Social Security Disability
Have you or your spouse suffered and injury or disease that precludes the ability to provide a stable income?
Social Security Disability (SSD) is a federal program that provides monthly benefits to replace an applicant’s lost income when that person is unable to work for a long period of time due to injury or illness. Remember the program was created with money YOU paid into the system while you were working through payroll deductions. The amount of money you receive in benefits is based on the top 20 years of your lifetime earnings before you became disabled. Thus, the longer you worked and the more you earned, the higher your monthly ”personal Insurable amount’ or “PIA” will be. Other benefits included in the SSA Disability program are benefits for your dependent children under the age of 18 and, after 30 months, Medicare eligibility.
How and When to Apply:
If you (or a member of the family) cannot work because of a disabling condition, Social Security Disability may provide benefits to replace part of that income. If the illness or injury is expected to last more than 12 months, you are likely eligible for benefits. You can file your application at either:
- At your local Social Security office; or
- Online through the Social Security Administration’s website ( www.ssa.gov)
Once you apply for disability benefits, the waiting begins. As you may be aware, the Social Security Administration is both backlogged and a slow process. You will most likely not hear anything for 3-6 months, until you are either approved for benefits or receive a notice of denial.
It is important to keep in mind that nearly 80 percent of people applying for disability are rejected on the first application. If your application is turned down, you have 60 days from the date of denial to appeal your claim. If you choose to go back to work or fail to appeal within the 60 days without a good reason, you will have to start the process all over.
Is There a Way to Expedite my Hearing?
Unfortunately, in most situations there is no way to expedite your hearing, and the cases are in a first come, first-serve order. However, it may be possible to expedite a disability hearing for if you meet the rules to be considered a “dire needs” case, as described below:
- An urgent medical need or terminal illness
- A financial crisis such as losing your home or apartment, or the shut off of major utilities.
However, even then, the Social Security Administration will require specific proof of your dire need before agreeing to expedite your hearing ahead of others.
Importance of Medical Treatment and Records
It can feel difficult, even impossible to treat with medical doctors when you are unable to work and often have no health insurance. I assure you we sympathize, and we will help in any way we can. However, we cannot stress enough the importance of medical treatment if you hope to win Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
While approximately 4 out of 5 initial claims are turned down by Social Security (with or without legal help). Fortunately, our firm has a much higher success rate in Social Security Disability Appeals. Often, we find the cases we do lose at the hearing level, it’s usually because of a lack of medical treatment and the records to support the claim.
How Does Social Security View Physicians and Their Opinions?
Historically and in general, Administrative Law Judges look at several factors when giving weight to a physician’s opinion. First, how specialized is the physician? For example, an orthopedic surgeon’s opinion regarding a back injury would likely be given more weight than a primary care physician. Next, the length of time you have treated with the physician and how often. For example, a physician who has seen you monthly for three years will likely be given greater weight than a doctor you have seen twice over the previous six months.
Do you Need a Lawyer to Apply for Disability?
No, you can apply on your own, as you are the only person who knows the information Social Security will ask.
Do you Need a Lawyer to Win Benefits?
For many disabled applicants, yes, an attorney can greatly improve your chances of success at a hearing.
Why do I Need an Attorney?
If you are able to maintain and continue to seek treatment with your physicians for your disabling condition, we will make sure that your records are up to date and complete with the Social Security Administration when your case goes to the judge. Our firm has a very good success rate in SSD appeals.
At Beach Injury Lawyers, we have been practicing Social Security Disability claims for over 16 years. We have handled thousands of cases over the years. Our focused knowledge and understanding of the law and the disability process enables us to put our clients in the best position to win benefits. We provide personal attention and maintain contact with our clients during the often long and anxious months of waiting. Here is what we can do for you:
We can relieve the burden of figuring this out on your own. We are available to answer your questions along the way. We win approximately 75 percent of our SSD hearings. We don’t get paid unless you get approved for benefits.
How Does the Fee and Costs Work?
First off, the fee is statutory in nature, meaning it is set by the federal government. The most an attorney can receive is $7,200.00 or 25% of the past due benefits…the lesser of the two. Our firm will front all the costs for obtaining all of your medical records and we will only request reimbursement from you if we are successful in your case.
How Do I Get in Touch with Beach Injury Lawyers?
At Beach Injury Lawyers, we strive to be accessible to our clients and potential clients. We can be reached through our website via chat or consult request, or feel free to call our office directly at 843-357-4111. We often have requests for case analysis over the phone. We will do our best, but generally meeting in person is the best method to discuss your case.