As of 2020, roughly 156 million workers in America have benefited from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) protection after experiencing severe and long-lasting medical impairment.
But what exactly is SSDI? Who is eligible? Do you need an SSDI lawyer when making a disability claim?
These are among the questions that this comprehensive guide addresses. Keep on reading to learn more.
What Are Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security disability benefits refer to deductions from an employee’s payroll that cover the cost of social security benefits. These benefits include retirement, spousal and survivors’ benefits, and so on.
To be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, one must have worked in jobs covered by social security for a specific amount of time. Moreover, your medical condition must meet Social Security’s definition of disability.
There’s a clear difference between SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI pays benefits to anyone with financial needs, no matter their work history. The qualifications to get SSDI and the amount you might get, therefore, are very different from SSI.
What Is a Disability Claim?
A disability claim refers to a request for income that you file with the Social Security Administration (SSA). You file this claim when you believe that you have a mental or physical disability that hinders your ability to find a job or lead a normal life.
The claims process can be challenging, complex, and time-consuming. You need certain documents to prove your medical condition and support your claim. Without hard medical evidence to prove the severity of your condition and the resulting limitations and restrictions, your disability claim will most likely be dismissed.
Should You Hire an SSDI Lawyer?
The simple answer is yes. Like we pointed out before, the entire claims process can be confusing. Having a seasoned attorney for Social Security disability by your side can help make things easier for you.
A Social Security Disability attorney will serve both as your advocate and a middleman who facilitates smooth communication between you and the SSA. You have a professional on your side with vast experience in handling SSDI claims. They know all the rules, qualifications, and requirements and will assess everything to make the best possible case for you.
What an SSDI Attorney Gives You
There are many things that top Social Security disability attorneys do to give their clients the best chances of approval and compensation. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from your attorney:
1. A Strategic Approach to the Claim
The first thing Social Security disability lawyers do is review a case and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. They look for ways to strengthen it and determine how to move forward.
Your lawyer will corporate all the necessary details into a formidable case that offers you the best chance of winning.
2. Help With Completing the Application
The most common mistake applicants of SSD benefits make is to submit incomplete applications. It’s also the top reason for most of the denials during the initial stages of the claims process. Seasoned Social Security disability attorneys understand all the details necessary for filling out the application documents completely, including providing enough medical evidence.
3. Help With Compiling Medical Evidence
A major part of the claims process involves including necessary medical evidence that you can no longer work or live a normal life as a result of your impairment. A lawyer who specializes in SSD can assist you in gathering the medical paperwork necessary for your approval.
Once you’ve signed a release for your medical records, your attorney can review and sort through them. They’ll determine which content is helpful for your case and which is not.
In case there are any missing medical tests, your attorney will help you track them down. The best SSDI lawyers know how to work with relevant physicians and healthcare providers to get supporting statements and letters.
4. Keeping Your Claim on Track
There are plenty of formalities and deadlines in the SSD application process, and it’s difficult to keep up with everything on your own. Your attorney makes sure that nothing is overlooked. Keep in mind that missing any deadline during the application process can make the SSA make you start the process all over again.
5. Legal Advice After a Denial
Initial applications get denied all the time, but that doesn’t mean that all is lost. In case your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeal process can even be more complicated than the initial claim.
That’s where your SSDI attorney comes in. They can offer the guidance you need to go through the appeal process within the required time. This gives you the best chances of success.
When Should You Call an SSDI Lawyer?
Generally, you should contact an SSDI attorney the moment you start thinking about filing for disability. Most disability attorneys offer a free consultation.
Some people choose to go through the initial application without legal help. While you can still do so successfully, having a lawyer from the onset of the process can help you get approved faster. That’s because your attorney can accurately evaluate the strength of your case and help you make it stronger.
If you still choose to go through the initial application alone and unfortunately get a denial, then you can still hire an SSDI lawyer. Your lawyer will help you move the case through the system faster. This is especially crucial when you have a terminal illness, or your financial situation is dire.
You could ask your attorney to send a request for an OTR decision to the judge. If the request is accepted, your claim might be approved without a hearing.
Are there situations when you shouldn’t contact an SSDI lawyer? Well, if you’ve already submitted your initial application and are waiting for a response, it’s best to receive the answer first before hiring an attorney.
Hiring an SSDI Attorney Is Your Best Move
As soon as you become disabled, you shouldn’t hesitate to apply for Social Security benefits. Given that the entire process is often lengthy and complex, hiring a reputable SSDI lawyer is the best decision you can make at this time. Not only are these lawyers familiar with the application process, but they also know what to do to give you your best chances of getting approved.
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