The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits to individuals who cannot work due to a medical impairment. Unfortunately, obtaining these vital public benefits is complicated because of the strict eligibility requirements. By working with an experienced disability benefits attorney, you have a better chance of getting the medical and financial resources you need and deserve.
At The Nunley Law Group, PLLC, we are dedicated to advocating for the disabled and bringing first-rate legal representation to underserved communities in Metro Detroit. We have in-depth knowledge of the eligibility requirements for disability benefits and will guide you through all aspects of the claims process. We understand your challenges and will help you overcome the barriers to obtaining benefits. Contact us today to learn how we can help. Se Habla Español.
What is a Disability?
The SSA defines a disability as a medical condition that prevents you from performing any substantial gainful activity (SGA). Your condition must have lasted for at least one year to be eligible for disability benefits. The SSA maintains a list of qualifying impairments; however, you may still qualify if your condition is not listed but is medically equivalent to a listed impairment.
What types of disability benefits are available?
The SSA offers two disability programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – To qualify for SSDI, you must (1) meet the medical criteria, (2) have paid into the Social Security system through income tax deductions, and (3) have earned sufficient work credits based on your employment history.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – This program is only available to individuals who are blind, disabled, and over 65 years of age, as well as children under 18 with a qualifying medical condition. SSI is a means-tested program, meaning your income and financial resources cannot exceed a specific threshold.
The Challenges of Obtaining Disability Benefits in Metro Detroit
Applying for disability benefits can be complex. The application requires accurate answers to numerous questions and the correct completion of various forms. In addition, your application must include medical evidence, such as doctor’s reports, exam history, lab tests, radiological exams, and other relevant medical information about the diagnosis and prognosis of the impairment. Ultimately, you must prove that your medical impairment prevents you from performing your job or another type of work.
Completing the application is not the only challenge; getting a disability benefits claim approved is not easy – the SSA denies nearly two-thirds of initial claims. Common reasons for denial include insufficient work credits, a non-qualifying medical condition, or errors in the application. Despite these challenges, working with our experienced St. Clair Shores disability attorney improves your chances of having your claim approved.
Disability Benefits Appeals Attorney
When the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies a disability benefits claim, they will send you a letter explaining the denial and your right to appeal the decision. To begin the appeals process, you must file a Request for Reconsideration with the SSA within 60 days of receiving the denial notice.
During the reconsideration process, a medical consultant and disability examiner not involved in the initial decision will re-evaluate your claim. However, they will only approve your claim if there is a new diagnosis or evidence that the medical condition has worsened.
If they deny your reconsideration, the next step in the appeals process is to request a disability hearing. The hearing is not a court proceeding but an informal meeting overseen by an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ is not a “judge” but an SSA attorney who will uphold or overturn the denial.
If the ALJ denies your claim, you can seek a review by the Appeals Council. They will decide whether to overturn the decision, remand it to the ALJ for further reconsideration, or deny the claim. Let our team help you navigate the appeals process and fight for the benefits you deserve.
How Our Firm Can Help
Although the SSA denies the majority of initial benefits claims, working with our experienced disability attorneys will turn the odds in your favor. We know the ins and outs of the Social Security system and have developed working relationships with disability examiners, which can help to facilitate the process. You can depend on our legal team to handle all the details. We will:
- Assist with the application
- Work with your doctor to build a medical record to support your claim
- Handle all communications with the SSA
- Help you prepare for the disability appeal
- Represent you at the disability hearing
Above all, we will guide you every step of the way and protect your rights.
Contact Our Experienced St. Clair Shores Disability Lawyers
At The Nunley Law Group, we have a well-deserved reputation as dedicated advocates of the disabled from all backgrounds, including underserved communities in Metro Detroit. If you or a loved one is seeking disability benefits, we can help. We offer free consultations and will charge no attorney fees until we win benefits for you. Contact us today so we can start working on your claim.