What is Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability Insurance provides monthly benefits and Medicare to workers who meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled. If qualified, you or your family are entitled to receive monthly benefits until you reach the age at which you would have received your full benefit, if you continue to be disabled — ages 65 to 67, depending on your date of birth. At that age, you will start to receive Old Age and Survivor’s Benefits.
Who is Eligible for Social Security?
EVERY disability you suffer from, is considered by the Social Security Administration in determining your eligibility for benefits.
There are requirements:
- You must be unable to do ANY substantial, gainful work due to physical or mental impairments which have lasted or are expected to last for at least one year.
- As a general rule, if you are over age 31, you must have worked five out of the last ten years preceding the onset of the disability.
- You must have been subject to FICA deduction. “Off the books” jobs and some federal government workers are not eligible.
- If you are a disabled widow(er) or child, some special rules might apply
How do I get Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDB)
There are three different times when you can get assistance with obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits:
- During Initial Application
- After Denial
- Prior to a Hearing
When you have been out of work for five months, we encourage you to call us and we can help you with your initial application.
One of our SSDB legal assistant specialists will answer questions about your eligibility, and help you with information you will need for the application. Depending on where you live, we can file the application for you, (for a fee) if you wish.
You can file the application on your own by going to your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office and apply in person, by phone (800-772-1213) or online: www.socialsecurity.gov. By calling Earner & Weaver prior to applying, we will have all your necessary information on hand should you be denied and a appeal needs to be filed.
IF YOUR CLAIM IS DENIED
Call or fill out a form and get your basic information to us as soon as you receive a letter of denial. An appeal must be filed with 60 days of the initial denial. We will will get the appeal filed, and you will be assigned a legal assistant and an attorney who will answer questions and follow up on your case. The attorney will represent you at hearings.
IF YOU HAVE A HEARING SCHEDULED
At the hearing, an Administrative Law Judge will review the evidence and take your testimony. It is in your best interest to contact Earner & Weaver as soon as you receive the first denial, in order to prepare for the Administrative Proceeding. You are more likely to be successful if you have legal representation.
Your team will help you prepare for your hearing. They will conduct an in-depth interview with you, correspond directly with your doctors, obtain prior work histories, process necessary forms, and prepare and represent you at the hearing.
NOTE: A favorable decision may result in retroactive benefits. Eligibility for possible retroactive benefits varies from case to case. You should discuss this possibility with your attorney.
How are Attorney Fees Determined for Social Security Disability Cases
Fees for Social Security Disability cases are “contingent”. That means there is no fee payable unless there is money going to you as a result of an award made by the Social Security Administration.
In addition, the Social Security Administration sets the amount of the fee, which is always limited to a maximum of 25% of the retroactive benefits that you and/or your auxiliary beneficiary are eligible to receive.
We will offer you the opportunity to cap the fee at $6,000, or 25% of retroactive benefits, whichever is less. To obtain this cap, you will be offered a written agreement at the time our representation begins.
“Out of pocket disbursements” sometimes occur in Social Security Disability claims. It depends on whether or not your health care provider wants to charge you for copies of records or preparation of a report.
We will always request that the health care provider notify us of any charges for information prior to sending out the information. We then notify you, the client, so that together we can determine whether or not it is necessary or advisable for you to purchase the information from your health care provider.
I Need Help, How Do I Get Started
The best way to get started is to simply give us a call. We have a pretty easy to remember phone number: 877-862-4635. You can call any time, day or night. If we can’t answer, you will get a call back very quickly. If you prefer that we call you first, you can simply fill out a form on the right side of the screen and we will contact you shortly.