Living with a disability isn’t easy. You need legal guidance and support if you or someone close to you has experienced a disability and can no longer work. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is designed to provide a safety net to Americans struggling with disabilities.
While it can be a lifeline to struggling families, securing your SSDI benefits is no walk in the park. This is a Federal Government program – the eligibility requirements are quite stringent and you will have to provide a lot of information and documents to prove that you are a deserving candidate.
The Social Security Administration also has a zero-tolerance approach toward fraud. Each application is thoroughly checked and investigated – if you make even the tiniest mistake or omit to provide a vital piece of information, your application will get rejected.
In fact, getting rejected on your first SSDI application is the norm. The entire process is quite complicated and you have to cover many bases – unless you have prior experience or training, it is very easy to get overwhelmed.
It doesn’t have to be this hard. With the assistance and guidance of dedicated social security disability lawyers at The Lobb Law Firm, you can increase the odds of a successful application. For a free, no-obligation consultation for your social security disability case, give us a call today at 248-591-4090.
5 Reasons Why You Need Knowledgeable and Experienced Social Disability Lawyers on Your Side
The Social Security Administration has tried to keep the application process as accessible as possible for the average American. Anyone can apply for disability insurance either online or in person at the nearest Social Security Administration office.
There is also a 1-800 number with a TTY feature for individuals with hearing disabilities. However, while it is easy to apply, it is easier still to get your application rejected. Here are the main reasons why you need the help of experienced lawyers while applying for disability benefits under SSDI:
SSDI Eligibility Requirements are Not Easy to Understand
You cannot claim social security disability benefits solely on the basis of any medical condition. The qualifying requirements are extremely stringent and divided into two separate categories – medical and work-related. Before you apply for SSDI benefits, it is best to contact a lawyer to understand the laws and requirements for you application. As the initial consultation is free, you social security disability lawyer will be able to educate you on the information and evidence needed if you qualify.
The Social Service Administration (SSA) has its own specific definition of disability. In broad terms, your health condition must be severe enough to prevent you from performing routine work-related activities like standing, walking, lifting objects, etc.
Non-physical disabilities, involving your memory and cognitive skills, are also counted. For instance, if the applicant has some form of dementia and cannot perform their regular jobs as a result of memory issues, this will count as a severe form of disability under the SSA criteria.
And that is not all – you also have to prove that the disability will extend beyond 12 months, leaving you unable to earn an income for at least one year. Some severe conditions, like certain late-stage cancers, are accepted on compassionate grounds as soon as it is diagnosed.
Even if you have a serious disability, you still need to qualify under the work credits system to receive SSDI benefits. According to the Social Security rules, coverage is limited to a specific set of jobs. When you earn an income from these jobs, you get work credits.
A worker who pays social service tax can earn a maximum of 4 credits in any given year. In 2022, you earn 1 credit for every $1,510 earned through wages or self-employment. To be considered for disability benefits, you must have earned 40 credits which translates into at least 10 years of work.
And out of these 40 credits, at least 20 should have been earned in the last 10 years before the beginning of your disability. In plain words, to qualify, you should ideally have been already employed for several years before the onset of your health condition.
Sounds quite complicated right? And there is still more to come, in the form of exceptions, special situations, age-related allowances, special rules for the legally blind/visually impaired, widows/widowers with disabilities, children with disabilities, and so on.
Even figuring out if you have a qualifying disability is a major challenge. A definitive answer early on can save you a ton of time and effort. A simple consultation call to an experienced social security disability lawyer can solve this for you at zero cost.
You Need an Exceptionally Strong Application
Due to the high risk of fraud, the officers of the Social Security Administration tend to view every application with a skeptical eye. You will have to file a very detailed application, with multiple forms, and a long list of official documents, medical reports, and other certificates to even have a chance to secure social security disability benefits.
