Social Security Disability
Protecting the Rights You Deserve
Social Security Disability Claims Attorney
If your physical or mental health is preventing you from earning a living, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a federally sponsored disability income insurance program that you have been participating in since you began working. Or, if you lack the requisite work history, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The application process for these programs is complex and confusing, leaving many people unsure of where to start. It is beneficial to have the help of an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer as you navigate the process. Todd Butler, based in Cairo, Georgia, has been helping guide people through the Social Security Disability process for many years. Let his experience and knowledge help you resolve your claim and get the benefits you deserve.
Don’t miss out on the benefits you deserve. Todd is an advocate who knows the process, knows how to make convincing legal arguments about your condition and knows how to convince the Social Security Administration that you really do require the benefits that you have spent your working life paying for. Contact Todd today, and get your life back on track.
How to Apply for Social Security Benefits
Over the years we have noticed a lot of people who call about Social Security claims haven’t actually applied for benefits yet. If health problems are bad enough to keep you out of work for a year, you need to apply for your benefits right away. Don’t let the complexities of the Social Security system keep you from receiving the benefits you require. Learn more about the overall Social Security Disability Process below.
You can apply for your Social Security benefits by either telephone, online, or in person at your local office. An online local office finder will give you the address and toll-free number to call and initiate your claim. When you call to make your initial claim there are several types of information you want to try to have available. Remember, the key word here is “try”. You’re trying to set up a general overview of your personal and medical history, but do not worry if some of this information is not easily retrievable.
Initial information you want to have includes a list of all of your doctors, clinics and hospitals. Social Security’s Disability Starter Kit asks for any medical records you may have, but most people have very few. At most, you probably have a few pages of instructions from a doctor and a stack of medical bills. These aren’t useful to Social Security, but they will help you put your list together. You also need the names and birth dates of any children you have who are still under 18, and you need your husband or wife’s name and birth date. You also need to know the dates of all of your marriages and divorces, your place of birth and your mother’s maiden name. You will also need to state a date of onset — the date your physical or mental health (or both combined) became so bad that you had to stop working.
The date of onset is important for several reasons. It impacts the amount of your back-benefit, the lump-sum you get paid when Social Security decides you’ve been disabled for a long time and that you’re owed back benefits. Also, your date of onset can impact your Medicare eligibility. You become eligible for Medicare when you have been eligible for Social Security disability benefits for two years. If your date of onset was more than two years ago, then you may become eligible for Medicare benefits as soon as you start drawing your monthly benefit check.
Once these steps have been taken, your Social Security claim has been initiated. You have now entered the first phase of your claim and on the way to completion and receiving the benefits you deserve. Learn more about the process from start to finish after filing a claim below.
The Social Security Disability Claims Process
Social Security disability determinations typically take a long time. Most people can expect their Social Security disability claim and case to progress through three different stages before approval.
Step One: Initial Consideration
The most important part about the initial phase and making a Social Security disability claim in general is getting the process started as quickly as possible. The initial consideration phase is started when you call or go to your local Social Security office to apply for benefits. If you don’t know who to call, then call us and we will help you.
The agent at the Social Security office will take your personal information — things like your Social Security number, your date of birth, your address and telephone number. The agent will also ask you the date when you first became disabled. For most people, this is the day you last worked. The date you became disabled, or your “date of onset”, is important for several reasons. First, your eligibility for benefits under Title II, will be calculated starting with the sixth month following the date you first became disabled. If you have been eligible for Title II benefits for two years, then you are also eligible for Medicare. Also, your back-benefit is calculated from the date of your eligibility. You can think of your back-benefit as the “back pay” that Social Security should have been paying you. How much of that back benefit you get depends on when you apply. If you apply for benefits within a year of becoming disabled, and the Administration agrees with you about your date of onset, then you should get all of your back benefit. In some cases, that is a substantial sum of money. You will not get paid for back benefits that accrued more than a year before your application. That is why it is important to apply as soon as possible. As soon as you are pretty sure that you won’t be able to go back to work for at least a year, you should apply for your benefits.
The second thing you need to know about the initial consideration phase is that most people get turned down for Social Security benefits at the initial consideration stage. Just remember – stay positive. The appeal process may be complicated but Todd Butler has years and years of experience in fighting through the appeal and getting clients the benefits they deserve. Nationwide statistics suggest that the denial rate is between sixty-five and seventy percent. You should return the packet we sent you as quickly as possible so that we can help enhance your chances of getting approved at the initial stage. If you do not get approved, we can make sure your case moves into the the ‘Reconsideration Phase’ in the best possible position for success.
Step Two: Reconsideration Phase
The reconsideration stage is more like a courtesy to your state’s agency than anything else. It is like a opportunity for them to get it right.
Ultimately, it is a step in the process that you probably won’t even notice. For you, it will just seem like the calendar is running. For the most part, it is an opportunity for a second set of eyes at the state’s agency to review the file to determine whether the first set of eyes made a mistake. Approximately 85 percent of the time, the state’s agency responds to the Social Security Administration that it did not make a mistake. Nevertheless, the reconsideration phase gives us an opportunity to review your file to make certain that the state agency got all of your medical records and included them in your Social Security file. We can alert the agency to the absence of important records, help the agency get the records if the health care provider is being difficult, or even obtain the records ourselves and provide them to Social Security.
Step Three: Hearing Phase
If your claim is denied again, or if you disagree with the results, you may request a hearing by an administrative law judge. During this stage, your attorney may prepare you for questions that could be asked at your hearing; request the judge to subpoena witnesses vital to proving the legitimacy of your claim; argue your case before the judge; question witnesses and experts; present new evidence or information you believe was not reviewed properly; and, if you have already been awarded benefits, ask the judge to review and reassess the calculations.
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Contact us today and let Todd Butler help you get your life back on track.
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