For years you’ve paid into what seems like an elusive system of retirement benefits known as Social Security. Did you know that this system will also provide benefits if you become disabled? A Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) or a Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) claim may be made by anyone who believes they have suffered a disability that will keep them from working for a period of one year or more. Unfortunately, many of these claims are denied after their initial review by the Social Security Administration and an attorney’s assistance will become essential.
What is SSDI and SSI?
SSDI is the Social Security Program’s disability component program for people who have been employed for most of their life. Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured”.
SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, pays benefits based on financial need.
Am I eligible for social security benefits?
In order to be eligible to receive Social Security benefits, you must be able to prove that you are unable to participate in any “substantial gainful activity” as a result of any “medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” In layman’s terms, we must be able to prove that you are unable to work in any meaningful job as a result of a physical or mental problem that’s expected to last at least a year. In order to prove this, we have to be able to provide medical evidence.
What is the first step in applying for SSI or SSDI benefits?
The first step is to complete an application for disability benefits. This can be done at your local Social Security Office. You can also complete an online application here: https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib. Social Security also provides a handy online starter kit which will help you assemble all the information necessary to make the completion of the application process as easy as possible. The Online Starter Kit can be found here: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits_adult_eng.htm.
When do I need an attorney?
If you are one of the few fortunate applicants to succeed at this initial stage, you will not need legal assistance and will begin receiving Social Security benefits retroactive to the date of your application up to a period of six months. Unfortunately, most applicants are not successful at this initial stage. If the Social Security Administration issues a denial of your application, we will be able to assist you in filing a Request for Reconsideration and, if necessary, assist you at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
How does my attorney get paid?
When the Social Security Administration awards benefits to a claimant, attorney fees are normally set aside and separately paid by the Social Security Administration at 25% of the back-due benefit amount. This is a contingent fee arrangement which means that we only receive payment if we are successful in obtaining benefits for you. If we do not succeed in obtaining Social Security benefits on your behalf, you do not pay any legal fees.
To receive your free consultation, you can contact us at (406) 728-0810.