Monthly Archives: April 2011
A disability can make it very hard for employees to make a living for themselves. Most times, a disability can impair individuals physically and mentally, thereby preventing them from accomplishing their work and making them unable to hold regular jobs. While the ability to adjust to this new condition can already be hard enough, the loss of income can further toss disabled individuals into security disability.
This is where disability programs becomes a crucial part of security retirement. Know the benefits that you can get when you apply for a supplemental security income program.
What do you get with a supplemental security benefit?
Also known as the SSI program, the supplemental security program is cash assistance that is based on the need of an individual. This program is funded by the U.S. Treasury, and created mainly for the blind, elderly, and disabled that have no other means of earning a living for themselves. The main difference with the social security disability insurance is that pays individuals according to their financial needs.
Those who are eligible for the program are able to acquire a monthly check which they can spend for their daily necessities. They are also qualified to access monthly food stamps and Medicaid for hospital bills and check-ups.
A fair estimate of the benefits that you can get from the supplemental security income program includes the living arrangements, the previous income that you were getting, and the state you live in. In some states, there are already set benefit amounts. For instance, in California, an individual can get $845 monthly and $1,400 for a couple.
Depending on the work history prior to the disability, you can get into other programs that will aid you. Some of them may include short-term or long-term disability programs funded by private sponsors, health coverage like Medicare, private health coverage like COBRA, OBRA or Cal-OBRA, and the California State Disability Insurance.
What should you prepare to qualify for the SSI program?
Every day, applications for a social security disability program and a supplemental security income program are numerous so you have to make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork ready to avoid any delays.
Check the following documents and make sure that they are complete before applying. One of the important things that will be asked of you is your social security number and proof of age, so you will need a copy of your birth certificate. You will also have to give the addresses, names, and contact details of all the health care providers that you have received treatment from.
To complete an application, you will have to undergo a background check, this means that your medical history and medical records will also be checked. To check the income basis of your financial need, you will also have to give a summary of your work experience, a copy of your recent W2 Form or a federal tax return for those who are self-employed, and proof of application to other benefit programs.
Other requirements include information on dependents, mortgages and leases, and other records like payroll slips, insurance, and resource information.
How do you qualify for an SSI disability?
Unlike with the social security disability insurance, which requires one to earn credits to be able to avail of the benefits, the SSI disability insurance is propelled by finances from general revenues. This type of benefit is available for people who are part of the lower level income bracket of the population.
Individuals of any age, from adults even over the age of 65 to disabled children under 18 years of age, can get supplemental security income. They do not have to have worked in the past, especially since they had disabilities.
There are also other criteria for applying. Since the SSI disability benefit insurance is controlled by the government, you have to be a citizen of the United States of America. Non-citizens of the U.S. would have to meet the requirements to be eligible. These criteria include the location of your home, your living conditions, monthly income (if any), and the amount of stocks, bonds, assets, and cash in one’s possession.
Eligibility to the supplemental security income requires one to be medically disabled, because the benefits of the program are targeted to helping those who do not have the means and the capabilities of working to gain their own income. According to the social security’s definition, a medical disability involves the inability of an individual to be part of any substantial activity because of a conditional impairment.
Those who are part of this bracket are not able to continue, engage or have the ability do to basic work that they have been doing. The catch is that the elements, skills, and talents that the person cannot execute are primary in the job that he was doing, hence his inability to engage in the work.
What is the difference between SSI and SSDI benefit programs?
Most people are not aware of the difference between the social security disability program, or SSDI social disability benefits program and the SSI program.
While the social security disability program is also targeted to aiding disabled individuals with their financial needs based on the deductions from the income that they have earned, the supplemental security income program allows individuals who have not yet worked but have been disabled to get monetary assistance to aid their livelihood.
Another difference is that the SSDI program comes from FICA deductions from wages during the time from when the individual has been earning a salary. However, the SSI program comes from general funds, so those who have not stopped working or have not had the chance to work can get funds.
