Get Help from One of Our Quincy, MA Social Security Disability Lawyers
Marasco & Nesselbush Social Security Disability lawyers in Quincy, MA, are committed to delivering outstanding results for those looking for help obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.
We have helped thousands of people win their SSDI cases. Having us at your side will increase your chances of a successful outcome to your case at every stage of the application and appeals process.
We offer each case and each applicant not only the best of our abilities and experience, but also a personal and empathetic approach. Please don’t leave your financial future and security to chance – contact us today to obtain a free consultation on your case and a thorough analysis of all the options available to you.
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SSDI vs SSI – What’s the Difference?
Both Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income are federal programs designed to provide financial assistance for those who are unable to work due to a disability. Both programs are managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, while SSDI is funded by the Social Security trust fund, the funding for SSI comes from the U.S. Treasury general fund.
This seemingly technical difference has practical consequences for people who would like to apply for one of the two programs. Because SSDI is funded by Social Security, one of the requirements to obtain these benefits is that the applicant needs to have a strong work history prior to becoming disabled. In order to be eligible for SSDI, he or she must have worked at least five to ten full years during which time he or she paid into Social Security.
The Supplemental Security Income program, on the other hand, does not require applicants to have paid into Social Security. Rather, in order to qualify, the applicant must be unable to work due to a long-term disability and must have few personal assets and very low or no income.
How to Apply
Even though the application process can be complicated and involve multiple stages, the first part is relatively simple – you need to file a formal application. There are three ways to do this. You can fill out the application online, apply by phone, or apply in person at one of your local Social Security offices.
Is There a Way to Increase Your Chances?
On average, 70% of all applications for Social Security Disability benefits are denied. There are two things to keep in mind about this fact.
First, if you are among the 70% who are denied benefits on the first try, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t qualify for SSDI or SSI, and there are many levels of appeal that you can make after this first decision.
Second, the fact is that not everyone who applies will obtain benefits so it’s important to do all you possibly can to increase your chances of getting the benefits you deserve. Is there a proven way to do so? Yes, there is! Statistics show that those who choose to be represented by an experienced Social Security Disability attorney have much higher chances of winning their cases. You can choose to employ the services of an attorney at any stage of the application or appeals process. However, it is advisable that you do so from the very first application you submit. After all, your financial future and security is not something that should be left to mere chance.
How Can an Attorney Help You?
There are many ways a Social Security Disability Lawyer can help your case and increase your chances of being awarded benefits. You can start working with one right away in the first step of the process – submitting the application. Your attorney will help you present your situation in the most convincing and professional way possible. Thanks to his or her expertise, you will not miss out on your chance to be awarded benefits right at this stage due to some simple procedural error or omission in your application.
If your initial application is denied, you need to prepare yourself for the appeals process. You have sixty days to file an appeal. The appeals process starts with the reconsideration stage when your application is reviewed again by another social worker. You can also present new supporting medical evidence. Your attorney can help you collect and choose additional medical documentation or opinions of health care experts and present it in the most favorable light.
Reconsideration often results in denial too. If that happens to your application, again, you will have sixty days to appeal. This time you will need to present your case in a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. During the hearing, a medical expert and a vocational expert may also be present and testify as witnesses. On average, of all the stages of the application and appeals process, the approval rate at the hearing stage is the highest.
In other words, this level of appeal is your best chance for having your application approved. If you are at this stage of the appeals process and haven’t yet consulted an SSD attorney, this is definitely the time to do so. Your attorney will not only prepare you for the questions of the ALJ, but can also elicit favorable testimony from you during the hearing itself. In addition, your attorney can cross-examine the medical and the vocational experts and counter their arguments.
There is usually a long waiting time before the hearing. The national average wait is 18 months. However, the average waiting time in the state of Massachusetts is 14 months and various local hearing offices may differ. For example, the nearest hearing office to Quincy, the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in Boston, has an average hearing waiting time of 12 months and an average processing time of 424 days. Though, after reviewing your case, your lawyer may find that you may qualify for an expedited or faster decision.
Appeals Council and Federal Court
If an Administrative Law Judge denies your claim, you still have two ways of appealing the decision. First, you may appeal the decision of the ALJ to the Social Security Appeals Council which will check if the ALJ committed any procedural errors or omissions. The Appeals Council may remand your case for another hearing. If the Council denies your appeal then the last available appeal is to file your case with the Federal Court. Your attorney will be prepared to represent your interests with the same level of commitment even at this stage.
Who Can Apply for SSDI and SSI?
As mentioned above, the specific requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security income differ. When it comes to the former, the Social Security Administration states that the applicant must meet the following general requirements:
- be insured for benefits
- be younger than full retirement age
- have a Social Security-defined disability that may result in death and/or that is expected to last for at least 12 consecutive months
When it comes to the last requirement, the Social Security Administration provides 14 listings of physical and mental impairments that may become a basis for claiming disability benefits. However, the impairment must preclude a person from engaging in what is called substantial gainful activity. In simple terms, the disability must prevent a person from earning enough money to sustain themselves and/or their family.
The requirements for SSI eligibility are as follows:
- be legally blind or disabled
- have few personal assets (less than $2000 or $3000 in case of couples)
- have little or no income
If you are unsure whether you qualify for one of the programs mentioned above, the best solution would be to contact Marasco & Nesselbush Social Security Disability lawyers in Quincy, who will review your circumstances and provide all the necessary information you need.
We Work on a Contingency Fee Basis
At our Quincy office, the initial consultation is always free. But that’s not all – if you decide to work with us, there will be no out-of-the-pocket expenses for you throughout the whole SSD application process. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis which means that we will only collect our fees if you are awarded the benefits. Don’t leave your future financial security to chance, call Marasco & Nesselbush today!