Is It Better to Have a Lawyer For Disability Claims Than Not?
If you are coping with a debilitating illness, disability, or injury, it can be a daily struggle. A serious impairment can happen unexpectedly as the result of an unfortunate accident. If this is true for you, it may have come as a shock, leaving you needing to rearrange your life and adjust to your new circumstances and limitations. In addition to the physical adjustments, you must cope with the emotional impact as well.
If you have an injury that impacts your ability to work, you may be eligible to receive either SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or SSDI (Social Security Disability Income) benefits, depending on your circumstances. These benefits can also extend to a spouse and/or unmarried children.
Starting the process to file for disability in Rhode Island might seem like a daunting task. You may be unsure of where to start, or if you are even eligible to receive these benefits.
Since it can be a long process, it begs the question: is it better to hire a disability lawyer, or handle it yourself? Let’s take a look at the process for filing in Rhode Island and when it might make sense to hire a lawyer.
What is the Process to File for Disability in Rhode Island?
According to Rhode Island law, disability is defined as an “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s).” This disability would need to either last (or be expected to last) for at least 12 months or be expected to end in death.
You can start the application process online, by phone, or at any Social Security office. Some of the documentation needed to apply for Social Security benefits include:
- Medical records
- Hospital and clinic visit dates
- Medication information
- Money earned in the past year
- Jobs held in the last 15 years
After reviewing your application and the details of your case, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office will determine whether you qualify for SSI or SSDI benefits.
What does the DDS office look for to determine Social Security disability?
The DDS office will look at information such as:
- Are you working?
- Is your medical condition “severe?”
- Can you do your previous type of work?
- Can you do a different type of work?
The DDS office will also consider whether or not your disability matches the “listing of impairments” used as a Disability Evaluation for Social Security. Some of these impairments include:
- Mental disorders (like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder)
- Musculoskeletal disorders (like an amputation or spinal curvature)
- Congenital disorders (like Down syndrome or fetal alcohol syndrome)
- Neurological disorders (like epilepsy or Huntington’s disease)
While these disability benefits are in place to provide for those who are unable to work as a result of their illness, injury, or disability, the unfortunate truth is that most of these applications do not end with the applicant receiving coverage.
Rhode Island disability quick facts
In Rhode Island, only 37 percent of disability applications are approved, with the majority being denied or dismissed. Not only that, but the average wait time is 13 months, with a processing time of nearly 1 year, making it difficult for applicants to receive the help they need when they need it.
If the state Disability Determination Office declares you ineligible for disability coverage, you have 60 days to appeal this decision with the Social Security Administration. Don’t give up – disability claims are often denied or dismissed for easily avoidable mistakes or missing information. A disability lawyer can help you strengthen and appeal your case for a better result.
How Working With a Disability Lawyer Can Help
Hiring a lawyer experienced in handling RI disability claims increases your chances of your application being approved. The disability lawyers at Marasco & Nesselbush are familiar with Rhode Island laws, as well as the details surrounding Social Security disability claims.
When you work with a qualified disability attorney, you can feel confident that your application is being filed correctly and that you aren’t missing any important deadlines that could jeopardize your case. Your lawyer will know what information is relevant to include and what the Social Security Administration is looking for, which gives your application a higher chance of approval.
Often, simply having someone on your side who can advocate for your rights can offer a measure of peace of mind and help to reduce the stress of filing an application or starting the appeals process.
Let the Lawyers at Marasco & Nesselbush Help You With Your Disability Claim
You don’t need to face the Social Security Administration alone. You deserve to be heard, and our lawyers at Marasco & Nesselbush can handle your claim with care to give you the best chance at success.
Our lawyers understand how the Social Security application and appeals processes work – we speak their language so you don’t have to worry about learning the new ropes for yourself.
Rather, when you work with us, you will have the time you need for yourself and for your family. We are prepared to do what it takes to fight for you.
The team at Marasco & Nesselbush stands ready to put our wealth of experience and knowledge at work for you today – contact us for a free consultation and case review to learn how we can serve your needs.