Apply for both the supplemental security income program and the social security disability benefit program as early as now to safeguard your livelihood, because accidents can always strike and preparedness is the only counter one has against them.
People with disability, defined as mental or physical impairment which limits one’s performance in major life activities, are often victims of social and professional discrimination. Some are even discriminated against at work even if they have the ability and are well-adept to the job.
In countries like the United States, discrimination against people with disability is really an issue that’s why there are federal laws protecting their welfare.
With the passage of the American Disabilities Act (ADA), people with disabilities are well-protected and given equal opportunities in public transportation, employment and accommodations. Among the rights of a disabled worker is the Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI, a form of social security net which gives benefits to Americans who are unable to work because of their disability.
Not all disabilities are covered by the SSDI that’s why one of the best options available is to appeal for social security disability benefits. However, your disability does not guarantee you immediate benefits. In fact, an estimated 65% of social security applications are denied on first appeal. It is highly-recommended that you hire an experienced social security lawyer who will help you increase your chances in winning your appeal.
A social security disability lawyer is an expert in offering legal advice to people claiming social security disability benefits and cases. In fact, these disability lawyers do wonders in expediting your disability claims. They will help you understand better the legalities of your case and gives you assistance in claiming your benefits as quickly as possible.
In the United States, various law firms offer social security disability assistance to claimants. Here are some important factors to consider in hiring a good social security attorney:
Understand the need for a security disability attorney
People pursuing disability claims recognize that in doing so, they are facing a tough battle with the federal government. There are a lot of important things to consider in filing a social security claim. Social security benefits are divided into two programs, the supplemental security income (SSI) and the social security disability insurance (SSDI). The former are intended for disabled people who are over 65 and have limited resources. The latter deals with employees with disability who worked longer and recently qualified for benefits.
A security disability lawyer helps you identify which specific program to apply for and helps you get through the overall application process. This includes gathering of important evidence and putting them together to form your application.
A social security lawyer will help you understand the legalities of these programs. An appeal made by a professional special security attorney assures at least 600% more chances of claiming your past due benefits. Disability lawyers also provide representation in court during appeals and denials to speed up claims.
You may have the option to go to court for your claims unrepresented. However, there’s a real slim chance of winning disability claims and benefits. Special social security advocates and attorneys prepare their cases with winning as their utmost goal. Choose a social security attorney who works best with your personality and whom you feel comfortable enough to discuss your problems and help resolve your case.
Research law firms and do background checks with your chosen disability lawyer
A good social security disability lawyer saves you time and effort in pursuing your claims with the social security system. Their mastery and years of experience accounts for their expertise and fees that they command per case. Special security disability attorneys see to it that claimants are entitled for full benefits once the appeal is made. Law firms set-up special toll-free hotlines and websites so you can freely choose which social security lawyer you prefer.
It is best to select an attorney who truly specializes in disability claims. Their experiences and capabilities will help you achieve your social security disability claim as painless as possible. Their years of expertise and number or cases they won and represented in court also proves heavily in their favor.
Keep in mind that trust should be established early on your professional relationship. Look for someone reliable and trustworthy and avoid someone who’s inaccessible for your concerns most of the time.
Check fees and other charges when hiring a security disability attorney
Filing for disability claims involves culling a lot of medical records and doing paperwork to be presented during court hearings. Special security attorneys, aside from doing the legal study, help you with paper work and handle the costs of getting your medical records to the security system.
Consultations with disability lawyers are free, depending on the law firm that you were able to contact. If the SSD or SSI case is won, a security disability attorney will receive a maximum fee of $6000 or equivalent to a client’s 25 percent back pay. These fees are given after disbursements at the social security department are made.
Choose special security disability advocates who have your welfare in mind. Create a binding fee agreement between two parties so you will be assured of equal compensation once the SSD or SSI decisions were handed down by the court. Payment varies depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.
Avoid social security lawyers who charge more than what they should. Look for an attorney who doesn’t charge exorbitantly and adds more payments based on the time spent on your case. It still best to look for special security disability attorneys who work on a contingent basis or collects fees once the case is won.
