This information is intended for persons who are applying for or have received a denial of Social Security Disability benefits. Before you even apply it is important for you to know that you must have worked in your trade for a number of years and contributed to your state disability fund through your taxes. They count up your work credits to see if you are eligible to receive benefits. If you have worked off the books, as they say, you will not qualify for these benefits.
There are many reasons an eligible, truly disabled person may be denied SSI. One is that the examiner did not receive accurate, up-to-date medical information from you or your doctors, you may have had a bad adjuster handle your claim, or some miscommunication may have occurred in the processing of your claim. Truthfully I believe they just don’t want to give anyone this assistance, but that remains my opinion, I found them to be as helpful as an umbrella in a hurricane. Your best chance of succeeding with your claim is to have legal representation from the beginning. And I mean from the very first application period. I would recommend choosing your lawyer and setting up a consultation the very day you decide to move forward with this process.
Two reasons for this: You are less likely to be hassled if you have a legal representative handling the claim, and if you wait until you are denied, (which you will be without a lawyer), then you will have to repeat all of the paperwork that you had already given to the disability office for your lawyer.
Choosing a lawyer can be difficult. You have to look at certain factors. Location, you and this person will need to meet multiple times before the case is settled and you are disabled, choose one that is close to home and transportation accessible. Legal Fees, since you have been disabled and unemployed this will be a major factor. Most law firms will accept up to twenty five percent of your total settlement as their fee and nothing if they lose. This is why they are very choosy about the cases they accept, as in order to get paid they must win. This also increases your chances of winning, because I don’t know many lawyers that enjoy skipping a payday.
Most important, their track record with disability cases. What is his/her past experience? What is their ratio of wins vs. loses? If they have had loses what do they attribute them to? How much time are they willing to devote to your case, and would they be willing to do phone interviews if you are not well enough to travel? It is important that they understand that you are there because you are ill and unable to work, and that means you may be unable to travel at times. I cannot drive everyday due to dizziness, and subsequent side effects of my medications. I actually am not sure if I can renew my NYS driver’s license this year because of the risk of a heart attack while driving. So you will need an understanding, undemanding lawyer to represent you in this matter.
Last but not least, personality, it really counts when you have to deal with this person on a regular basis for a period of time. Make sure he understands how you speak, and your intentions behind what you say. You might want to skip him if he is a quick, slick, know-it-all with a bad bedside manner.
Now do your best to be accurate and helpful and your claim should go smoothly. Good Luck!