Social Security Disability benefits are available under two separate programs, Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Disability Insurance Benefits are generally available to those who have worked at least twenty (20) of the last forty (40) quarters, or five of the last ten years. Through money withheld from your earnings, you earn credits and become eligible for benefits.
Attorney John Brennan provides informational seminars regarding Social Security Disability at no cost. Contact us for more information.
You May be Eligible for Disability Benefits
Those who have not worked enough to qualify for Disability Insurance Benefits may qualify instead for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Although SSI eligibility does not require work credits, you must instead meet certain household income and asset limitations.
Regardless of which program you apply under, you must be determined to be disabled in order to receive Social Security disability benefits. Under Social Security’s rules, a “disability” means the inability to engage in work because of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death, or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months or more. 42 U.S.C. sections 423(d)(1)(A) and 1382c(a)(3)(A). The medical conditions which limit your ability to work can be physical or mental, or a combination of both. In addition, your medical condition(s) must be expected to last for at least 12 consecutive months. Many people mistakenly believe they must be disabled for 12 months before they can qualify for benefits. However, eligibility for benefits begins when you become unable to sustain full time, gainful employment due to a medical condition. As long as your medical condition is expected to last for 12 months, this requirement is met. It is best to apply for benefits as soon as you become unable to work, as the administrative process can take some time. You can apply for benefits in person at your local Social Security Administration office. Applications can also be mailed to a local office, or submitted online at www.ssa.gov.
The Administrative Process
The administrative process consists of four separate levels. After applying, you will receive an initial decision. The vast majority of claims are denied at the initial level. You can appeal your initial denial by requesting reconsideration within 60 days of receiving the initial denial. At the reconsideration level, most claimants will receive a second denial of benefits. Your reconsideration denial can be appealed within 60 days by requesting a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. If you receive an unfavorable decision at this level, you may request review of the hearing decision by the Appeals Council, which is the fourth and final administrative level. Your claim for benefits can, however, be further pursued after an unsatisfactory Appeals Council decision by filing a lawsuit in federal district court against the administration.
What We Can Do For You
The rules and procedures encountered when you pursue disability benefits can be confusing and frustrating. You may not understand why you have been denied, or you may not know what you must prove to be determined “disabled.” The lawyers at Brennan Gott Law PA can help you in these and many other ways.
Brennan Gott Law will file all appeals on your behalf. We will also work with your medical providers to obtain the evidence which proves you are unable to work. If you must attend a hearing, we will submit evidence on your behalf, and one of our experienced lawyers will represent you at the hearing. The staff and attorneys at Brennan Gott Law strive to be competent and courteous, and most importantly, available to our clients. Cases are handled by the lawyers at Brennan Gott Law in a hands-on manner. The legal assistants at Brennan Gott Law work side by side with the lawyers on each and every case. Whether you are calling with an important legal question or to simply check the status of your case, you will receive an answer.
While some law firms may refuse to represent certain types of disability claims, such as claims for SSI only, Brennan Gott Law does not discriminate between types of claims or the potential value of claims, and we are dedicated to providing quality representation to every individual client.
You can hire Brennan Gott Law at any stage of the administrative process. You do not need to be denied benefits before hiring an attorney. It is best to hire a lawyer as early in the process as possible. It is often helpful to consult with Brennan Gott Law before applying, since our lawyers can provide valuable advice and information about the administrative process, such as which program(s) you may be eligible under and how much you can work, and still be eligible for benefits. Our fee, which is only paid if you win benefits, will be the same regardless of how early in the administrative process you hire Brennan Gott Law.
What Will It Cost?
Brennan Gott Law will only receive a fee if you are approved for benefits. Because Social Security is a national government program, the amount of a representative’s fee and the manner in which it is paid is regulated by law. Brennan Gott Law’s fee varies in each case, since the fee is calculated at 25% of the past-due benefit amount up to a maximum of $6,000.00. If you are approved for benefits, the administration will calculate and withhold the attorney fee, then issue payment directly to Brennan Gott Law. In addition, you will be billed for actual expenses incurred by us, such as the cost of obtaining medical records and doctors’ statements. The amount of expenses also vary in each case. Again, you are only obligated to reimburse the actual expenses if you are approved for benefits.
Fees are calculated and paid in the same manner regardless of whether your claim is for disability insurance benefits only, SSI only, or both. The maximum fee allowed for any claim is 25% of the total past-due benefit amount or $6,000, whichever is less. For example, if your total past-due benefit award is $1,000, our fee is $250 (maximum percentage of 25%); if your total past-due benefit award is $25,000, our fee is $6,000 (maximum fee amount of $6,000).
If you have applied or are considering applying for disability benefits, make the call that makes the difference and consult Brennan Gott Law today.