Table of Contents
- 1 Was your claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits denied?
- 2 Our Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyers Can Help You
- 3 Social Security Disability Claim Process
- 3.1 What does it mean to be “disabled” for the purpose of SSD benefits?
- 3.2 What are the social security disability requirements that must be met to qualify for benefits?
- 3.3 If my condition is not on the official list of disabling conditions, can I be approved for SSD benefits?
- 3.4 How long does the SSD claim process take?
- 3.5 Do I need to hire a lawyer to file a SSD claim?
- 3.6 How does a Huntsville social security disability lawyer representing SSD claimants get paid?
- 3.7 Can I work while seeking Social Security Disability benefits or appealing a denial of benefits?
- 3.8 What steps should I take if my claim has been denied?
- 4 Free Consultation and No Fee Unless You Collect
- 5 Contact a Disability Lawyer
- 6 Additional Practice Areas
Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income are federal government programs designed to provide income to people who are unable to work because of a disability.
These programs are funded by the taxes deducted from each pay check that workers receive.
To qualify and apply for social security disability benefits, you must meet the following requirements:
- have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from engaging in any substantial gainful activity, and
- the condition is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death, and
- be under age 65, and
- have worked 5 out of the last 10 years as of the date of the onset of the disability (this requirement is waived if you are age 22 or younger).
Even if you meet these requirements, your SSDI claim may still be denied by the Social Security Administration. In 2009, over 70 % of the 2,816,244 initial applications filed for SSDI were denied. The Social Security Administration’s own statistics show that applicants represented by a lawyer have a greater chance of having their claims approved than applicants with no legal representation. If you need help applying for SSDI or SSI benefits or if your claim was denied by the Social Security Administration, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C.
- Fill out and process your application and all paperwork for your SSDI or SSI claim
- Investigate and obtain all medical documentation for your claim
- Prepare you for any required hearings and guide you through the appeals process
- Make sure you receive all of the SSDI or SSI benefits you are entitled to
An individual who is unable to work because of a serious or debilitating injury may be eligible to seek financial assistance from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Social Security Disability (SSD) Insurance is a federal program established to provide benefits to eligible individuals and their families. If you have a disability that prevents you from being able to work or maintain a job for a year or longer, you may qualify for federal assistance by filing an SSD claim.
What does it mean to be “disabled” for the purpose of SSD benefits?
Not all disabilities qualify for financial assistance through SSA. For the purpose of SSD benefits, an individual must meet the following basic requirements of “disability” before a claim will be considered:
- The individual must not be able to perform the work he or she was able to do prior to the accident or injury resulting in disability
- The individual is unable to adjust to another type of work due to the existing medical condition
- The individual’s disability is expected to last, or has already lasted, for more than one year or has been diagnosed as being a fatal illness
You must have earned sufficient “work credits” based on wages or self-employment income. Most individuals will need 40 credits, half of which must have been earned within the 10 years immediately prior to you becoming disabled. Young workers, particularly those who do not have extensive work histories, may be able to qualify with less work credits. The maximum credits an individual can earn in any given year are four.
If my condition is not on the official list of disabling conditions, can I be approved for SSD benefits?
Any individual who has sustained a debilitating injury or is suffering from a condition listed on the SSA’s list of medical conditions will automatically be found to have a qualifying disability. Conditions not on the list will require further assessment to determine eligibility.
How long does the SSD claim process take?
The SSD claim process can typically take anywhere from three to five months, so it is important you file your claim as soon as possible after sustaining a long-term or permanent disability. Having the documentation the SSA requires can expedite the claim process. You will need among other items: your Social Security number; proof of age; contact information for any doctor or medical facility that provided you with care; dates you received medical treatment or care; medical records documenting your injury and current condition; lab results; information pertaining to the type of work you did and where you worked; and a copy of your federal tax return or most recent W-2. If you do not have all the information readily available, a SSD lawyer from our firm is here to assist you.
Do I need to hire a lawyer to file a SSD claim?
While the SSA website does have resources and forms available to those seeking disability benefits, hiring an SSD attorney can be beneficial, as the majority of SSD claims are disapproved on the first submission. You may choose to get help from a skilled SSD lawyer so you can improve your chances of getting your claim approved. If your initial claim has been disapproved, you have the right to file an appeal. Filing and pursuing an appeal can be complicated. A lawyer from our firm can assist you in the appeal process and help you seek the benefits to which you are eligible.
Federal law regulates how much lawyers can charge SSD claimants. In most instances the maximum you are charged is 25 percent of your disability back pay, or $6,000, whichever is less. At our firm, we do not charge an upfront fee to retain our services. We offer a free initial consultation and we handle each Social Security case on a contingency basis, meaning we do not get paid until you receive SSD benefits.
Individuals who are applying for benefits or appealing a denial are allowed to work, provided their income does not exceed the maximum mandated by the SSA. In 2014, earning more than an average of $1,070 per month will make you ineligible to receive disability benefits. If your condition does not hinder your ability to work, the SSA does not consider you to be disabled.
What steps should I take if my claim has been denied?
If your claim for SSD benefits has been denied, you have the right to request a review of your claim. An appeal must be filed within 60 days from the time you receive notification of a denial of benefits. There are various levels in the appeals process, so even if you are initially denied, you have more than one chance to appeal. Hiring an experienced SSD lawyer is highly recommended if you want to expedite the appeal process.
Free Consultation and No Fee Unless You Collect
Initial consultations to discuss your social security claim are free and we handle social security cases on a contingency basis, which means there is no fee or costs unless we collect money for you. Social Security has special rules for contingency fee contracts in disability cases where the most that your lawyer can be paid is 25% of your past due benefits if successful up to the statutory limit. No fee is charged if your claim is unsuccessful.
Contact a Disability Lawyer
From our office in Huntsville, Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., handles Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income cases throughout the state of Alabama, including Albertville, Athens, Decatur, Florence, Fort Payne, Guntersville, Scottsboro, Cullman and Birmingham. If you think that we can help you or a loved one like we have helped so many other Alabamians, please call our experienced attorneys in Huntsville (256) 536-0588, toll free 1-888-321-8353 or complete our quick contact web form. The Alabama Social Security Disability lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., can help you or your loved one.
Additional Practice Areas
The personal injury lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., have been helping injured victims in Alabama since 1966. We handle a variety of cases including:
- Insurance Disputes
- Alcohol Liability
- Trucking Accidents
- Automobile Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Stryker Hip Implant Recall
- Product Liability
- Construction Accidents
- Lawnmower Injuries