Reasons to Speak with a Disability Attorney
If your ability to work has been reduced because of a medical condition, filing for Social Security benefits may help get you the financial relief you need. Payment for Social Security disability benefits varies, but it may be enough to keep food on your table and a roof over your head.
Even after you apply for disability benefits, it may take months or even years to receive benefits. Whether you’re just starting the application process or are reeling from an unfair rejection of your claim, talk to a law firm that specializes in disability applications.
Understanding the Benefit Options
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides payments to people with disabilities who have a recent work history. This insurance is paid into by workers nationwide, so it may be challenging to qualify if you have little or no work history. You may also have trouble qualifying if you were only employed in temporary or seasonal work.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) gives payments to people with disabilities who have low annual income and little wealth to rely on. Although this benefit is open to anyone regardless of work history, it can still be difficult and time-consuming to qualify. Even if you are eligible, the SSA may try to only give you partial benefits despite evidence that you deserve more.
Both programs require extensive medical documentation, work history information, and other documents to confirm your eligibility. In some cases, you’ll only be eligible for one program, which means you should work closely with a Social Security attorney to win your case.
Assessing Your Ability to Work
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is strict about its consideration of disability levels. Even workers who use a wheelchair might not be considered disabled if they can sit upright at a desk and work for a full day.
An attorney can help you determine the types of medical tests and evidence you’ll need to submit to the SSA and ensure you are fully prepared to win the maximum amount of benefits possible. The SSA relies on a list of impairments known as a Blue Book that dictates which disabilities are eligible for partial or full benefits. Your attorney can help you make sure your formal diagnoses match at least one entry in this book.
You should always work with a disability lawyer who has extensive experience in dealing with medical records. An attorney who doesn’t specialize in personal injury and disability cases may overlook key areas of your application.
Filing Critical Paperwork
All disability paperwork must be filed correctly and completely to avoid delays or an unnecessary appeal. Although the forms look straightforward at first glance, they contain specific legal and medical jargon that can be difficult for families to handle on their own.
You may also need to include copies of settlements and workers’ compensation benefits you have received since becoming injured or disabled. An attorney can help you obtain new copies of this documentation if you have misplaced yours.
SSDI disability claims may be subject to a five-year time limit based on how long ago you last worked. An attorney can file paperwork for you quickly if you are running out of time because of this initial time limit or other appeals-related administrative deadlines imposed by the SSA.
Winning Appeals and Hearings
Although it’s best to win your disability benefits on your first try, it’s sadly common for families to go through multiple rounds of appeals to win. Even if the extent of your medical conditions is clear, whoever reviews your claim may arbitrarily decide that evidence is missing.
There are four levels to the appeals process, but applicants have a meager chance of winning approval on the first step, which is simply a reconsideration by the same person who considered the original claim. The chances of winning on appeal increase with each subsequent level in the appeals process.
The reconsideration step can take several months, and it can be frustrating for applicants to wait that long. However, the chance of winning your disability hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is significantly higher than winning on reconsideration during the previous appeal step.
Your disability attorney helps you reevaluate your case and add evidence as needed based on the reasons provided for each rejection. By attending required doctor appointments and communicating with your disability attorney, you increase your chances of eventually qualifying for Social Security benefits.
A Compassionate and Committed Team
Even the preliminary evaluation stage of your disability application can seem overwhelming if you’re dealing with doctor appointments and other everyday obstacles. A no-obligation consultation with our law firm can help you decide if you need an attorney’s help.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., is proud to serve Michigan residents who need assistance with their disability claims. Whether you are disabled because of a work accident or a chronic condition that has worsened over time, we want you to understand the options available to you and help you win. We have extensive experience in disability claims and dealing with the SSA rules and bureaucracy.
We handle disability cases with compassion and care, and our nurse attorney Eileen Kroll evaluates your case’s medical aspects. Contact our team as soon as possible at 1-888-MICH LAW (1-888-642-4529) to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.