If you are disabled and unable to work, it is important to put an experienced attorney in your corner to fight and protect your rights.
At Rodli, Beskar, Neuhaus, Murray & Pletcher, S.C., our social security disability lawyers have the experience and dedication necessary to help you obtain the social security benefits you are entitled to.
The disability lawyers at Rodli, Beskar, Neuhaus, Murray & Pletcher, S.C., have a successfully recovered damages for those who have become disabled. Our disability attorneys offer free initial consultations and case evaluations of social security claims. The cases are also handled on a contingency basis, meaning our fees are based upon the recovery we obtain for you. Upon recovery, our attorney’s fees are capped at 25% of past-due benefits, or $6,000, whichever is less.
Social Security Laws
Social Security Laws were enacted to establish a national program to provide supplemental income to individuals who are disabled, blind, or who have attained age 65. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI), otherwise known as Title II Disability Benefits, are for those who have worked in the past and have paid Social Security taxes into the system. To be eligible, you must prove:
- you are unable to work because of a medical or mental health condition;
- your condition has caused, or is likely to cause, you to be out of work for 12 months (you should not wait for 12 months to expire — apply if it looks like you may be out of work for 12 months or more) or may result in death; and
- you have worked for 20 of the last 40 quarters prior to the onset of the disabling injury, condition, disease, or ailment.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI), otherwise known as the Title XVI Supplemental Security Income Program, was developed to provide supplemental income to those who are disabled and cannot perform substantial work, but do not have a history of working 20 of the last 40 quarters. It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income. SSI provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter with the additional benefit of becoming automatically eligible for Medicaid benefits.
To qualify for SSI payments due to a visual disability, i.e. “blindness”, you must show that your eyesight is no better than 20/200 in the better eye with use of a correcting lens or your visual field is restricted to 20 degrees or less. One difference between SSI payments for disability versus blindness, is that a blind person, may perform substantial work and still receive SSI benefits.
Under both the Title II and Title XVI programs, medical evidence is the cornerstone requirement to prove a disability. The Social Security Administration disability programs cover the following categories of ailments/injuries/conditions/diseases involving: Musculoskeletal System, Special Senses and Speech, Respiratory System, Cardiovascular System, Digestive System, Genitourinary System, Hematological Disorders, Skin Disorders, Endocrine System, Impairments that Affect Multiple Body Systems, Neurological, Mental Disorders, Malignant Neoplastic Diseases, and Immune System Disorders.
It is helpful to secure the services of an experienced attorney when first filing your claim for social security benefits as it not only improves your chances of receiving benefits via initial application, but also alleviates the problems some individuals create by their own initial application answers.
Your initial application must not only be honest, but it is also very important that your answers are consistent, complete, believable, and supportive of your overall disability claim. Incomplete or inaccurate responses provided in the initial application process can create problems for later proceedings, which may detrimentally impact your ability to receive benefits. Therefore, most people would benefit by having a social security attorney assist with the initial application.
Denied Initial Application
The initial application for benefits is often denied and reconsideration of the initial determination is almost always denied. In fact, you can almost count on your reconsideration request being denied because it is reviewed by the same agency, the state Disability Determination Services (DDS) office, which denied your initial application. In effect, they will not admit they were wrong the first time. However, do not despair and do not simply file a new claim, as that is generally a bad idea: wastes time, waives appeal rights, and shortens and/or bars your benefit recovery period of a new claim.
If you have been initially denied benefits, and have been denied after reconsideration, it is extremely helpful to have an experienced attorney to help you with the next step– the “appeal” hearing. At the “appeal” hearing, especially with the assistance of an experienced disability attorney, you have a much better chance of winning your case. At the hearing you present evidence and tell your story to an Administrative Law Judge. It is somewhat similar to a courtroom proceeding but is more informal and closed to the public. At the hearing, in addition to you, your lawyer, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and the ALJ’s assistant, there may be one or more expert witnesses. If an expert is called, he/she likely will be a Medical Expert (to help the Judge understand your medical condition) or a Vocational Expert (to help the Judge decide if there are jobs available to you — your job capacity). Your attorney may cross-examine these witnesses.
In summary, in order to qualify for SSDI or SSI payments, you must show: 1) that your health troubles keep you from performing any kind of substantial work (you must show you do not earn and cannot earn $980/mo gross income); and 2) that your health troubles have lasted for 12 months or more, are expected to last 12 months or more, or may result in death.
To check on what benefits you or a loved one may be eligible for, including, SSDI, SSI, disability, retirement, survivor, Medicare, and VA benefits, a helpful benefit eligibility screening tool can be found at www.GovBenefits.gov. However, finding out that you may be eligible for benefits, does not mean you will receive benefits or mean it will be easy to secure those benefits. Therefore, contact the disability lawyers at Rodli, Beskar, Neuhaus, Murray & Pletcher S.C. and let us put our dedication and experience to work for you.
If you are unable to work due to any physical or mental health condition, let us guide you through this difficult time in your life. We can help you with the, oftentimes, difficult process of securing social security benefits.
This information is intended to be viewed as general information. Your individual situation or needs require consultation with the advice of an attorney. We are here to help you today.