Get Help from One of Our New London, CT Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Dealing with a disability while trying to get through the complex SSDI application process can feel like an overwhelming task. Pursuing these benefits is often a long and stressful process. The denial rates are high, and the paperwork and bureaucracy can be simply overwhelming. At Marasco & Nesselbush, our attorneys can help you get through this process and give you the best chance of being approved for benefits. Call us today for help. The consultation is free and you’ll pay no legal fees unless we secure benefits for you.
Attorneys Who Understand Your Needs
If you are fighting for your benefits, you don’t have to fight alone. Marasco & Nesselbush Social Security Disability attorneys in New London are ready to provide you with guidance and assistance. We will fully commit to your case and will work hard to present it in the most favorable light at each stage of the application and appeals process. You will be assigned a personal attorney who will take time to get to know you and carefully analyze the unique circumstances of your situation. He or she will always take time to update you on your rights and options, as well as answer any questions or concerns you may have.
How We Can Help
Our SSDI team in New London can help you in the following ways:
- Work with your doctors and other healthcare providers to collect, organize and effectively present supporting medical and legal evidence of your disability;
- Help you fill out your initial application without any formal errors or omissions while presenting your situation in the most favorable way;
- Assist and represent you through the various stages of appeals should your initial application be denied;
- Re-open your old application to reclaim years of retroactive benefits if possible;
- Prepare you for the hearing before the Administrative Law Judge;
- Elicit favorable and persuasive testimony from you during the hearing and cross-examine the medical and vocational experts;
- Ensure that you receive the maximum benefits corresponding to your financial needs and the scope of your disability;
- Ensure that you receive the correct amount of retroactive benefits.
SSDI vs SSI – Which One Should You File For?
While both Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income are managed by the Social Security Administration, there are some key differences between the two programs. The common denominator is that to be eligible for either of the two, the applicant needs to be a disabled person whose disability prevents them from engaging in significant gainful activity. In simple terms, this means that the programs are designed for disabled people with low or no income. However, in order to successfully apply for SSDI, a person must be insured for benefits. This means that they must have worked for a number of years – usually at least 5 to 10 full years – on a job covered by Social Security and have earned a sufficient amount of work credits.
Supplemental Security Income depends primarily on one’s level of income. In order to qualify, the applicant does not have to have a consistent work history or a specific number of work credits. However, their personal financial assets must amount to more than $2,000 (or $3,000 in case of couples) and they must have very little or no monthly income.
If you are unsure which of the two benefits programs you may be eligible for, please contact us for a free consultation on your case and to review the options available to you.
Other SSDI Requirements
Apart from being insured for benefits, an applicant for Social Security Disability Insurance must also be younger than the full retirement age and have a Social Security-defined disability. To have a Social Security-defined disability you must meet two other prerequisites. First, as noted above, the disability must preclude the applicant from engaging in significant gainful activity (SGA). If a person earns more than $1,170 monthly (or $1,950 in the case of a legally blind person) then he or she will normally be considered as engaging in SGA.
Second, the disability must be longstanding and severe. It must be expected to last for at least 12 consecutive months and/or must have the potential to result in death. In addition, the condition must correspond, in its type and severity, to one of the impairments mentioned in the 14 Impairment Listings defined by the Social Security Administration. This list contains the most common physical and mental conditions considered severe enough to prevent one from working. For example, in the State of Connecticut, most of those who receive SSDI were diagnosed with a severe mental condition or a severe disease of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue.
In order to check if your medical condition may give you the basis to apply for SSDI, you may consult the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security handbook issued by the Social Security Administration, also called the Blue Book. However, the best way to review your circumstances and compare them against the SSA requirements is to speak with a disability attorney.
SSDI Application and Appeals Stages
To obtain benefits, a disabled person needs to submit an application to the SSA. This can be done online, via telephone, or in person at a local SSA office. However, the rate of denial of the first application is very high – nationally, about 70% of applications are initially denied. If this happens to you, you have the right to appeal that decision. What follows is a description of the appeals stages of the application process:
- Reconsideration – after a denial of your initial request, you have 60 days to apply for a reconsideration. This means that your application will be reviewed by another Social Security worker;
- Hearing before the Administrative Law Judge – if the reconsideration doesn’t result in the approval of your claim, you have 60 days to request an appeal before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This usually involves a long wait time. You may use this time to prepare well for your hearing. The ALJ will ask you questions about the nature and scope of your disability and your financial situation. Having one of our disability attorneys appear with you at the hearing to represent you will greatly increase your chances of success at this stage;
- Appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council – the purpose of the Appeals Council is to review the decision made by the ALJ with a specific focus on any procedural errors or omissions. The Appeals Council, after an initial review, may choose not to grant you the right to the appeal; if it does, however, they may either remand your case back to the ALJ or even completely overturn the ALJ’s decision;
- Appeal to a Federal Court – filing a case with a federal court is the last available option to appeal a decision regarding your benefits. The help of an attorney at this stage will be critical.
No Benefits – No Fees
If you are wondering whether you can afford a lawyer in your difficult financial situation, we have good news for you. When you decide to meet with our New London disability attorneys, your initial consultation is always free. If you decide to retain us, we will work with you on a contingency fee basis. This means that we will not charge you for our services unless you are granted benefits.