If your disability claim was denied and you don’t understand why, you should hire a Social Security disability lawyer to re-evaluate your claim and let you know what went wrong. At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, our personal injury lawyers have represented enough disability claims to know what the reviewers are looking for – and we can help ensure that your information is presented in the most effective manner in order for your claim to succeed.
Types of Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability is a program of the Federal Government designed to provide monthly payments to disabled individuals in two distinct categories:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Both programs require proof of a disability. However, the difference between the two programs is SSI exists for disabled people in financial need and SSD serves disabled workers who have paid into the Social Security system through prior work.
Supplemental Security Income benefits are paid to individuals who are poor and disabled, regardless of whether the applicant has worked in the past. Benefits are available to both adults and children.
Social Security Disability benefits are paid to individuals who have earned wages and paid into the Social Security system in at least 20 of the last 40 quarters. In order to qualify for SSD, you must be totally disabled – meaning that you are not capable of performing any job due to your disability.
Why Disability Claims Get Denied
Not surprising, two-thirds of all initial claims for disability benefits are denied, even those that have all the correct information. There can be several reasons why your Social Security disability claim was denied. Some of the more common reasons include:
- Your disability is based on substance abuse, such as alcoholism
- You earn too much money
- You will be temporarily disabled, such as being out of work for a couple of months
- You didn’t follow your doctor’s orders
- You didn’t follow directions when filling out the claim
- A lack of sufficient treatment records
- Your disability is linked to a criminal conviction
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Social Security Disability Lawyers
How Much Does a Social Security Lawyer Cost?
Those who are thinking about filing a claim for Social Security Disability have a big decision to make. Should you hire an attorney or try to win your case on your own? Many disabled people actually hold off on asking for legal help because they think it would be too expensive for them.
In reality, it is not expensive at all. Social Security lawyers are paid differently than other legal professionals since most work on a contingency basis.
“Contingency” means that you do not have to pay upfront for the Social Security lawyer’s services. In fact, you do not have to pay at all unless your case is successful. This is great news for people suffering from a disability who cannot afford to pay for legal services.
So how does a social security lawyer get paid? It depends on what you and your attorney agree on. In most cases, it will be up to 25 percent (or $6,000, whichever is lower) of your backpay.
What is the Average Payout for Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability (SSD) payments are not the same for everyone. What you will receive is based upon how much in Social Security taxes you have paid over your lifetime. The severity of your disability does not play a factor in this total.
Your earnings are calculated based on what is called your “average indexed monthly earnings.” These earnings are averaged out to determine what amount of SSD you will receive.
While your Social Security benefits may vary, the average amount paid out to individuals is $1,259 every month (as of 2022). The annual total of these benefits is $15,108, just above the federal poverty level. If you are blind, you may receive more per month.
Payments will come every month until you are no longer disabled or you reach the age of 65. Once you reach 65, your retirement savings can take over.
What Not to Say at a Social Security Disability Hearing
After months of waiting, it is normal to approach your Social Security hearing with a bit of anxiety. This phase will determine whether you can get the payments you need to survive or you must continue fighting the system.
Since so much of your future is riding on the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) assigned to hear your case, you have many concerns. You may especially worry whether you will say the right things when asked questions about your disability.
Here is a list of six rules to go by when speaking to an ALJ at your hearing:
- Do not exaggerate the amount of pain you are in everyday
- Do not minimize your disability
- Do not say you can do normal everyday activities, like going for walks or doing laundry
- Do not say you are not being treated for your disability
- Do not say you cannot find a job because no one will hire you
- Do not admit to any drug history
What Kind of Questions Does Social Security Disability Ask?
After your Social Security has been denied the first time, if you choose to appeal, your next step will be to go before an administrative law judge. During this hearing, you will be asked a series of questions about your living situation. The judge will use this information to determine whether he or she believes you should be approved for Social Security Disability.
After a few basic questions, like your name, age, and address, the judge will move on to getting to know what your life is like with your disability. These types of questions can include:
- Do you currently have a job?
- Have you worked since you became disabled?
- Have you tried any treatments for your ailment?
- What challenges does your disability create?
- Does your disability make it challenging to take care of yourself?
- How much weight can you lift?
- Can you drive?
Our Social Security Disability Lawyer is Ready to Help
If you have been injured or ill and are unable to return to work, you’re going to need to apply for Social Security disability. But don’t fill out that form on your own! Instead, hire a Social Security disability lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today and we’ll make sure you get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us now for a free consultation. We have offices in Philadelphia, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pittsburgh and many more.