If you have become too disabled to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Unfortunately, odds are your first application for benefits will be denied as hundreds of thousands of initial applications are denied every year.
The good news is that you can appeal a denial and have a good chance of success on appeal. However, this process can get complicated and that is why you need an experienced Cincinnati Social Security Disability lawyer to guide you every step of the way.
The skilled attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy offer an absolutely free consultation to discuss your situation and find out how we can help you.
Eligibility For SSDI Benefits
You will be eligible for benefits only if your disability meets three qualifications set by the Social Security Administration (SSA):
- The disability prevents you from doing your job
- You cannot do another type of job because of your disability
- The disability will affect you for more than 12 months or will cause death
If your disability is on the SSA’s list of impairments, you will automatically qualify for benefits. Some of the disabilities on this list include:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bipolar disorder
- Crohn’s disease
- Hearing impairment
If your disability is not on the list, the SSA will evaluate your claim based on your age, work history, education and the level of impairment caused by your disability.
While most claims are denied because claimants do not meet the SSA definition of a disability, some are denied because of a claimant’s work record. Claimants must have worked regularly, even if it was just part-time. If you just started working or get paid in cash, you may have trouble satisfying this requirement.
However, if you do not qualify for SSDI based on your work history, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program is separate from SSDI and is for people with qualifying disabilities who have limited income and assets.
Individuals qualify for SSI if they have less than $2,000 in assets and a monthly income that does not exceed the federal benefit rate (FBR) of $733. Couples qualify if they have less than $3,000 in assets and a monthly income of less than $1,100, the FBR for couples. However, you could make more than the FBR and still be eligible for benefits. For instance, if you earn money from a job, the SSA counts less than half of it toward the income limit.
Also, Social Security gives you the option to deduct some of your earnings from being counted toward your eligibility for SSI. For example, if you make $1,500 per month, you could subtract $65 of earned income, $20 for earned or unearned income and half of the remainder. That leaves you with $710 being counted toward the FBR. Our Cincinnati lawyers can help you review your situation to find out if you may be eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits.
Benefits For Family Members
The SSA also grants SSDI benefits to divorcees, spouses and children who meet certain criteria:
- Spouses who are older than 62
- Spouses who are caring for disabled children or children younger than 16
- Unmarried children, stepchildren, adopted children or grandchildren under the age of 18 or under the age of 19 and attending elementary or secondary school full-time
- Unmarried children older than 18 who were diagnosed with a disability before turning 22
- Unmarried divorcees who are 62 years old or older and were married for more than 10 years
If you cannot work and you think you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, contact our attorneys in Cincinnati today to discuss your situation. We can help you with your initial application and we have the resources and skill to guide you through the appeals process if your application is denied.
How an SSDI Attorney Could Help
Our skilled attorneys can guide you through every step of the process for obtaining Social Security Disability benefits because we have helped many others through the process. First, we will help you prepare a proper claim for benefits. Our Cincinnati Social Security Disability attorneys know how to obtain all of the documentation that shows how much your disability limits you.
We will closely monitor the status of your claim and represent you in meetings with SSA representatives to help make sure you are receiving the proper consideration. Even if your initial application is accepted, we will not be satisfied unless you are receiving all of the benefits you are entitled. We will review the approval of your application to see if any errors were made.
Appealing an SSDI Decision
However, as is often the case, we expect that your initial claim will be denied. That is why we are fully prepared for an appeal. Our Cincinnati Social Security Disability lawyers will make sure your written appeal request contains all of the relevant information and is sent to the SSA within 60 days of receiving your decision letter.
Requesting SSDI Hearings
If the claims examiner does not overrule your initial denial, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge. At this hearing, we can present new evidence and question witnesses and experts to help bolster your claim. If we are unsuccessful, we can request another hearing.
If the SSA does not grant another hearing, we may be able to file a federal lawsuit to overturn your denial of benefits. In this situation, a Federal Magistrate Judge will review your claim to determine if any laws or regulations were violated. Most claims do not reach this point, but those that do are often successful.
Consult a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Cincinnati Today
Social Security Disability benefits exist to help those who are suffering from severe disabilities that prevent them from working to support themselves. Unfortunately, the process for obtaining benefits is complicated and that could discourage you from filing a claim.
Our Cincinnati Social Security Disability lawyers can help you through every step and make sure you have the best chance of success. Your best interests will be at the forefront of everything we do.
Contact us today to learn more about your legal options in a free, no obligation consultation.