Over-all, claiming social security benefits proves to be a tedious process. It requires time, effort and determination to win and recognize the rights that should be yours. Never be daunted with your disabilities as there are a lot of disability lawyers who are willing to give you a hand should the need arise.
A social security disability attorney or simply, disability attorney is essential if you are a disabled person. Hence, understanding his role is crucial. A disability lawyer concentrates on the disability law, which means that he is committed to uphold your rights as a disabled person.
What is a disability attorney?
A disability attorney is a professional who is trained in disability law, including the legal rights that disabled people have. Some disability lawyers are focused on the fight against disabled person discrimination. These include fighting for the rights of disabled persons who were denied things such as education, services and employment by reason of their disability. In addition, they can help in giving equal education opportunities for the disabled. Other disability attorneys are focused on subjects that are related to disability compensation.
A disabled person for instance, can be entitled to monetary remuneration since he cannot work because of a disability. The compensation can come either from a government agency or from a private fund. With a disability attorney, a disabled will be able to determine if he is eligible for disability compensation or not, in accordance with the existing laws of his country. If it is needed, the social security attorney can also aid a disabled person in utilizing legal methods to achieve compensation.
The role of disability lawyers
There is a form of disability compensation called disability insurance benefits. There are countries where employees give into a disability insurance benefit fund. If a worker is disabled and becomes incapable of working, the benefit fund can give him a regular amount of money every year. However, before a disabled can benefit from a disability insurance, he or she must make an application and prove that the entitlement to the benefit. A disability lawyer can assist in the process of application and verification.
There are instances where a person can find it difficult to prove that he is indeed disabled. This will allow his disability benefits to be denied. In many jurisdictions, an appeal process is allowed for those who were denied. A social security attorney can play a leading role in the process and aid clients in proving their disability in court. Thus, they can be given access to disability benefits.
A disability attorney is even useful for temporary disability cases. In such a case, a person may judge himself entitled to temporary benefits, because of a particular disability that prevents him from working for a specific duration. However, his employer can contest this and maintain that he is not completely disabled, and can still perform some functions. In such a case, a disability lawyer can fight for his client and attempt to allow him to qualify for social security.
There are disability lawyers that focus on working with private individuals but there are those that choose to work with businesses and the government instead. A social security disability attorney can work with a federal agency and help in setting up and reviewing policies that will establish disability eligibility. In a legal proceeding, the disability attorney can argue for the state in denied claim cases.
A disability attorney may also represent a business in court. If someone files a lawsuit against the business for a denying a company sponsored disability insurance to an employee for example, the disability lawyer can aid in setting up and reviewing the policies of the company and ensure that it stays within the limits of the law.
The advantages of having disability lawyers
While making social security disability claims, some people might wonder if having the services of a disability lawyer is in fact needed. If you are thinking the same thing, bear in mind that when you apply for disability benefits, you are in effect declaring war on the government and the social security system.
Having a disability attorney is like having a general that will lead the way to your victory. The advocacy of a disability lawyer could be the factor that will spell the difference between a successful social security disability claim and a denial. Should you decide to retain the services of a lawyer, make sure that he is really an expert in social security disability and SSI.
In addition, you should also consider other factors that include the following:
- When getting the services of a disability attorney or advocate who worked as a disability examiner or employee of the Social Security Administration previously, ensure that he can work according to a contingent system. This would ensure that he could provide legal representation for you on SSD and SSI application without expecting any payment until the case has been won.
- In case you qualify for social security eventually and are granted with long term disability insurance benefits by the SSA or Social Security Administration, the benefits that you will be getting regularly each month should not have any involvement with attorney’s fees. In case of a court victory, your disability attorney or representative will get a payment that is equal to a fourth of the back payments you will get upon the approval of your claim. However, even with such a share, the maximum amount that the attorney will receive should not exceed 5,300 dollars.
