Are you unable to work due to a physical or mental medical condition? Social Security can provide you with financial relief if you are unable to earn an income due to a disabling medical condition. In some circumstances, you may also be eligible to receive health insurance benefits. However, social security is a complex system that can be challenging and difficult for those unfamiliar with it.
The two main qualifiers that a claimant must meet in order to be awarded benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are listed below.
- Foremost, the SSA requires that the claimant has a condition that has caused, or is likely to cause, him or her to be disabled for at least one year. Disability, in SSA terms, means an inability to engage in any “substantial gainful activity” (one that involves significant physical or mental activities in a work setting and is usually done for pay). It does not matter what caused the condition—it does not need to have been work-related.
- The SSA requires that the claimant has worked for a total of 2 1/2 out of the last 5 years, or 10 quarters out of the last 20. Even if you have not, you may still qualify for Supplemental Income (SSI) benefits.
If you meet the above criteria, remember that the time to apply is when you become disabled. Many people are denied benefits after their initial application, but many of those decisions are overturned after a full hearing in front of a SSA judge.
Oftentimes, getting a lawyer involved at the initial stage of application increases the likelihood that your claim will be accepted on the first try. If you have already tried to apply for benefits but were denied, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
HOW DISABILITY LAWYERS GET PAID
The number one reason why people do not contact attorneys when applying for disability is because they are afraid of how much it will cost them. Most people are shocked to discover that they do not pay up front for their attorney’s legal fees.
Lawyers are paid only up to 25% of just the retroactive benefits that are due to the claimant, up to a maximum of $6,000—benefits that are owed from the time the disability began up to the present when the application is accepted. [Note: The SSA will increase this amount for cases decided on or after December 1, 2022 to $7,200.] If the application is denied, then you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge. It is highly recommended that you have an attorney present who can help with this complicated litigation process.
[In certain circumstances, if there are no retrievable retroactive benefits to be paid back to a claimant, which also pays the attorney for their work and time, an attorney’s fee may be requested at the start. For example, if you are already receiving benefits but SS is trying to terminate them.]
Please call to schedule a free consultation. There are no fees involved with this first step, and you will pay nothing out-of-pocket for legal representation to apply for benefits. Answers to your questions can be provided right over the phone at no charge.
email: michael@MichaelLevinEsq.com | tel: (508) 347-1048 | fax: (774) 243-2684