To impress and convince the Social Security authorities about the genuineness of your condition and situation, you need an application with the following key elements:
- Accuracy – you have to provide as many details as possible about your health situation and employment status. But at the same time, you have to avoid exaggerating or overstating things – any such attempt will backfire spectacularly and lead to rejection.
- Evidence – every single claim in the application form has to be backed by solid evidence. This could be medical records, testaments, tax forms, employment records, other bills and receipts, and so on. Any gaps here could severely weaken your prospects of approval.
- Urgency – don’t wait for weeks or months before applying for your disability benefits. You need to send your application as soon as you become unable to work. A timer begins as soon as your application is received – if there is any delay from the authorities, you could be eligible for back pay.
As you can see, there is a lot to cover here. And ideally, you want the assistance of someone who knows exactly what the Social Service officials want to see on an application. This way, you know which information is vital and what documents are mandatory.
Social security disability lawyers with years of experience in disability law cases can help you. To learn more, contact us at The Lobb Law Firm today.
The SSDI Rejection Rate is Significantly High
Under the disability insurance scheme, the Federal Government pays tens of thousands of dollars in benefits to over 9 million Americans each year. While that number may seem quite high, it’s only a small fraction when compared to the rest of the population.
Out of the 330 million Americans, around 54 million live with some form of disability. That means that the Social Security benefits only cover roughly 16% of the total disabled population. The eligibility requirements are quite steep indeed.
The rejection rate for new applications reflects this reality. Over the last few decades, more than 70% of all applications are rejected by the SSA. In some years, the rejection rate is 80%. Out of these, nearly 45% are rejected on non-medical (technical) grounds.
Even if you have adequate work credits, the medical evaluation can lead to disqualification in almost 60% of all applications. But the good news is that if your application was rejected on medical grounds, you have a chance to file an appeal for a hearing.
The Appeal Process Involves Judges and the Courts
When your application is denied on medical grounds by the SSA examiners, you have several options to appeal. One of them is to demand a hearing in front of a judge. The process is somewhat similar to a court case, involving your testimony, as well as the opinion of medical experts, and so on.
Naturally, your best option here is to hire a skilled attorney. Nearly 75% of all applicants face the hearing process with legal representation. Applicants with lawyers have a 50% chance of success during hearings. Without a lawyer, this can drop to just 25%.
And even if you do get an unfavorable verdict from the judge, you have further options in the appeals process. You may take the case to a council of judges, and then onto the federal courts system. A social security disability attorney can make all the difference at these stages.
There are No Up-front Legal Costs
Social Security disability insurance is aimed squarely at economically vulnerable individuals and families. The people who apply for SSDI are usually struggling to make ends meet due to loss of income and medical expenses.
This is why attorneys almost always offer free consultation and contingency payment options to disability benefits clients. A contingency payment is a system in the legal profession where a lawyer offers their services free of cost and receives a fee only when they win the case. And in SSDI cases, there are strict limits on how much lawyers can charge once you win your case. To learn more, give us a call today at 248-591-4090.
How Our Lawyers Can Make a Key Difference to Your SSDI Application
A successful SSDI application process can take up to six months from beginning to end. And in the event of a rejection, it can take even longer with the addition of the appeals process. For best results, you should consult a reliable and seasoned social security disability attorney before submitting your application.
Experienced social security disability lawyers can provide vital insights about Federal disability law and take care of many aspects of the highly complicated application process. The Lobb Law Firm, which has been around so many legal corners before, has experienced disability attorneys that provide compassionate assistance in the following ways:
Provide a Free Case Review
Most people don’t expect to get disabled at any point in their lives. We see others get inflicted, but think that “it will not happen to us,” for some reason. So when calamity strikes, we are left devastated and confused.
Awareness among the public about the Social Security disability benefits is generally lacking. Some are not even aware that they may be eligible for disability benefits. Others may know that SSDI exists, but often others have no clue about their chances of getting paid.
