Do SSI Lawyers Really Help You with Your Disability Claim?

Do SSI Lawyers Really Help You with Your Disability Claim?

Did you know that hiring an SSI Lawyer to help with your appeal can increase your chances of being approved by double?

How? Why? Does it matter that much to retain a great SSI lawyer? 

Reasons to Hire an SSI Lawyer

The process of applying for SSI can take anywhere from one month to three years (Initial decision through any appeals if needed). Having someone to help you at any point during the process will make it less stressful and ensure you meet deadlines and guidelines.  Missed deadlines are one of the big reasons disability claims end up getting denied in the first place.

In addition to helping you to meet all deadlines, even the ones you did not know existed, SSI Lawyers should be able to access medical evidence, employment records, and all the other parts of your life that go into making an airtight case for the benefits you rate.  The goal is always to present the best case that demonstrates you meet the Social Security Administration’s official disability definition.

Your attorney will also spend time preparing you for questions you may come to face when in an appeals hearing, such as:

  • Describe your symptoms?
  • Are you currently seeing a physician for your disability?
  • When were you unable to continue work?
  • Are you still able to take care of personal hygiene?
  • How long can you be physically active before needing to rest?

This is a very brief overview; for a more in-depth discussion on SSI Appeals, and the steps necessary to win them.

You might also want to read: “Your Odds, Getting Your Social Security Claim Approved”


Talk to an SSI Lawyer About Your Case, Today!

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Cost of a Disability Lawyer

There are little to no out of pocket fees to hire SSI lawyers! Disability lawyer fees are paid out of your back pay for your benefits and are limited to 25% (up to $6000). You will be asked to sign a contingency fee agreement stating that they will only get paid if you receive disability benefits.   Any out of pocket fees you pay will be from medical record requests, any copies, and sometimes postage. Be sure to ask up front, what out-of-pocket fees you may have and if you need to pay them before or after they close your case.

If you would like to discuss your case with a disability lawyer, feel free to give us a call!

3 Big Mistakes You Can Make After an SSI Claim Denial

3 Big Mistakes You Can Make After an SSI Claim Denial

 

Well, you got it, your denial for your SSI claim! Argh!! What should you do next? Here is a list of the three biggest mistakes people make after receiving an SSI claim denial.

File a New Claim

There is a myth that says you have to file a claim at least three times before your SSI claim will be accepted. It is easy to see why and how this myth caught hold. Social Security is notorious for not approving appropriate claims the first time around. However, you would be doing yourself a disservice by filing a new SSSI claim as your first response to a denial of benefits.

The main reason you would want to avoid this course of action is that your chances of success do not go up in filing a new claim vs. filing an appeal. All things being equal, this might not matter much. However, all things are not equal. Namely, the back-pay you would ultimately receive if and when your appeal is successful.

When you file a new SSI claim your date of application changes to the new filing date. Whereas, when you appeal a denial, your date-of-claim remains the same, and your future awards will be back-dated to that claim-date.

 

Miss The Deadline to Appeal

We would not be listing this if it did not happen entirely too often. Missing the deadline for an appeal is an avoidable gaffe. However, there could be many reasons someone might miss it. From simply accidentally trashing the notice in the junk mail, to outright avoiding the notice due to the dread of what it might contain.

Most often the deadline is missed because claimants have an underlying uneasiness in appealing a decision made by the Social Security Administration. That makes sense, from a young age we are taught to accept authority, and what’s more authoritative than a massive government agency? Here’s the truth though, Social Security gets these initial claims decisions wrong, often. Like very often!

You can fight them, and you can win. In fact, you do not even have to be the one doing 99% of the fighting. Reach out for help; appeals are what we are here to help you overcome.

 

Accept the SSI Claim Determination and Quit Trying

As we discussed briefly above, you do not have to agree and take the SSI determination as truth. Their denial may be uninformed, or under-informed for many reasons. They may have denied you due to a mix-up in the US-Mail, an ambiguous doctor’s note, a mistake on an application, and so on. The reasons for the denial are much longer than the reasons for approval, sadly.