In a normal setting, the services of a disability attorney would be of great help if you were already in the process of preparing for the petition investigation on your disability insurance claims before the court judge.
How to apply for social security is often a concern for those with disability. Understanding the whole process requires knowing what social security is. For those who are not familiar with it, it is an insurance and welfare program that usually gives benefits to the disabled, elderly and the unemployed. Various countries have social security programs of their own, which are aimed at ensuring that citizens who cannot work because of economic or physical circumstances can live reasonably well.
When you apply for social security, know that it will take a lot of time, effort and patience. Whether the disability benefits you are applying for will come from the Veterans Administration, the Social Security Administration or a private insurance agency, expect it to be a long process.
With the Veterans Administration, there are benefits that can be claimed by veterans who are disabled. However, you will not be able to get anything if you have been discharged from the service dishonorably. If your disability is related to the service, which means that you sustained the illness or injury while on active duty or you have an existing condition, which was aggravated to disability due to active duty, you can be sure of getting compensation from the Veterans Administration. The amount ranges from 117 dollars to 3,000 dollars a month, depending on the kind and severity of your disability.
To apply for a disability award, you need to complete VA Form 21-526, which is an application for pension or compensation. It would be wise if you could provide the Veterans Administration your hospital and doctor’s records as well as those of your dependents. These would include your marriage records and the birth certificates of your children and spouse. You can also apply and receive medical care benefits from the Veterans Administration.
If you are going to apply for social security disability or supplemental security income or SSI, you can do so in person, online by way of ssa.gov, or by phone. Once you have completed the initial application process and have submitted all the required evidence to prove your claim, you may have to wait for a few months before getting a reply, which is typically “No”. However, this should not deter you from getting your compensation and take the next step, which is reconsideration.
Once you completed all the required forms for reconsideration, the SSA will reconsider your case. Usually around eighty percent of applicants are denied at this stage. But once you have exhausted all your options for the first couple of stages, you can then make an appeal. You will come to a hearing before the Administrative Law Judge together with your chosen disability lawyer.
If you have more evidence to submit, you need to have it with you. As much as possible, you should maintain your silence and let your lawyer argue the case for you. You can trust him to do his best to win the case since he will only be paid if he succeeds in making a claim. This is usually a fourth of your total back pay but not exceeding 5,300 dollars.
When it comes to private insurance firms, they automatically assume that you are not really disabled as you claim, and will deny you even from the beginning of the disability application. In addition, insurance companies have a tendency to distort the meaning of disability. If you are going to apply for long-term disability, you can obtain the application form from your employer. Short-term applications usually come from the insurance provider directly.
No matter what organization you are applying for social security benefits, you should always be careful. Learn everything you can, and know what you should and should not say. You should also know what they are expecting from you in order to make yourself qualified for disability benefits. Not knowing what to do will be detrimental to you and unless you have a cut and dry case, it will not be accomplished quickly so try to relax and be patient with your application.
The eligibility criteria for disability vary according to the jurisdiction you are in but majority of them have something in common. In most territories, eligibility for disability benefits has some basic requirements. For example, the applicant must be a citizen of the country where he is applying. The reason is that majority of disability programs are funded through taxes that are levied on income and other transactions of a country’s citizens. Thus, a citizen of a particular country may contribute to the social security system for his whole working life. Many jurisdictions believe that it is but fair that people who have contributed to the system should be the ones to enjoy its benefits.
Another very common eligibility criterion for disability benefits is age. In many countries, a welfare program includes services that were designed to aid old people who can no longer work competitively against younger workers. In these territories, a given age is used to determine whether an individual is eligible for social security retirement benefits or not. Other programs can be based on the kind of industry a person came from and what age he will be retiring. As an example, workers in the United States that came from the railway industry have a social security program through the railroad retirement benefits. However, the income and benefits that a worker may get can change according to his age when he retires.