This is where social security disability lawyers can bring some much-needed enlightenment. Through a thorough yet free case review, we assess your medical records and work records. Based on the information we gather, we will tell you if there is any merit in your case and if yes, then how much you could potentially get from the SSA.
Help Prepare Your Application
The checklist provided by the SSA for the online application process involves at least a dozen different types of information, ranging from personal details to marital status, education, employment history, medical records, details about consulted doctors, and more.
Apart from the main application, you may also have to fill out other supplementary forms related to your medical condition, hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare professionals who are involved in your treatment process.
Collecting and preparing all this evidence can be a real headache, especially if you are already suffering from a severe illness/disability. Our lawyers are always willing to go that extra mile to ensure that your application has all the core ingredients necessary to convince the SSA evaluators.
Provide Legal Representation in Administrative Hearings
The vast majority of disability insurance applications get rejected by the SSA. If your claim has also been denied, our lawyers will assess your case for free and take the necessary steps to pursue the appeals process.
One option here is to request an administrative hearing, presided over by an administrative law judge. Having professional legal representation will significantly boost your chances of a positive verdict. A lawyer can present additional evidence on your behalf. They can also hire expert witnesses and extract evidence to bolster your disability claims.
Unfortunately, the appeals process is rather slow and can take a few months to proceed from the formal request to an actual hearing. In the interim period, your lawyer will track the progress of your appeal and keep you updated as well.
File a Lawsuit in Federal Court
If you are not satisfied with the result of the hearing, you can approach the Federal Courts for a review of the decision. You cannot consider this option seriously without consulting an experienced lawyer.
The attorneys at The Lobb Law Firm have decades of experience both in Michigan courts and the Federal Circuit courts. We know how important a favorable result is to our disability-benefit clients and will do our utmost to convince the courts.
Provide Dedicated and Compassionate Service
We understand the struggles our clients go through due to poor health and disabilities, particularly in the later stages of life. Our social security attorneys take a very compassionate approach when dealing with such cases.
We believe that every client deserves the best possible representation, and we are committed to providing that level of service. We have a team of experienced attorneys who are familiar with a wide range of legal issues, and we are ready to help you with your SSDI case.
How to Identify the Best Social Security Disability Lawyers?
It is estimated that nearly one in four young Americans will experience disability well before they reach retirement age. Demand for SSDI is always high and there are plenty of law firms in Michigan that accept disability claims cases.
With so many options, how do you pick the right one for your social security disability claims? To make this decision easier, just look for a firm/team of social security disability lawyers that tick these boxes:
- Accessibility – does the firm have offices at a location that you can reach with minimal effort?
- Cost – there is a legal limit on how much a firm can charge in SSDI cases. Does the social security disability lawyer provide an estimate that is acceptable to you?
- Experience/Expertise – does the firm have specialist social security disability lawyers with years of experience handling cases like yours?
- Reputation – does the firm have a reputation dating back years, if not decades in your city/state?
- Attitude – do the social security disability lawyers pay careful attention to what you have to say? Do they provide a warm and caring attitude that puts you at ease?
If the answer is yes to most, if not all of these questions, the law firm is probably a safe choice for your case. In Detroit, MI, The Lobb Law Firm has over 45 years of experience handling disability insurance claims, both in administrative tribunals and the federal court system. Our social security disability lawyers truly care about making a difference in our clients’ lives.
Factors that Affect Your Odds of Getting Approval for Disability Insurance Claims
The Social Security Administration in the United States is very punctual in publishing annual stats about all aspects of the claims and appeals process. Based on a thorough analysis of these stats, you can see some clear patterns regarding the type of claims that get approved most often.
Knowledge of some of these factors can be quite helpful in tilting the odds in your favor. They include:
- Current Employment Status – one thing we often notice in the SSA stats is that their examiners usually decline an application if the person is still gainfully employed. Preference is given to individuals who have recently quit their jobs due to a medical condition.
