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Should I have an attorney help me with a disability claim? I haven't worked in about 5 months due to a very old back injury.

Hays, KS |

I was injured on the job about 10 years ago in Colorado. Due to my lack of knowledge about workmans compensation and just having been released from a women's penitentiary, I lost my job and my case against the company I worked for. Since then I've had one operation on my back and I did file for disability but was denied, therefore, leaving me no other option but to get back into the work force. I've had several different jobs over this ten year period all with the same result. Me losing my job. Whether I couldn't do the job anymore and resigned, or I was just let go because my back was so bad that I was missing too many days. I just lost another job in October of 2012. The doctors I have seen in the last 2 years say I will need surgery again because I have degenerative disk disease. can'

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

A Social Security Attorney on a contingent fee may be your best bet. If the SS claim is rejected on Appeal, you have not paid any money.

We offer general concepts, but you should give ALL your facts to a licensed Attorney in your state before you RELY upon any legal advice.

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Posted

I assume you're talking about a claim for Social Security disability benefits. If so, depending on how much you've worked over the past 10 years, and how much income and savings you have now, you may be eligible for one of two different Social Security disability programs.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program, so if you meet the financial requirements, and you are unable to work, then you may be eligible for up to $710 per month in SSI benefits. The financial requirements vary depending on whether you're married, whether you have kids, etc., and the benefits can be reduced if you or your spouse have some income, but not much. As long as the benefits are not reduced to $0, you still get Medicaid with SSI.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), on the other hand, is a program you pay for with your FICA taxes, and is not contingent on you being financially eligible now. If you worked and made more than about $4000-$5000 per year, in at least 5 out of the last 10 years, then you are probably eligible for some amount of SSDI benefits, although without looking at your Social Security earnings record, I can't say how much. Depending on someone's average income when they were working, SSDI benefits range between a low of a few hundred dollars per month to a high of about $2600. With SSDI, you get Medicare instead of Medicaid, but you have to wait about 2 years for it.

As far as an attorney goes, you could hire one now, but I usually recommend people go ahead and file their applications with SSA first. If you're not sure which program to apply for, you can apply for both without any problems. In my opinion, an attorney is not much help in filing the application, and you'd be just as good to wait for Social Security's first decision before hiring one.

Jeremy Bordelon is a licensed attorney in the State of Tennessee only, and is authorized to practice in all Tennessee State and Federal courts, and before the Social Security Administration in any jurisdiction. The answers provided on Avvo.com are for information purposes only, and should not be relied on as legal advice. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. In some jurisdictions, this answer may be construed as attorney advertising.

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Posted

Degenerative disc disease is a common problem. Most people over 35 have it. By itself it is not going to get you disability unless it affects your ability to function to such an extent that you cannot work. This usually means you are treating for this and the doctor will opine despite the treatment you cannot function in the work place. If you are under age 50 you have to rule out all jobs in the national economy including clerical jobs. Usually, the problems with cases like yours is people don't go to the doctors enough to document ther seriousness of their problem due to lack of health insurance.

This response is meant to be information only and should not be considered to be legal advice. This information is not meant and should not be construed to be the formation of an attorney client relationship. I practice Virginia Workers compensation law and Social Security Disability law.

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Yes, you should consult an attorney to discuss your case.

As to your back, your attorney will need additional information as your specific impairment may or may not entitle you to Social Security disability benefits. You will need to prove that your impairments either meet or, through medical testimony, equal a particular adult Social Security Adult Listing. As your attorney can explain, you may also demonstrate, with sufficient medical evidence, that your spine/back impairment prohibits you from being able to perform any/all the jobs you have done in the past fifteen years and that your impairment prohibits you from performing any/all job(s) that exists in the national economy. One other note: you must demonstrate that your impairment has lasted twelve (12) months or can reasonably expected to last 1twelve (12) months - you note that youhave not worked for five months.

In addition, your age and education will also play a role in the outcome of your claim.

You should contact a disability attorney as soon as possible. You may have a number of medical providers and it will be important to gather all of your medical evidence to give a clear understanding of your impairment. It will also be very helpful to secure a medical opinion letter from your specialist.

I hope that this was helpful to you and I wish you the best.

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