When Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help Me with My SSDI Claim?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be extremely complicated. The application process is designed to initially reject all but the most obvious cases of disability. Many people with real disabilities are forced to go through multiple levels of appeal before they are granted the benefits they deserve under the law. Having an attorney helps after you complete the initial application.
The first major requirement for SSDI is medical eligibility. Your disability must be so severe that it interferes with your ability to do basic work activities. The disability must be expected to last at least one year.
SSDI is a program intended to help those who have worked and contributed to Social Security during their lifetime, but are now in need of support because they have become disabled. In order to be eligible, you must have built up a certain number of “credits.” Each year that you work gives you credits under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) system.
You can earn a maximum of four credits per year. The amount of credits you need to be eligible for SSDI varies by age. For example, a 23-year old only needs six credits, while anyone over 62 needs 40 credits. Those who don’t have enough credits may be entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) instead of SSDI. Consulting a Bristol SSDI attorney at the beginning of your claim may improve your chances of getting approved the first time around. If your first application is not successful, your attorney will already be prepared to assist you with the next steps of the process.
Your first recourse is “reconsideration.” After that, your attorney can request a hearing. Hearings where clients are represented by experienced attorneys are much more likely to be successful than reconsiderations. If your hearing does not result in the award you were hoping for, you could further escalate your case to an appeals council. At each of these levels, an attorney’s experience and skill can increase the likelihood that you will prevail in your claim for benefits.
The SSDI attorneys at Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. assist clients in obtaining for Social Security Disability benefits. For a free consultation, call us now at 423-797-6022 or contact us online.