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WORKERS COMPENSATION

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY

HOW CAN I GET SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS?

You may be entitled to Social Security benefits if you are unable to engage in any substantial gainful employment due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that can be expected to result in death, or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. The physical or mental impairment must be of such severity that not only are you unable to do your previous work, but also cannot, considering your age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy. This is regardless of whether such work exists in the immediate area in which you live, whether a specific job vacancy exists for you, or whether you would be hired if you applied for the available work.

WHAT SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS ARE AVAILABLE TO ME?

The two major types of Social Security Disability benefits are Social Security Disability Benefits, commonly referred to as "SSDI," and Supplemental Security Income, commonly referred to as "SSI."

The first type of Social Security Disability benefit, SSDI, is available to most individuals who have become disabled, but have worked five out of the last 10 years. If you are under 31 years of age, however, the rules are a little different because you have not been working for very long. SSDI is based on the Social Security earnings record and not the individual's wealth.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI), however, is different in some aspects from SSDI. Importantly, SSI requires that the claimant be poor and does not take into account an individual's work history or earnings record. SSI is available for disabled children and adults, though SSI is determined differently for both groups.

WHY WAS MY APPLICATION FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS DENIED?

There are a number of reasons why Social Security rejects so many claims. Some rejected claimants filed incomplete claims and/or do not submit all the material needed to make the file complete. Others lose patience with the system and never fully fight to have their claim approved. Many claimants have problems proving their disability.

If your claim has been denied, you are not alone. At the initial application stage, your chances of rejection are very high. You must be persistent and continue to appeal your denial.

HOW DO I APPEAL MY DENIAL OF SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS?

You only have 60 days to appeal a denial of benefits. This process is started by filling out the proper paperwork and filing it with your local Social Security Administration office.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO APPEAL MY DENIAL OF SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS?

There are only 141 Social Security Administration offices nationwide that handle appeals. This makes the system very back-logged. Nationwide, the length of time between the date of the appeal and the appeal hearing ranges from 10 to 24 months. Currently, the Grand Rapids office (which most of our cases are assigned to) is running approximately 14 months between the date of appeal and the date of the hearing.

Once you have had your hearing, you may also have a waiting period before you find out if your appeal was successful. Some judges will tell you at the hearing if you have won, while others will tell you in a written opinion mailed to you at a later date. It may take a few weeks, or it may take a few months, for you to receive a written opinion.

SHOULD I HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO HELP ME WITH MY APPEAL?

Each case is different, but listed below are just some of the ways an attorney can help you through the appeal process:

  1. Aid you in filling out all forms
  2. File your appeal completely and quickly
  3. Evaluate your case and answer any questions
  4. Help strengthen your case by referring you to additional doctors
  5. Supplement your claim with updated records and reports
  6. Gather evidence from persons such as your doctor to strengthen your claim
  7. Handle all aspects of the hearing

The Social Security Administration does not require you to have any attorney, but statistically, people using a lawyer have a better chance of success. Many people find using an attorney to be helpful in every aspect of the appeal process, from filling out the paperwork to handling the appeal.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY?

The fees that attorneys charge for representing you in the appeal process are regulated by federal law. This means that the attorney fee will be the same for every attorney across the United States. The attorney will be paid only if you win and if the Social Security Administration (SSA) approves your claim. If the SSA approves your claim, it will send you a check for retroactive benefits, and a check covering the months your case was pending in the Administration. Upon your claim's approval, the SSA withholds the smaller of 25% or $5,300.00 from your (and your family member's, if applicable) retroactive check, and sends the money directly to your attorney as your fee.

The law also allows for your attorney to charge for reasonable expenses that he or she pays in your case. These may include long distance telephone calls, medical records and reports, travel expenses, and the like. These expenses must be paid whether you win or lose your appeal.

 

Areas we frequently serve include: Gaylord, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, Traverse City, Bay Harbor, Boyne City, East Jordan, and Detroit

For lawyers or law help in Harbor Springs, Gaylord, Traverse City, Petoskey, or Detroit, call the Law Office of Dan Harris. We offer FREE lawyer consultations.

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