Marasco & Nesselbush SSDI Attorneys in Massachusetts
Adjusting to a new way of life after becoming disabled may be an extremely stressful and overwhelming process. Day-to-day activities that may have previously seemed mundane and were taken for granted may now pose a considerable challenge. In many cases, a disabled person is no longer able to return to their previous job. This may mean that their financial future, as well as their ability to provide for even basic needs, is in jeopardy. All of these factors can put a disabled person under soul-crushing psychological and emotional stress.
SSDI Can Protect Your Financial Future
Thankfully, our laws and state provide ways for the disabled to secure their financial future. One of them is Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI. While Social Security is perhaps most-readily associated with retirement benefits, the program includes financial benefits for those who are no longer able to work and provide financially for themselves and their families due to a disability.
How Marasco & Nesselbush Can Help You
If you or a family member have recently become disabled and are not able to return to work, you should know that you don’t have to face this difficult situation alone. Marasco & Nesselbush Social Security Disability attorneys in Massachusetts can help you in this trying time to regain your financial independence to the greatest degree possible for your unique circumstances. We have helped many people in situations similar to yours, and we have an excellent record of successful cases. We are confident that we can help you and your family as well.
Our Massachusetts SSDI attorneys will provide comprehensive legal care and guidance on your SSDI case. Working with us gives you a much greater chance of being granted benefits from the very first application you submit. We will be there for you at every stage of the application process, offering our counsel and providing thourough representation of your interest whenever it is needed. It is true that your future may seem bleak right now and we can sympathize with your plight. However, with our help, your situation can turn around. Please contact Marasco & Nesselbush Social Security Disability attorneys in Massachusetts now to obtain a free consultation on your case and review all options currently available to you.
SSDI in Massachusetts
Approximately 4.5 percent of the 4 million residents of Massachusetts receive monthly Social Security benefits due to physical or psychological disability. Thousands more apply for SSDI every year. According to some estimates, the approval rate for SSDI applications at the hearing stage in Massachusetts is 47%. This rate is slightly higher than the national average of 46% but still means that more than 1 in every two people applying will be denied benefits.
Who May Qualify for Benefits?
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, the applicant needs to fulfill a set of specific requirements. First and foremost, a person applying must be insured for benefits. This means that they must have worked between 5 and 10 full years during which time they paid into the Social Security system. An applicant must also be younger than the full retirement age and have a Social Security-defined disability. The disability may be either physical or psychological. In any case, the disability is expected to last at least 12 months and to prevent the applicant from engaging in their previous employment and adjusting to other types of work.
The SSDI Application Stages in Massachusetts
In order to begin the application process for SSDI benefits, a candidate needs to submit an application. This can be done either online, by phone, or in person at a local Social Security Office. A list of Social Security Offices in Massachusetts can be found here. The application must contain all pertinent medical documentation proving the type and extent of the disability.
When an Application is Denied
According to data from 2012, only about a third of all applications are approved on the initial review by the Social Security Administration (SSA). If an applicant is denied benefits after submitting an application, there is a series of appeals they can take advantage of in the following order.
The first appeal to make if your application is denied is called reconsideration. This needs to be initiated within 60 days of denial. During reconsideration, the applicant may present additional medical evidence and ask that their case be reviewed by another Social Security worker. If that social security worker also denies the application it’s time to take the next step in the appeals process.
Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge
If the reconsideration stage ends in denial, the applicant may request a hearing with the administrative law judge (ALJ). Again the applicant needs to do this within the period of 60 days after the reconsideration denial. Failing to do so within this time limit will prevent the applicant from appealing any further. The hearing before an ALJ is usually preceded by a long waiting period. In the State of Massachusetts, the waiting period can take between 387 to 430 days. The agency that schedules the hearing is called the Office of Disability and Adjudication Review (ODAR). At the hearing, apart from ALJ, the applicant’s case will be reviewed by a medical expert and a vocational expert. The applicant may choose to be represented by a lawyer. Both the applicant and his representative, as well as the ALJ assigned to the case, will have the opportunity to review and examine all the evidence as well as ask questions to witnesses. After the hearing, the applicant will wait for the ALJ’s decision between two and three months. This is the stage of the appeals process most likely to result in acceptance of your claim.
Appeals Council Review
If an administrative law judge denies the applicant Social Security benefits, they have 60 days to appeal that decision to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council may either immediately deny the appeal or decide to reconsider the case. If reconsideration is granted, new evidence may be submitted, especially regarding any mistakes or procedural errors committed by the ALJ. As a result, the Appeals Council may send the case back for an ALJ review or completely overturn the previous ALJ’s decision.
If the Appeals Council denies the application, the last means of appeal available to the applicant is to request a hearing before a Federal Court. Again, the applicant has 60 days to file a request for a Federal Court review of their case.
Do I Need Attorney for my SSDI Case?
While it is technically true that a person may choose to file and defend their SSDI application by themselves, being represented by a professional Social Security Insurance attorney provides great benefits for the applicant and greatly increases their chance for a successful resolution at every stage of the SSDI case. First of all, a skilled attorney will help you to prepare the initial application in compliance with all requirements. This will ensure that you are not denied because of a simple error or procedural mistake. In addition, your attorney will help you gather all the necessary medical documentation and present it in the most convincing way, further increasing your chances of success.
If your application is denied at the initial stage and the reconsideration does not bring a satisfactory outcome either, your attorney will represent you at the hearing before an administrative law judge. He or she will also thoroughly prepare you for the questions that the ALJ or the accompanying experts may ask you. Moreover, your attorney will be able to cross-examine and counter the arguments presented by the medical and vocational experts as well as obtain helpful testimony from you and other witnesses during the hearing. Finally, if your case is denied by the ALJ and the Appeals Council, your attorney will even be ready to represent you before a Federal Court.
Can I Afford a Lawyer?
For persons who have recently become disabled, money is one of the most pressing concerns. Medical bills may keep piling up while sources of income keep dwindling. Even though the benefits of hiring an SSDI attorney to assist with the process are clear, a recently disabled person who has suddenly lost their source of income may feel that they can’t afford to hire one. Marasco & Nesselbush Social Security Disability attorneys completely understand those concerns. We are happy to inform our potential clients, that we work on contingency fee basis. This means that we charge no out-of-the-pocket expenses for the client at any stage of the SSDI case if we don’t manage to secure a positive outcome. We will only collect our payment if you collect your Social Security Benefits. Our fees will amount to either 25% of the disability back payment or $6,000, whichever is less. In addition, the first consultation with our lawyers is free as well.
If you are adjusting to a new life as a result of disability, you need to take care of your financial future without delay. Contact our SSDI attorneys in Massachusetts now for a free consultation and review of your case.