a case-by-case approach every time. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail in articulating arguments on behalf of our clients to help them succeed.
Step Three: Appeals Council
If the ALJ’s decision is unfavorable (or, perhaps, only partially favorable), we can request that the Appeals Council review your case. This request is made in writing or by filling out another online form within 60 days of being notified of the hearing decision. In some cases, such as if the case is remanded from the United States District Court back to the ALJ and denied again, the deadline may be much sooner. As your disability attorneys, we will inform the Appeals Council of any new and material evidence relating to the period on or before the hearing decision. If the Appeals Council grants the review request, it may be returned to the ALJ (remanded) for another possible hearing or reversed entirely for a favorable outcome. If the case is denied at this level, there are additional appeal avenues.
Step Four: Federal Court
If the Appeals Council denies our request for review, our attorneys have the ability to help you file a civil action with the U.S. District Court nearest to you. Once again, you must be particularly mindful of any associated deadlines on your decision. The review of the U.S. District Court will result in one of three things:  sending the case back to the ALJ for a new hearing and a new decision or  issuing a directive that the agency award you benefits or  issuing a denial, upholding the ALJ’s decision. This level involves filing of motions, briefs or legal memorandum in support as well as additional deadlines to consider. This level also is more adversarial as there will be an opposing counsel filing their respective motions and briefs that may require a reply.
Contact Our SSI/SSD Appeals Lawyer
As you can see, appealing a decision in order to get SSD or SSI benefits can be a complicated and tedious process. Having a disability attorney who knows how to navigate the system is critical. Our attorneys will always stand up for your rights. We will work hard to ensure your paperwork isn’t passed over and all the necessary evidence is submitted. You can talk with one of our experienced attorneys for a free consultation regardless of where you are in the process to see how we can help you get the benefits you deserve. We can be contacted by phone, email or through our website form.