How to Apply and Win a Social Security Disability Program
Ensuring your future does not just start with a pension and savings in the bank. There are some events that can suddenly change one’s plans, such as a sudden impairment that affects your ability to accomplish work or an inability to adjust to other work because of a disability from an accident. When that happens, most people are not able to prepare for a comfortable retirement. Instead, they try to make do with their past savings because they no longer have any capacity for work.
The answer to this problem is application for social security disability benefits program. This will ensure that you will receive an average monthly cash payment from prior income deductions, retirement benefits like medical care and COBRA inclusion, and even supplemental security income or SSI eligibility.
What you have to do is know how to apply, win, and appeal for a social security disability program and enjoy the benefits later on in life. Follow this quick guide to knowing the requirements and steps that you would have to take.
Requirements for application
There are a few requirements that you have to arrange and compile so you can have a seamless application for the program. The first that you would have to fix would be the medical requirements.
An initial interview upon application would be processed for disability determination, and during that time, a claims representative would ask for medical information including names of physicians and hospitals and treatments that you have had, as well as your employment history until way back to 15 years before your disability.
Aside from this, you will also need to gather documents such as proof of citizenship and other documents for personal information and other benefits program that you are part of. Applying for a social security disability benefits program also requires you to be insured in your work program as it will be part of the computation for your average monthly payment.
Steps in applying for SSDI programs
Getting into the SSDI program can be a tedious process, but the effort is worth the investment given the payoff that you get.
Get the disability starter kit
The first thing that you should attend to in the application period would be obtaining the disability starter kit, which contains three things — the factsheet, the checklist, and the worksheet. The factsheet is the basic FAQs for information in applying. A checklist in the starter kit lists down what you need to obtain for your interview. You also have the option of completing a website form online for disability benefits.
Lastly, there is the worksheet, which helps in preparing you for the disability interview. It contains the information which will be asked by social security.
Find a good social security disability lawyer
On average, a big portion of people who apply on the first try get denied for a social security disability program. This is not a waste of funds, because whenever you fail in filing for an application, there are no fees deducted from your social security disability claim.
However, statistics have exhibited that those who have tried to hire a social security disability attorney for backup and assurance were able to win more cases. Of course, in return for this, disability lawyers will get 25% of the backup benefits as set by the law.
Having a disability lawyer is beneficial because they know what proof, information, and other requirements the social security and even the SSI disability system requires. This is especially true for seasoned and experienced lawyers who have been practicing as social security disability attorneys.
Disability attorneys are also more capable in handling paper work, especially those that have a lot to do with the government. They will also be able to represent you in court, thereby giving you chances of consultation for a more successful claim.
Schedule for an interview
Afterwards, you will also be interviewed by a claim representative to ask about your disability, your medical history, financial status, and other background information. A disability lawyer can also be helpful in this situation, to guide you through the process of the interview.
Upon completion, your eligibility will be examined by caseworkers from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the state Disability Determination Service. Ideally, within three months, you will have received a confirmation, but it is good to note that on average, it usually takes six months. It is better to not follow-up on your application because caseworker will set up a meeting with you.
What to do when you are denied application
In the event of a denied claim, you can go through four levels of appeal.
First, you can opt to ask for reconsideration with another decision maker. This can be seen as a form of second opinion, just to confirm if the initial decision was correct. However, statistics have shown that those who have reconsidered for social security disability appeals have been denied.
The second level is to ask for an administrative hearing, which is privately held in front of an administrative law judge. There are chances of getting an appeal for this level, as more than half of disability cases appealed in the last ten years were decided in favour of beneficiaries.
You can also schedule a review by the SSA Appeals Council, which holds the job of reviewing decisions made by administrative law judges. However, almost 70% of decisions remain unchanged.
Most appeals for denied disability benefits claims usually go to the U.S. Federal District Court, which has a good track record of getting 50% approved.
But with the change in medium for applying for a disability benefits program, you can now also start with an Internet Appeal, especially if it has been denied because of medical reasons. You will be asked to update your information for medical conditions, tests, and treatments, and would be up for a review afterwards.