Applying for Social Security Disability can be tedious and overwhelming. Many applicants are turned down at first, often for lack of medical evidence or because they do not meet income restrictions. If this has happened to you, working with an experienced lawyer may help improve your chances of getting approved.
I had Jay Trucks & Associates handle both a Social Security Disability case and a worker’s comp case. Both cases were won, and I am very grateful to have had them to represent me…
For more than 30 years, Jay Trucks & Associates has been providing legal counsel to residents in Flint and across the state of Michigan, helping many of our clients to obtain disability benefits and/or having then reinstated where eligible. We are prepared to guide you through the application process or help you appeal a denied disability claim to obtain the benefits you need.
A Flint Social Security Disability attorney is standing by to review your claim in a free consultation. There is no risk in calling us and no obligation to hire us. We only get paid if we help you obtain compensation.
Call us anytime 24/7 at (800) 762-8623.
Eligibility Requirements for Disability Benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a strict definition of a disability. To be eligible for benefits, you must prove your medical condition, work history and/or assets satisfy the guidelines set forth by the SSA. An individual may be deemed disabled if he or she:
- Has a physical or mental impairment that fits the criteria for one of the impairments listed in the SSA’s listing of impairments
- The impairment prevents him or her from doing his or her previous occupation or adjusting to other work
- The impairment must be expected to last or has lasted for at least one year and/or cause death
- Your earnings do not exceed the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit
Children under age 18 may be considered disabled if the impairment creates severe functional limitations and is expected to result in death or last for no less than one year.
If you are unsure if you qualify, we recommend reaching out to an SSD lawyer from our firm.
Free Consultation. No upfront fees. (800) 762-8623.
Overview of Social Security Disability Programs
There are several disability programs available to applicants seeking benefits. These programs are federally funded and administered by the SSA. The program you may be eligible for will depend on several factors.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSDI helps pays benefits to individuals who have a work history and become disabled. You must have enough work credits – usually at least 40 – and have worked for no less than five out of the last 10 years before becoming disabled and unable to work. These benefits may also available to certain family members if you worked for a period of time and were paying taxes on your Social Security benefits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI helps pays benefits to disabled, blind or elderly individuals who have limited income and few assets. You must have less than $2,000 in assets as a single person or $3,000 as a couple. You do not need to have a work history to qualify, but you must be able to show that your impairment prevents you from working.
Disabled Widow and Widower Benefits
These benefits provide financial assistance to widows and widowers between 50 to 60 years of age after the death of a spouse receiving Social Security Disability. Certain documentation is required, including the death certificate, Social Security numbers, birth certificate, the marriage certificate and most recent tax forms filed.
Disabled Adult Child Benefits
A child who becomes disabled before 22 years of age may be able to obtain disabled adult child benefits if a parent has either passed, started receiving retirement or was obtaining disability benefits.
Applying for Disability Benefits in Michigan
If you live in Michigan and are unable to work because of an impairment lasting at least one year, there are three ways to apply for disability benefits:
- Completing the application online (only for SSDI)
- Contacting an SSD representative by phone
- Filing in-person at a local SSA field office
You will need to gather information before applying, including:
- A Social Security card or record of your Social Security number
- A birth certificate or proof of age
- Contact details from doctors, therapists, caregivers, hospitals and clinics who cared for you and the dates of those visits
- Medical evidence such as medical records, doctors’ reports, laboratory and test results
- Names and dosages of all medication being taken
- A summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did
- A copy of your most recent federal tax return or W-2 if self-employed
We recommend applying for disability benefits as soon as you become impaired. It takes the SSA generally three to five months to review your claim and make a decision. However, the process can take longer if you delay in responding to information and document requests.
Our Flint Social Security Disability attorneys are here to help compile the documents and information necessary for your application. You may even be eligible for additional monthly benefits from the state.
We have a proven track record recovering millions in compensation on behalf of our clients.
Read some reviews from our satisfied clients.
Disability Benefits for Injured Veterans
You may qualify for disability benefits on top of any benefits you are receiving from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, it is important to note these are separate programs with different eligibility requirements.
