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To be eligible for either Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you must have a disability that is expected to last or has lasted 12 months, and you must not be working and earning more than $1,090/month (in 2016). For SSD, you must also meet earnings requirements at the time you became disabled. To meet the earnings requirements, you must be fully insured, which for most individuals means having worked five of the ten years prior to becoming disabled. For SSI, you must not exceed pre-determined resource limits, which are generally $2,000 in assets for a single individual and $3,000 in assets for a married couple. Since these rules can be complicated, call Liner Legal today to see with program you qualify for.
Apply as soon as you and your doctors agree that your disability is going to last a full year—you are not eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if your condition doesn’t last a full year. Individuals who have been struggling to work in spite of their disability and know the condition is not going away should apply as soon as they stop working.
Yes. In fact, you can get retroactive benefits for up to one year before you applied (for SSD applicants only), provided you were not working and you can prove you were disabled. SSI applicants are eligible to receive retroactive benefits in the month after they apply for benefits.
Generally you have 60 days to appeal a denial of Social Security Disability benefits at any stage of the process. In addition to the 60 days, you will also be given an additional 5 days to account for mailing. Liner Legal can assist you with filing your appeal to make sure it is filed properly and contains the necessary information to improve your chances of being approved at the next review.
There are at least four. There is the Initial Application stage. You have 60 days to appeal after the initial denial. Most people are denied at the initial application. The second stage is called Reconsideration. Again, after that decision, you will have 60 days in which to appeal. The third stage is the most critical. It is the Hearing stage. This is where you meet the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). If you are denied at a hearing, you have 60 days to appeal to the Appeals Council. If you lose at the Appeals Council, you have the right to file in federal court though generally that is extremely difficult and cannot be done successfully without an experienced lawyer.
Each state has a separate state agency that is responsible for making the initial medical determination on a disability case. The amount of time depends on what state you are in. In Ohio, generally it takes between four and six months to receive an initial decision. Similarly, the reconsideration decision usually takes another three to five months. Getting the necessary disability reports and release of information forms to SSA in a timely fashion can help to speed up the process. At Liner Legal, we make sure the government has everything they need to make a decision on your case as fast as possible.
The best cases are those that have detailed medical evidence describing the nature of a disability applicant’s impairments. In particular, the strongest cases are those in which your doctor supplies a thorough narrative. Liner Legal can assist you with building your case and getting your doctor to help complete forms that may help you get approved.
The older you are, the more you are felt to not be trainable and less able to adjust to new work environments-you’re less employable. So it’s always easier to win if you are older than if you are younger. The general rule of thumb is that cases involving physical disabilities get easier as a claimant turns 50 years of age, and even easier when they reach 55 years old.
If you are legally blind, you are automatically disabled. If you have Lou Gehrig’s Disease, it’s likely you will be paid right away. On the other hand, psychiatric cases are generally harder to win than others because many psychiatric patients fight the process or they don’t see their doctors regularly. It is also very hard to win a pain case where someone alleges a great deal of pain and there is no readily determinable injury. For that reason, people who have fibromyalgia have difficulties winning cases, as do people with chronic fatigue disorders. That being said, Liner Legal doesn’t back down from a tough case—we thrive on taking challenging cases and using our experience and hard work to help those clients who struggle with the Social Security process due to the nature of their impairments.
No one wants to believe this answer, but it is rare for you to get a hearing in less than one year. In some parts of the country, it takes two years to get a hearing from the time of the hearing request. The latest statistics from the Cleveland, Ohio and Akron, Ohio hearing offices show that the average wait time for a hearing from the time it is requested is about 16 months.
In some hearing offices, but not all, judges will try to weed out the cases they can easily grant because the medical evidence is so strong. If you have very strong medical records or a very serious condition, we at Liner Legal will try to do what is called an “on-the-record” letter to the judge hoping to expedite the matter. We write to the judge, summarizing the overwhelming evidence of disability in the hope that the judge will agree and grant benefits without the need for a hearing. However, some judges never grant on-the-record letters. If you are assigned to one of those judges, there’s not much you can do but wait for the hearing. In order to be granted on-the-record, you must have very strong medical evidence and it must be current at the time the letter is being written. A year-old report, even with a current note from your doctor saying it’s still the same condition, is rarely enough.
Additionally, Liner Legal often files “dire need” requests on behalf of our clients to get decisions faster. If you are homeless, your home is being foreclosed on, or have received an essential utility shutoff notice, contact Liner Legal today so we can help you get a faster decision on your disability case.
You can hire a lawyer at any stage of the process. Liner Legal is one of the few Ohio law firms that will work with clients in the early stages of the disability process; many law firms will not work with a disability applicant until they have already been denied benefits twice and are ready to request a hearing. In fact, at Liner Legal we are so committed to helping our clients get their applications done and completed properly that if you contact us before you have applied we will even file your disability application for you!
The fee for social security disability cases is set by statute. The fee for a lawyer or a person eligible to receive direct payment is usually 25 percent of the past-due benefits. In most cases, a fee is capped at $6,000. A question we are frequently asked is if we charge for expenses on a case. Because medical records are free in Ohio when requested on behalf of a disability claimant, Liner Legal NEVER asks for reimbursement of any case expenses.
Almost always. The Social Security process is not easy or uncomplicated. There are deadlines to meet and reports to be obtained. You have to know what sort of information to get from your doctors. At the hearings there are often doctors and vocational experts who testify, and it’s almost impossible for a person untrained in these areas to effectively cross-examine either. At Liner Legal we use our knowledge gained from many years of practice and thousands of clients served to get you benefits you deserve.