- Medical Condition – recipients of disability benefits have a significantly high mortality rate. The SSA process often favors severe illnesses like late-stage cancer, cardiac disease, and respiratory illnesses over mental disabilities.
- Age & Gender – you are more likely to receive approval for your claims if you are above 60. A possible reason is that older individuals tend to have more severe disabilities than younger workers. The majority of successful applicants are male since the incidence of severe conditions like heart disease is higher among men.
- Recent Hospital Visits – if you haven’t made a recent visit to your doctor, please do so before sending your application. The SSA prioritizes individuals who are actively undergoing expert medical care as they require the benefits to cover treatment costs.
- VA Disability Rating – veterans who have served after 2001 and those who hold a 100% VA rating can apply for expedited processing of an SSDI application. Even if you already receive VA disability benefits, you may still qualify for SSDI benefits.
- Legal Representation – SSA rules allow applicants to appoint a qualified representative to handle procedures on their behalf during the entire SSDI application process. Individuals who hire an experienced attorney are more likely to receive approval.
Social Security Disability Cases – Frequently Asked Questions
How much can I expect to receive from my social security disability insurance?
When calculating your disability benefits, the main deciding factor is your lifetime earnings (across the last 35 years). Other factors include your tax record, and whether any extended time is taken off work due to illness or child-rearing.
The monthly disability benefit is unique for each individual. The lower limit is $100 and the upper limit is around $3,300 in 2022. The vast majority of the recipients are paid less than the average which is $1,358. Individuals with dependent families and children can expect to get around $2,300.
What is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are two separate programs maintained by the Social Security Administration. SSDI is aimed at workers who lose their jobs/are unable to work due to disability for a long time. It is based on a medical condition/disability and your work history.
SSI is aimed at individuals who are above the age of 65 or those who have severe disabilities like lifelong blindness and have limited access to income and financial resources. It is based on your age and health conditions.
SSI recipients automatically qualify for Medicaid while SSDI recipients qualify after a 24-month waiting period. The benefits under SSI are much lower than SSDI, with an average of $625 per month as opposed to $1,300 for the latter.
Will I lose my benefits if I return to work?
SSDI beneficiaries can use a program called Ticket to Work to find new employment opportunities. The Social Security Insurance program provides various incentives and free support. There are certain provisions through which you may be able to work and still retain cash benefits.
And the system will continue to provide coverage if poor health forces you to stop working again. On the flip side, if your work income exceeds the maximum limit allowed by SSA rules, you may lose your disability benefits.
Who pays for Social Security Disability Insurance?
The annual cost of disability insurance is estimated to be around $160 billion. This amount comes mainly from your social security taxes – a portion of taxes paid by all workers and employers go towards the SSDI funds. Out of the 6.2% collected as social security tax, 1.185% is set aside for disability insurance from both workers and employers.
Which are the most common disabilities suffered by SSDI beneficiaries?
Most individuals who qualify for long-term disability benefits suffer from multiple conditions, and the majority have life-threatening illnesses. Mental impairment is the leading diagnosis in many cases (31%), which is not surprising as it is quite common in senior citizens.
Other noteworthy conditions include arthritis and back injuries (32%), cancer/diabetes/respiratory conditions (20%), cardiac and circulatory issues (8%), and nervous system impairment (9%). Nearly 20% of all beneficiaries die within 5 years of entering the SSDI program.
Contact The Lobb Law Firm for all Your Social Security Disability Insurance Appeals and Applications
Are you (or someone close to you) unable to work due to a recent injury or major health condition? Is this a potentially long-term problem? If the answer is yes, and you were gainfully employed for a significant period of time, you need to act quickly – you may be eligible for SSDI benefits.
To clear any doubts you may have about your eligibility, please contact us using any of the options available at this link. We are a premier social security law firm in Detroit, MI with years of experience in disability law, personal injury, and related practice areas. Give us a call today at 248-591-4090 to request your free consultation with us.