Applying for Social Security Disability

Kevin Lee Linder

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Social Security Lawyers

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Posted about 5 years ago. 9 helpful votes

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1

The Social Security Process

Interview: An initial interview is the starting point of a case. At that time, the attorney/law firm gathers information, evaluates your case and allows you to evaluate and determine if you wish to hire the attorney.

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Types Of Benefits That Are Available

Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) Someone is eligible for these benefits only if he or she have paid in a certain amount of Social Security tax over a period of time, enough to have disability insurance coverage in force. In general, a person must have worked and paid Social Security tax for about five out of the last ten years before the disability began. People who get disability insurance also get Medicare, at any age, starting 30 months after their legal disability began.

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Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI can be paid whether or not a person has paid in enough Social Security tax to get disability insurance benefits. You must be disabled under the same rules as for disability insurance, or be blind, or over 65. The applicant must also have very little income or property, because this benefit is based on financial need. Also, some children 18 or younger with a severe disability can get a monthly SSI benefit if their family income is low enough

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Disabled Widow/Widower Benefits (DWB)

This is a special disability benefit for certain widows and widowers, based on the Social Security tax paid by his or her deceased spouse. In order to qualify, a person must be between the ages of 50 and 60 and have been married for at least 10 years to the person who was covered under Social Security at the time of his or her death. Also, the disability must have been severe enough to meet these rules within 7 years of the spouse's death, with some exceptions for those already receiving other kinds of Social Security benefit

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Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB)

For this category, someone must be a relative of a person already receiving Disability Insurance or Retirement Benefits, or who died while covered for Social Security. The applicant must never have married, be at least 19 years old and must prove that total disability began before the month they turned 22, and is continuing. The monthly benefits based on a percentage of the parent's rate. This category comes with Medicare too.

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Initial Application for Social Security

This is the initial application that an individual files for Social Security Disability. Linder Law office does offer assistance in filing Initial Disability Claims. We do file them Electronically with the Social Security Administration. The Interview for the Initial filing may take 2 to 3 hours. Information will need to be provided about your age; marital status; whether you have children; marriages; your relevant medical conditions; medications you are on; hospitalizations; current and past medical providers, etc. Your claim will be reviewed and decided upon by an Adjudicator at the Bureau of Disability Determination Services. You may be sent for a Consulting Examination by a medical doctor or a psychologist -- failure to attend A Consultative Examine will result in the dismissal of your claim. In Illinois, only about 1/3 of initial social security applications are approved -- the best way to improve yoru chances of success are to make sure you have the proper medical evidence of

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Reconsideration

After a denial at the Initial Level, an individual is allowed to file a "Request for Reconsideration" a more senior level Adjudicator will evaluate your claim. You are allowed to submit additional medical evidence and written information which supports your claim. Statistics from Social Security indicate that only 10% of Requests for Reconsideration are successful, but you must file a Reconsideration before you are allowed a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge.

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Administrative Law Judge Hearing

If you are denied at the initial and the Reconsideration level, then you will be entitled to a Hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. These hearings are "non adversarial" -- which means that we/you will be allowed to present testimony to support your case, there will be no one from the Social Security Administration there who will argue that you are not disabled. The Judge will review the medical records and evidence that Linder Law Office develops to support your case. The Judge will not be bound by any prior determinations by the Department of Disability Determination Services.

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Appeals Council

In the event a Judge does not agree that you are disabled, you are allowed to appeal his/her decision to the Social Security Administration which has a reviewing organization called "the Appeals Council." As part of Administrative Law, you first must appeal to the Appeals Council before you have a right to take your case to United States District

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United States Court

As part of the process and part of every individuals rights; a person who disagrees with the Social Security Administration and loses their appeal at the Appeals Council, has a right to appeal their case to the United States District Court; if the US District Court finds that the Social Security Administration did not make a mistake of law or fact, the individual can appeal their case to the appropriate Appellate Court event o the united States Supreme court. At the Federal Court level, the court simply reviews the record and determines whether it should be reversed or remanded. No testimony is taken or allowed to be given. Please note, that unless Linder Law Office has specifically agreed to represent you at the Federal level, the Fee Agreement does not obligate Linder Law Office to represent you at the Federal Court level.

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Fee Agreements and Fee Petitions

Fees Agreements and Fee Petitions: Social Security cases may be "Contingency Fee" cases. This means that legal fees will be some percentage of the recovery amount. The client will still be responsible for fees to collect medical records, deposition fees, expert witness fees, etc. This amount may be requested to be reimbursed by client prior to recovery or it may be collected as part of the recovery amount. Every attempt will be made to explain costs prior to incurring these costs; however, some costs are set by medical providers, expert witnesses, etc. Linder Law Office will have limited ability to control these fees. The Social Security Judge must approve or disapprove the Fee Agreement or the Fee Petition.

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Terms you may hear or may need to become familiar with during your case

MEDICAL EVIDENCE OF RECORD: This is the information that is gathered from your doctor's office; counselor's office; hospitals/clinics; physical therapy records; pharmacies; etc. This is what the bulk of the Social Security Case will be determined upon. The Medical Evidence of Record must support your claims of being unable to work. VOCATIONAL BACKGROUND: What you have done as employment in the past fifteen years is relevant. This is called Past Relevant Work (PRW). Each particular job has a set of skills (skilled or unskilled) that are required and has certain exertional levels (Heavy; Medium; Light and Sedentary). EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND: The higher the level of education that you have the easier it is that you will be offered other work. If you cannot read or write, most employers may not consider you for a job. Most people have either not completed HS (or gotten a GED); had some college; or have an advanced degree (Masters level or above). AGE:

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Vocational Background

What you have done as employment in the past fifteen years is relevant. This is called Past Relevant Work (PRW). Each particular job has a set of skills (skilled or unskilled) that are required and has certain exertional levels (Heavy; Medium; Light and Sedentary).

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Educational Background

The higher the level of education that you have the easier it is that you will be offered other work. If you cannot read or write, most employers may not consider you for a job. Most people have either not completed HS (or gotten a GED); had some college; or have an advanced degree (Masters level or above).

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Age

The Social Security Administration evaluates the ability of claimants to perform other work or transfer to other jobs based upon age. This is not Age Discrimination. The Social Security Administration will consider a person's vocational background; educational background and age if they do not meet a "listing" the older an individual is, the harder it may be for an individual to find other employment.

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Social Security "Listing"

The Social Security Administration has developed a set of medical "listings" for many determinable medical conditions. You may find these listings on the Social Security Administrations internet page http://www.ssa.gov. If you meet a listing, then you will be eligible for Social Security benefits. If your conditions do not meet a listing, but a combination of your medical conditions would meet a listing then the Social Security Administration will examine whether you can or cannot work.

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Requirement to be disabled for 12 months or more or the condition will result in death

This is the standard of disability that the Social Security Administration uses to determine whether you are disabled or not. You cannot be able to perform past relevant work; be able to perform any other work and the condition must be determined that it is going to last 12 months or more or result in death.

Additional Resources

Linder Law Office

Social Security Administration

Watson & Linder LLC

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