Social Security Disability
There are two kinds of social security benefits that you may be entitled to. Social Security Disability (SSD) is available to workers who have paid into the system for a period of time, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is basically a welfare benefit for those who have not worked and paid into the system.
Social Security Disability Benefits (SSD)
In order to be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits, you will generally need to have worked for ten of the last twenty work quarters. The more quarters that you have paid into the social security system over the past 5 years, the longer your eligibility period for SSD benefits will be. If you are awarded social security disability benefits, then you will also receive medicare benefits two years from the date of the date that you receive your first monthly payment. Social Security Disability benefits also pays dependent benefits for children until one month before your child's 18th birthday.
Exception for Young Disabled Children: Social Security Disability Benefits are also available to young disabled adults even if they have not paid into the system. If a child becomes disabled before age 18 and has not lived outside of his or her home and has not worked, then this person will be eligible for SSD benefits even though the person has not paid into the system.
Eligibility for benefits: You become eligible for benefits once you are unable or expected to be unable to work for one year. Therefore, since there are often delays in receiving benefits after application, we recommend that you apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled as soon as you experience an extended period of illness or injury. The application for benefits can be found online at www.ssa.gov. Or you can apply for social security benefits at a local social security office by calling 1-800-772-1213.
Determination of Whether A Person Is Disabled?
In order to receive SSD benefits, you must meet the required definition of disability: A claimant must have a physical or mental condition which is of such a severity, as demonstrated by substantial medical proof, that it prevents the person from performing his/her past work or other work generally available in the national economy. There is basically a five step evaluation process which is as follows: (i) Is the claimant gainfully employed, (ii) does the claimant suffer from a severe impairment which is expected to last 12 months or result in death? (iii) Does the claimant suffer from an impairment which meets or equals the severity as defined in the medical listing? (iv) Is the claimant able to perform past relevant work? (v) Is the claimant capable of performing other work generally available in the national economy?
Medical Vocational Guidelines are used in this process. If a person is under 50 years old, (a younger person ) he/she must be disabled from all employment generally available in the national economy. If a person is 50-54 years old ( closely approaching advanced age ) then the person is disabled if only capable of sedentary labor. If a person is 55-60 years old, ( Advanced Age ) then the person is disabled if only capable of sedentary or light labor. If a person is 60-64 years old ( Closely Approaching Retirement Age ) then the person is disabled if he cannot perform prior labor and if not possessing highly marketable skills.
There are regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that establish additional guidelines for certain conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, postural limitations, etc
Legal Representation---Do I need a Lawyer to Help me with my social security disability claim?
We believe that people who have been denied in their application for social security disability benefits should have a lawyer represent them in the appeals process. The attorney fee for such cases is governed by federal statute it is 25% of all past due disability income benefits or SSI benefits paid to the claimant and claimants dependents; or $6,000 or applicable maximum amount set by the commissioner of SSA pursuant to 42 USC 406 (a). The attorney fee is payable only if the decision of the SSA is favorable and the claim results in an award of past due benefits. THERE IS NO ATTORNEY FEE, IF WE ARE NOT SUCCESSFUL IN PROSECUTING YOUR CASE.
What if you are denied benefits?
If you are denied benefits, it is important that you contact an attorney immediately. An administrative appeal must be filed within 60 days from the date of the denial of benefits. The appeals process includes the following levels of appeal: Request for Reconsideration; Request for a hearing before an administrative law judge, request for review of hearing decision by the Appeals Council, and Judicial Review in Federal Court. The proper venue for bringing a federal lawsuit relating to a denial of social security disability benefits is the district where the claimant resides.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
This is a welfare benefit for those who have not paid into the social security withholding system. In order to be eligible for SSI benefits, you will have to meet a household income test. If you are awarded social security income benefits, then you will receive Medicaid (not Medicare) benefits immediately. SSI does not pay dependent child benefits on behalf of the SSI recipient, but it does pay SSI children s benefits on behalf of the child recipient.
Legal Representation---Do I need a Lawyer to Help me with my social security disability claim or Supplement Security Income Case?
Yes. We believe that people who have been denied in their application for social security disability benefits should have a lawyer represent them in the appeals process. The attorney fee for such cases is governed by federal statute it is 25% of all past due disability income benefits or SSI benefits paid to the claimant and claimants dependents; or $6,000 or applicable maximum amount set by the commissioner of SSA pursuant to 42 USC 406 (a). The attorney fee is payable only if the decision of the SSA is favorable and the claim results in an award of past due benefits. THERE IS NO ATTORNEY FEE, IF WE ARE NOT SUCCESSFUL IN PROSECUTING YOUR CASE.
Filing a claim on Social Security Disability can be a daunting task if one tries to undertake it themselves. The right representation can mean the difference between a denied claim and compensation. 70% of initial claims are denied. That is a cold hard statistic that hasn't gone down or up very much in the last few years and it isn't expected to in the near future. Educating oneself and the decision in representation is important when seeking to make a claim for social security. When to file, knowing why most people are denied, and understanding the cost of hiring legal counsel will increase ones chance of successfully filing for social security disability.
When it comes to the question of when to file, a lot of people mistakenly think their condition must be near death before they can file. This couldn't be further from the truth. File should be made if your condition is so bad you cannot work anymore or your condition limits your ability to work to the extent you cannot earn enough to gainfully support yourself. A claimant puts himself at a serious disadvantage by waiting too long to file.
To successfully file a claim it is important to know why so many claims are denied, to avoid the common mistakes. The most common reasons are unfamiliarity with the appeals process and a lack of proper medical documentation. By not having the right legal representation a claimant would be at a serious disadvantage. A lawyer will be able to navigate their client through the appeals process and gather the correct medical documents for the claim to be successful. Most claimants aren't familiar with medical terminology and recognizing the documents needed.
A lot of people opt to file the claim themselves for different reasons. Often claimants feel as though they cannot afford an Attorney. That is why understanding the cost is important in order to disprove some misconceptions. When you hire legal representation for your claim there is no out of pocket expense. Your representation will be paid up to 25% of your claim and no more than $6,000. If you receive $20,000 in back pay your representation will receive $5,000. Most people don't know that legal fees for representing social security claimants are regulated by the Social Security Administration. The attorney isn't paid until you have successfully won benefits.
The more a claimant knows about filing social security benefits the more likely they will be successful. Knowing when to file a claim and understanding the importance of legal representation will improve your chances of winning. By filing your claim at the right time you can maximize on the money you will get back. If you make the right choice in having representation you can avoid the common mistakes claimants make that end up getting them denied. Your representation will also be knowledgeable about your options with appeal, and be able to gather the proper medical documentation for your claim.
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