How a Disability Attorney Will Handle Your Social Security Claim
Wherever you are in the Social Security application process, an attorney can help you get the benefits you need.
Over half of all first-time applicants making a social security disability claim are denied, and over 90% of all applicants seek help from an attorney referral service or advocacy organization at some point in the application process.
Why will you need help getting the benefits you need? Unless you are a disability attorney yourself, there are three key things that a social security disability lawyer can do better than you.
If you are unable to work because of a medical condition, you may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are several government programs available to provide you with these benefits if you meet the medical, financial, and other criteria. The two largest programs are:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) is funded by workers, employers, and self-employed people through the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax. If you have worked long enough and paid your Social Security taxes, SSDI may cover you.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits based on financial need, and not based on your work history. Many states, including Michigan, know that the cost of living is higher than the maximum amount of SSI benefits a person can get. That’s why Michigan gives an extra payment to people who get SSI.
The bureaucracy is real. Applying for social security benefits is complicated, and for a layperson, it can be extremely confusing and frustrating. When you have a social security disability attorney or advocate at your side, you can be sure you are gathering all the evidence and records you need to prove that you meet the specified criteria to receive benefits.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is ready to support you in interviews or hearings, assist you in obtaining all medical records you need, prepare witnesses for a hearing, question witnesses, and initiate an appeals process if your application is denied.
To qualify to receive social security disability benefits, medical evidence is extremely important. This evidence includes all medical records from the hospital, your doctors, and other providers. Sometimes it might include formal statements from other medical professionals involved in your treatment and care.
Medical records that supply a complete, accurate picture of your medical condition can, in some cases, eliminate the need for a government “disability examiner” to request additional medical information before making a decision. In short, if your medical records are in order you should receive a timely response on your claim.
The best medical records for SSD and SSI disability claims are current records, and records that show how your condition limits your ability to work. Also, to prove your claim and to prove when your disability began, you need older records, too, from the onset of your disability. Proving your disability as far back as possible can have a dramatic effect on how much back pay you get. However, you also need at least some records that are not older than 90 days.
Lawyers and advocates can help you fully understand the details of your Social Security disability application, and assemble the evidence you need to make a successful application for benefits, and/or win your case in a hearing before a judge.
The professionals at Cochran Kroll & Associates, P.C. are familiar with Michigan and federal disability laws, SSI regulations, and all the details involved in gathering evidence and successfully compiling your disability application. Some of our clients have questions about how other income could impact their SSI disability benefits. We are prepared to explain these impacts and help you make decisions — with the goal of maximizing your benefits.
You may only think to hire a lawyer when your claim is denied and you are exploring the appeals process. There are four reasons a claim may be denied.
- Criminal Record. In most cases, the applicant’s criminal record has no bearing on the ability to collect SSI benefits. However, if the disability manifested during the commission of a felony, or developed in a correctional facility, or is associated with parole or probation violations, then benefits may be denied.
- Drug or Alcohol Addiction. If the applicant has a drug or alcohol addiction, and addiction is a key contributing factor in the claimed disability, the applicant is not eligible for benefits.
- Failure to Comply. This type of denial is the most common and is about not submitting requested medical records or other documentation. If SSA requested an examination with one of their doctors, for example, and you missed the appointment or refused the consultative examination, then you may be denied.
- Fraud. If the applicant lied on the application in order to receive benefits, they will not only be denied benefits but potentially prosecuted for fraud as well.
An attorney can help you file a request for reconsideration and represent you during hearings, prepare you and other witnesses to testify before a judge at these hearings, present new evidence, and argue your case. There are further appeal options after this initial request for reconsideration if your claim for benefits is denied again.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. has extensive expertise in the Social Security disability claims process. We are local and know many of the doctors, SSI case examiners, and judges who will be reviewing your disability claim.
You don’t need any money upfront. We aren’t paid unless you receive your benefits.
Contact us at your convenience for a meeting to discuss your situation and determine the next steps.
Contact us toll-free at (866)-466-9912 or use our convenient online contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation.