social security disability

Obtaining Social Security Benefits After a Denial

You applied for Social Security disability benefits, submitted all of your documentation, and have now received the dreaded denial letter in the mail. The first step: don’t panic. Well over half of SSDI applications are initially rejected, so a denial does not mean that you don’t qualify for benefits. In fact, a denial often means that you just haven’t provided enough documentation. This isn’t the time to give up. It’s time to figure out what your next step is and how you can get one step closer to receiving disability benefits.

Talking to a disability attorney can help you make the most of this time and avoid further delays. Schedule a consultation with a reputable attorney in your local area today.

Figuring Out Why You Were Denied

The first step is to figure out why you were denied. In the majority of cases, it isn’t that you aren’t “disabled enough.” For most people, it’s a matter of not providing enough proof of their disabilities.

The Social Security Administration is extremely thorough in their analysis of applications. If they can see with a quick glance that yours doesn’t have enough paperwork or documentation of your disability, they will either request more information or deny the application outright. This isn’t your sign to give up, it’s your sign to go back over your application and figure out how to make it stronger.

People often underestimate how much documentation the SSA wants. Anything that proves the extent of your disability, how it affects your daily life, and how it keeps you from working is relevant to them. It may seem unnecessary to provide documentation from multiple specialists when all of the documentation largely says the same thing, but confirmation of your disability from multiple medical professionals is actually very helpful to your case.

Going Through the Appeals Process

After your application has been denied, you have the chance to appeal it. Check your paperwork carefully—the appeals deadline is often quite close, so you either have to rush to meet that deadline or request an extension from the SSA. If you request an SSA, this gives you more time to meet with a disability attorney and take your time putting together a strong application file. If you let the appeals deadline pass without requesting an extension or submitting your appeal, you have to start the process over again.

Strengthening Your Application

How can you strengthen your application? In general, you want to provide more information. Go through your application in detail and try to look at it through the eyes of someone who has never met you, seen what your work entails, or seen how you get through daily life. Does your paperwork paint the picture of someone whose disability keeps them from working, or does it paint a vague picture of someone with a disability who may or may not still be able to work? You may worry about overwhelming the SSA with paperwork and medical records, but don’t. The more information they have, the easier it is for them to analyze your application and make an informed decision.

How an Attorney Can Help

This is also an excellent time to reach out to a disability attorney if you have not already hired one to help you with your application. An attorney that works exclusively on disability claims knows exactly what the SSA looks for, what a complete and thorough application looks like, and what leads to applications getting denied. They’ll also be aware of any recent changes in how the SSA works and how that may affect your application.

When you work with an experienced attorney, they can turn a critical eye to your SSDI application and uncover any gaps that may give the SSA pause. From there, they can advise you on what documentation you may need for a more thorough application. This takes a lot of the burden off of your shoulders and can make the entire process much less stressful.

Reach out to a skilled and knowledgeable Social Security Disability attorney in your local area today.

When Is the Right Time to Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer

When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), chances are your application is going to get denied. An average of 63% of disability claims are denied, and only 2% and 9% are approved at the reconsideration and hearing levels. While this may sound discouraging, there is a solution: hire a Social Security disability lawyer.

By learning about the SSDI and SSI application process, as well as figuring out the right time to hire a Social Security disability lawyer to help you, you will have a much better chance of receiving benefits.

Applying for Benefits

When you apply for SSDI, you’re going to have to show that you have been out of work for at least 12 months, or you will be out of work for at least 12 months. You also cannot switch to another line of work. You’ll have to state your qualifying disability as well as provide the necessary proof based on the condition you have.

The Social Security Administration’s Blue Book lists all the covered disabilities as well as the requirements of proof for each. In general, proof could include your medical records, test results, doctors’ notes, and testimonials from people who are familiar with your condition.

To apply for SSI, you’ll need to show that you are eligible based on your situation. SSI is for anyone who is aged (65 and older), blind, or disabled, and has limited income. You’ll need to provide your proof of income such as your tax returns, along with an adult disability report and medical evidence that can prove you have a qualifying condition.

Why Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer?

The truth of the matter is that applying for Social Security disability benefits is complicated, confusing, and overwhelming. Many times, people get denied simply because they didn’t properly fill out their application. They may have left out details about their condition, for instance, or they didn’t provide enough proof of their disability.

When you’re already dealing with your disability, you may not have the time or energy to go through this complex process on your own. A Social Security Disability lawyer can help you with every step of the process and ensure you have a better chance of receiving benefits. They are experienced with this process and know what works. And if you get denied, they know how to appeal it and hopefully get you approved the second time around.

When to Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer

The right time to hire a Social Security Disability lawyer is before you apply for benefits. Then, you’ll know that your application is going to be as strong as possible and everything on it is correct.

If you’ve already been denied for benefits after submitting an application on your own, you can still hire a disability lawyer to help you with the reconsideration and hearing stages. However, keep in mind that you only have 60 days to respond. If that time has passed, you’ll need to hire a lawyer to help you do the application process all over again. There is no limit on the number of times you can apply.

Also, if you are due for a CDR review of your social security benefits, then you will likely benefit greatly from consulting an experienced attorney.

What to Look for in a Social Security Disability Lawyer

When searching for a Social Security disability lawyer, you’ll want to find someone who has experience with other applicants. They should have a good track record of helping applicants get approved. If you have family and friends who have applied for benefits with the assistance of a lawyer, you can ask them for recommendations.

If you don’t know anyone, you could always go on Google and look up reviews of lawyers, as well as check out their website and read their testimonials. Most lawyers will give you a free consultation so you can determine whether or not you want to hire them.

How Much a Social Security Disability Lawyer Costs

You may be wondering how much you’ll have to pay for an SSDI or SSI lawyer. In general, federal law states that lawyers are entitled to 25% of your backpay, or $6,000 — whichever one is lower. Your lawyer could potentially charge you a higher fee if you fired them and hired a second lawyer, or you are denied benefits at the disability hearing level and your lawyer has to then appeal to federal court or the Appeals Council.

Though $6,000 may seem high, the benefits you receive could be well worth it. If you get monthly checks, you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay your bills and you could have the energy to focus on your health instead. You could have peace of mind that no matter what, your basic expenses are going to be covered. That makes a Social Security disability lawyer worth every penny.

To get your Social Security Disability application started right, contact a reputable Social Security Disability lawyer in your area.

Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer

Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you are struggling to get disability benefits or you’ve been denied, you may be considering hiring a Social Security disability attorney. However, choosing the right attorney is critical to the success of your case.

Where Are You Located and Where Can We Meet?

There are national disability law firms that advertise across all states, but that doesn’t mean that they are available to meet in every state. If you work with one of these firms, your meetings will likely all be over Zoom or telephone. If in-person meetings are important to you, you’ll want to choose a local attorney.

Do You Work Exclusively in Disability Law?

While some attorneys focus exclusively on disability law, others practice it in addition to several other areas of law. Those in the first group are likely to have more in-depth knowledge and experience. They are more likely to have up-to-date information on SSA requirements, delays in applications, and other relevant knowledge needed for your case. An attorney who practices disability law on top of other types of law might be stretched thin by their other cases and not have the bandwidth needed to give your case the attention it deserves.

What Is Your Fee Structure?

Most SSD and SSI attorneys do not charge upfront attorney fees. Instead, they collect a portion of your disability payments up to a maximum amount. Make sure you know exactly what their services will cost you before signing with them.

How Much Assistance Do You Provide with Consultations and Other Needs?

A strong SSD/SSI attorney knows what medical evidence is necessary for a strong case file. Consider choosing one that will help you get consultations with doctors who have experience in SSD/SSI applications. Remember, you are reaching out to an attorney because you want the best possible chance of succeeding in your SSD/SSI application. You want an attorney who is equally committed to the outcome of your case.

Are You a Licensed Attorney?

Even if someone is advertising themselves as a law firm, you still have to ask this question. There are SSD/SSI advocates out there who charge for their advocacy services and try to pass themselves off as attorneys. Unfortunately, they often charge the same rates as attorneys without bringing the same skillset and knowledge to your case.

How Often Will We Meet?

The ideal answer to this all depends on your preferences. Do you want to be involved in every step of the case, or do you only want updates when absolutely necessary? Figure out what best fits your needs and find an attorney who can accommodate that.

Will You Handle My Case or Will Someone Else?

This is particularly important to ask if you are interviewing a large law firm. Many law firms will have you consult with a big-name attorney, only to pass your case off to a less experienced lawyer in the firm or paralegal. If you’re going to spend money on an attorney, you deserve to know exactly who you will be working with.

Are You Familiar with My Conditions?

This question highlights another benefit of working with a disability attorney who exclusively practices disability law. Since their time isn’t spread out across dozens of other types of cases, they are more likely to have direct experience with your condition and what the SSA will look for in your claim. Even if they don’t have extensive experience with your diagnosis, a strong disability attorney will likely have the resources and skillset needed to get a good grasp on it fairly quickly.

Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Your Area

Getting approved for Social Security disability benefits can be very difficult if you do not have legal representation. In fact, the vast majority of claimants are denied with their initial application. If you are applying for SSD or SSI and you’re not sure how to strengthen your application, the best place to start is to speak with some experienced Social Security disability attorneys in your area.

Will SSDI Recipients Get a Stimulus Check for COVID-19 Relief?

Will SSDI Recipients Get a Stimulus Check for COVID-19 Relief?

The federal coronavirus relief package came together so quickly that many Americans are left with lingering questions. The $2 trillion package largely benefits corporations and small businesses but does have some relief for citizens and residents. The aid package allows for a one-time payment of $1200 to single taxpayers, $2400 to married taxpayers, and $500 for each dependent. The benefits start to phase out for single taxpayers that earn $75,000 per year and couples who earn $150,000 per year.

But what about those who rely on SSDI? Keep reading to learn more about stimulus payments to SSDI recipients and what you have to do to get your funds.

Are You Eligible for a Stimulus Check?

Whether you receive Social Security for disability, retirement, or supplemental income, you are eligible to receive stimulus payments. Originally, the relief package would only give $600 to low-income individuals, but it was later revised to grant them the full $1200.

The only reason you would not be eligible for a payment would be if you had additional income that put you over the limit for the stimulus payment.

Claiming Your Payment

The rollout of this plan led got confusion about how taxpayers would receive their payments and what would happen to those who do not file taxes. The handling of payments goes through the IRS. For taxpayers who filed their taxes in 2019, eligibility and direct deposit information was determined from the 2019 tax return.

Those who have not yet filed for 2019 had information taken from their 2018 return. Many people qualify for direct deposit, and in most cases, funds were (or will be) distributed to the accounts people use for tax refunds.

However, if you are not required to file tax returns, you may wonder about how you are supposed to get your funds. Luckily, most Social Security are paid by direct deposit. The government will use the 1099 statements for these individuals to determine their eligibility and figure out where to send payments.

Rules for Non-Filers with Dependents

For SSDI recipients without dependents, this solution is enough. They receive their $1200 or $2400 via direct deposit or check. It is a bit more complicated for non-filers with dependents. The funds distributed based on SSDI information only include funds for taxpayers, not their dependents.

To receive $500 per dependent this year, SSDI recipients needed to use the non-filers tool to register their dependents by April 22. Those who missed this deadline will be able to claim that amount when they file 2020 taxes.

SSDI Recipients with Other Income

While many SSDI recipients live only on their disability income, there are those with other money coming in. This could affect your eligibility for stimulus payments. If you file as single and your total income is over $75,000, your payment amount will start to decrease. It decreases by 5% of the amount over the threshold and disappears completely at $99,000 per year. If you are married and your combined income is $150,000 or higher, your stimulus will decrease by 5% of the amount over the threshold. If you earn $198,000 per year or more, you do not receive any stimulus payment.

Checking Your Status

While many people have already received their stimulus payment, there are those who are still waiting. If you have not received a check in the mail or had funds deposited into your account, you can find out if the IRS has information about your payment.

The “Get My Payment” tool on the IRS website uses your birth date, social security number, and address to find out if there is more information available regarding your payment. If you have a payment pending, it will tell you the deposit date and give you the last few digits of the account into which your money will be deposited. It will also let you know if you have to provide more information.

There have been some issues with delayed or missing payments. Due to how quickly this plan was implemented and how many taxpayers are set to receive payments, this is to be expected. Others have had issues with payments that are the incorrect amount. As this situation progresses, there may be options for those who have not received payments or who have not received as much as they should have.