If you qualify for SSD benefits, you may qualify for veterans benefits if you can prove your disability is service connected. However, it is possible to be eligible for VA benefits while being ineligible for SSD benefits. Generally, you need a VA disability rating of 70 percent or higher to qualify for SSD benefits.
The SSA has an accelerated application process for veterans who became disabled on active duty on Oct. 1, 2001 or later.
How We Could Assist with Your Application
At Jay Trucks & Associates, we have extensive knowledge of disability claims and the reasons why the SSA may deny an applicant. Although the reasons for a denial vary from claim to claim, some of the most common reasons include:
Lack of Solid Medical Evidence
You must be able to prove that you are unable to work because of an impairment lasting at least one year. Solid medical evidence (i.e. medical records and doctor’s notes) could help show that your disabling condition has interfered with your ability to work. Do not assume that being sent for a medical exam by the SSA is enough to prove your disability.
Previous Claim Denials
Many people also assume that filing a new disability claim instead of appealing a denied application will improve their chances of approval. This is certainly not the case. If an SSD representative sees that you have already been previously denied benefits, he or she will most likely deny your claim again. Going through the appeals process with a Flint Social Security Disability attorney is usually preferable to simply applying again.
Income Exceeds Limitations
If you earn more than a certain amount per month, you may be denied SSI benefits. This limitation is known as the substantial gainful activity limit. Your income does not apply for SSDI. 2020 applicants can still work part-time and earn money during the claims process, but they can earn no more than $1,260 or $2,110 for non-blind applicants.
Failure to Follow Treatment
Not following the treatment prescribed by your doctor, such as taking medication, using assistive devices or keeping medical appointments, could impact your ability to obtain benefits. Claim examiners will not be able to properly determine whether your impairment is what is preventing you from working.
Lack of Cooperation With the SSA
It is in your best interest to cooperate with the SSA through the claims process. Not remaining in contact with the person handling your application, not submitting requested documentation, or failing to show up to a scheduled medical exam may result in a denied claim.
Our legal team understands what it takes to get approved for benefits. Schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options.
There is no risk in calling us. (800) 762-8623.
Ticket to Work Program
As noted above, you can still work and receive disability benefits. That is part of the reason why the SSA has something called the Ticket to Work program. If you participate in this program, you can work and the SSA is prohibited from conducting a continuing review of your eligibility for benefits, if you meet your timely progress reports.
What to Do Next If a Disability Claim Is Denied
If the SSA sent you a letter denying your request for disability benefits, you may be able to appeal it. You will have to prepare a written appeal 60 days from the date you received the decision letter. A qualified Flint Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm is prepared to help guide you through the four levels of appeal:
- Reconsideration – This is a complete review of your claim by someone who was not involved in the initial decision. The SSA will evaluate all previously submitted evidence in addition to new evidence.
- Hearing – If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to review your claim. Hearings are generally held within 75 miles from home. You may be asked to submit new evidence and will need to answer questions from the ALJ about your disability. In most cases, a written decision is mailed within 30 days from the hearing.
- Appeals Council – If the hearing results in an unfavorable decision, you can request a review by the SSA Appeals Council. The Council will either review your claim or send it to another ALJ for review.
- Federal Court – If you still disagree with the decision, you can file a lawsuit in a U.S. district court. The SSA cannot help you file your claim in district court and no new evidence or documentation can be submitted. The federal judge will review everything already submitted and make a final decision.
The appeals process can be complicated. If you have already applied for disability benefits and been turned down, our firm is ready to review your situation and file an appeal on your behalf.
If My Claim is Approved, When Will I Receive Benefits?
Usually, applicants receive their first check within 30 to 60 days of the approval of their application. Backpay may take longer though – this is compensation between the time you applied and the approval of your application.
It is a good idea to call your lawyer if you have not received a check within 90 days of your application being approved.
Consult with Our Flint Social Security Disability Attorneys
Our attorneys at Jay Trucks & Associates have many years of legal experience representing residents of Flint and many other cities across the state. We know how to collect the evidence necessary to build a strong decide on your behalf as we pursue disability benefits.
Our consultations and legal services are free of charge. You only pay us at the end of the claims or appeals process if we help you get approved. We are available to take your call or you can send an online request.
Contact our legal team today at (800) 762-8623.