Applying for SSDI or SSI Benefits in Fort Myers
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two distinct programs administered by the SSA to provide financial assistance to individuals with disabilities. SSD is based on an individual’s work history and contributions to the Social Security system through payroll taxes. Eligibility is determined by the number of work credits an individual has earned, and benefits are often proportional to the individual’s past earnings. On the other hand, SSI is a needs-based program designed for individuals with limited income and resources, regardless of their work history. SSI eligibility is determined by strict financial limits on both income and assets. While both programs provide monetary support to individuals with disabilities, SSD or SSDI focuses on individuals who have paid into the system, whereas SSI applies to those individuals in financial need.
Disability Advocates Group has experienced SSD attorneys who provide several key services to help our clients navigate the SSD application and appeals process. Here is an example of what our practice typically does in these situations:
Initial Consultation: An SSD attorney will meet with a potential client to assess the merits of their case, determine if they have a valid disability claim, and provide guidance on the process ahead.
Assistance with Application: While individuals can apply for SSD benefits on their own, having an attorney can be beneficial. Our lawyers can ensure that the application is filled out accurately, that all necessary documentation is provided, and that the applicant’s case is presented in the best possible light.
Gathering Medical Evidence: An essential part of an SSD claim is providing medical evidence that supports the claimant’s disability. SSD attorneys help gather medical records, obtain statements from treating physicians, and may even arrange for additional medical evaluations if necessary.
Representing Clients in Denial Appeals: Many SSD applications are initially denied. If this happens, the claimant has the right to appeal the decision. An SSD attorney can guide clients through the various stages of the appeals process, which may include reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), the Appeals Council review, and even a federal court review.
Preparing for and Attending Hearings: If a case goes to a hearing before an ALJ, we will prepare our client for the hearing, gather additional evidence, and represent the client at the hearing, presenting arguments and questioning witnesses.
Communicating with the SSA: SSD attorneys handle communication with the Social Security Administration on behalf of their clients. This can include answering questions, providing additional documentation, and ensuring the client meets all deadlines.
Advising on Management of Benefits: Once benefits are approved, our attorneys can advise clients on how to manage and maintain their benefits. This might involve understanding the rules about working while receiving benefits, reporting changes in income or medical condition, and ensuring ongoing eligibility.
Fee Structure: SSD attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge a fee unless you are awarded benefits. The SSA sets limits on how much attorneys can charge for their services in SSD cases.
Appealing the Denial of Your Social Security Benefit Application
If you received a letter stating that the Social Security Administration has denied your claim, you must appeal within 60 days. Our team can help you submit a notice of reconsideration. Should the Social Security Administration deny your claim again, you can appeal and request an administrative hearing. Administrative law judges preside over these hearings that are not as formal as typical court hearings. Many disability hearings are over the phone, not in person.
During the hearing, the administrative law judge will ask you questions about your medical condition and work history. There are typically vocational experts and medical experts present at these hearings as well. The administrative law judge and your attorney can ask questions of the experts during the hearing. The vocational expert will provide information related to your ability to work in your job industry.
Attending the disability hearing with a lawyer who is representing your interests will help you significantly. At Disability Advocates Group, we have attended hundreds of disability hearings. We know what to expect and what type of questions to ask to help our clients obtain the benefits they deserve. Sometimes our clients are nervous about attending a hearing, and we can help them understand the process so they feel more comfortable. It typically takes two to three months to receive the administrative law judge’s decision. Should the judge deny your claim, we will submit another appeal on your behalf.
Are You Living With a Disability in Fort Myers?
Many residents of Fort Myers have been diagnosed with a disability or medical condition and cannot work. If you’re unable to work due to a disability, you may be entitled to Social Security benefits. Receiving monthly benefits can help you provide for yourself and your family. The application process is complicated, however. Working with one of the experienced Social Security benefits lawyers at Disability Advocates Group will increase your chances of success. Contact the Disability Advocates Group today to learn how we can help you apply for benefits.
Contact a Fort Myers Social Security Disability Lawyer Today
In short, an SSD attorney provides assistance and guidance to help clients navigate the complex process of obtaining Social Security Disability benefits. Contact Disability Advocates Group for an initial free consultation. We will make sure that you have one of our skilled disability attorneys working hard to help you receive the disability benefits that you might be entitled to.