If you have become too disabled to continue working, federal programs can assist with income. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits through two programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The requirements and benefits differ for the two programs, so it’s important to know which application you should submit. To make the process easier, we recommend working with a Cincinnati Social Security disability lawyer from Thomas Law Offices.
If you’re just starting out, our attorneys can help you collect necessary documents and file your claim. If you’ve already filed and have received a denial, we can guide you through the appeal process and fight for your right to SSDI or SSI benefits.
Qualifications for Social Security Benefits
SSDI and SSI are available to an individual when their disability has met the three qualifications required by the SSA. Those requirements include the disability preventing you from performing your job, the inability to do other job types because of the disability, and the disability will affect you for 12 months or longer or result in death.
There are specific disabilities the SSA lists as automatically meeting the above requirements. Some of those disabilities include cancer, blindness, spinal cord injuries, Chron’s disease, hearing impairment, Multiple Sclerosis, and Fibromyalgia. If you have a disability that is not included on the list, an examiner from the SSA will evaluate the claim according to your education, work history, age, and impairment level.
As a claimant, you need to be able to prove a regular work history—even if it was only part-time. If you receive your wages in cash or you only recently started working, you could run into issues with satisfying the SSA’s qualifications. In the event your work history renders you ineligible for SSDI, you may be eligible for SSI, which is designed for individuals who have a qualifying disability and limited assets and income.
Benefits for Family Members
In addition to seeking benefits for yourself, there are situations where SSDI benefits are available to your family members. Children, spouses, and divorcees may be eligible for benefits under certain circumstances. Spouses need to either be over the age of 62 or care for children under the age of 16 or children who are disabled. Stepchildren, unmarried children, grandchildren, or adopted children under the age 18 or 19 years old who are still attending either secondary school or elementary school full-time. Unmarried children over the age of 18 who have received a diagnosis for a disability are also eligible before they turn 22. In regard to unmarried divorcees, those who are 62 years of age or older and were married for ten years or more can seek benefits.
Social Security Disability Application Process
Applying for SSDI or SSI can be done online, by telephone, or in person at a Social Security Administration field office. It’s recommended that you file online to avoid waiting in line or by phone. Prior to starting and submitting your application, we’ll help you gather all the necessary medical and personal information needed on the application.
The information you provide will need to prove you are not able to participate in any significant gainful activity due to a medically diagnosable mental or physical impairment. To determine if your disability meets that, the examiner assigned to your case will look at whether you participate in gainful activities, if your health problems are considered severe, how your disability has affected your ability to work, and whether you are able to perform any other types of jobs.
Once your application is submitted, you can expect to wait between four to six months for the first decision. Reconsideration could take another four to six months. In the event you need to request a hearing, it could take around 20 months to secure that date. Our Cincinnati attorneys will be by your side throughout the entire process, no matter how long it takes.
Why You Should Work With a Social Security Disability Attorney
As you can see, the eligibility and application process for SSDI or SSI is complex. Our highly-skilled lawyers are qualified to guide clients through the necessary steps to seek benefits from the SSA. Instead of managing your claim on your own, you’ll be supported by our team and know that your application is as strong as possible.
When you first contact us, we’ll help you prepare the claim. This will involve explaining the documentation you need to prove disability and filing the actual paperwork. In the event your first application is accepted, we’ll follow through to ensure you receive your benefits.
In many situations, initial claims are denied. If that happens to you, Thomas Law Offices is prepared to help you file an appeal. We will ensure your appeal request contains the relevant information and is sent within 60 days of you receiving the original decision letter. In the event that appeal is also denied, we will assist you with requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Contact Thomas Law Offices in Cincinnati
At Thomas Law Offices, we understand how confusing the application process can be when you’re seeking benefits from the Social Security Administration. To ease the process and give yourself the best chance at receiving those benefits, you’ll want to work with a Cincinnati Social Security disability lawyer.
Our attorneys are experienced in filing Social Security claims and appeal denied applications. No matter where you are in the process, we can guide you the rest of the way and take steps to improve your chances of being approved.
The sooner you get in touch with our lawyers, the better your chances are of filing a successful claim. Not only will we ensure all deadlines are met, but we’ll also collect and complete all the necessary paperwork on your behalf. Contact us today to learn more.