When you work with an experienced SSI law firm, you benefit from the vast number of cases and ways in which they have helped applicants just like you to overcome SSI’s denials. There’s an adage that says there’s no replacement for experience. In the world of Social Security, that is true! Experience gives a firm like Lilac City Law the knowledge of how many ways Social Security can screw-up an initial determination, and it provides us with the insight necessary to fight them and win.

 

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If Your SSI Was Denied Will Your SSDI be Denied Too?

SSI Vs SSDI if SSI was Denied

SSI and SSDI are both programs for supporting people who have disabilities that stop them from being able to work. 

However, the program that works best for you will be dependent upon a couple of different factors. 

If we break this down a little further, we can fully address the main question: 

If your SSI was denied will your SSDI be denied too?  

SSI Vs SSDI

We broke down the differences between SSI & SSDI in a previous article titled: Is Social Security the Same As Disability?

Here’s an excerpt that will help frame the answer to the question above:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program through the Social Security Administration (SSA) designed to provide a monetary benefit to Americans who are older than 65, blind, or disabled.  SSI is needs-based, meaning that the beneficiaries must be below a certain asset threshold.  And they must have limited income, and/or income earning potential.

SSI is often paired with Medicaid, administered by individual states.  Recipients of SSI often also qualify for food stamps.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is similar to an insurance program you might buy into for the contingency that you might become unable to work due to an injury in the future.  In actual fact, it is essentially just that – an insurance program.  Though, it’s not really opt-in if you’re employed; you pay (or paid) into it through payroll taxes.

The payout for SSDI is typically higher than SSI, but it requires that you have a relatively recent work history, to base the amount of your benefits on.  Beneficiaries become eligible for Medicare after two years of being on SSDI.

Infographic: SSI Vs SSDI

Are You Eligible for SSDI?

The first question to help you understand whether or not your claim for SSDI is likely to be denied (assuming your application for SSI was denied) is, do you meet the eligibility requirements for SSDI?

We’re keeping it simple here, but here are the two basic qualification criteria for SSDI

Have a work history of jobs covered by Social Security (another great article on who is and is not included here as well)

Have a medical condition acknowledged by Social Security as a disability

Notice that none of these requirements are related to your previous income?  Alternatively, to your assets?  Unlike SSI, SSDI is not a means-tested/related benefit.

If you were denied SSI due to an asset issue (too much $ or property), you would not be denied from SSDI for that same reason.  However, you might be denied for other reasons, including not meeting the criteria listed above.

Is There a Reason Why Your SSI Was Denied?

In addition to assessing your basic eligibility criteria for SSDI, you might want to determine why you were denied for SSI in the first place.

If it is a lack of basic eligibility, that is pretty straightforward.  We covered eligibility for SSDI above, and because there are a lot of “if/else” caveats to SSI eligibility, we will link to the full eligibility criteria for SSI, here, so that you can review them in-depth.

If your reason for being denied SSI is not due to eligibility deficiencies, then we should look elsewhere to assess why you were denied.  Moreover, why you would be looking to SSDI as an alternative to SSI.

It is possible, for instance, that you should have filed for SSDI the whole time and only filed for SSI because of a knowledge gap of the differences between the two programs.  This gaffe does happen, and it is easy to see why! SSI & SSDI have a similar name, similar function, and provide support for similar groups of people.

However, bear in mind you may have been completely correct in filing for SSI in the first place, and were denied for other reasons.

Should you Re-File for SSI? 

Having a better understanding of why your SSI was denied will help you to get perspective on whether you should seek SSDI, re-file for SSI, or file an appeal on SSI.

In reality, if continuing to pursue SSI is the right decision for you, you should file an appeal vs. refile.  Unless, of course, you have missed your deadline to file your appeal.

Lastly, while you are assessing your options, you should re-consider all potential benefits you might be able to obtain.

Consulting with a local advocate or attorney is a good step in the right direction.  They will be able to advise you on likely reasons why your original SSI claim was denied, what to do now, and other benefits you may find value in seeking.