If you’re on the path to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits but don’t know where to start, an SSI disability attorney may be the key to winning the benefits you deserve. A good place to start before you retain a lawyer is to learn as much as you can about the process of gaining SSI disability benefits. Here at Affleck and Gordon, we’re here to provide you not only with legal representation in your SSI disability claim, but also to help answer your questions about what comes next. We provide free claim evaluations and are only paid if we win your case.
What is SSI disability?
According to the Social Security Administration, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI disability programs are the two largest federal programs providing assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration for people with disabilities that meet certain medical criteria. Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are "insured," meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. Supplemental Security Income pays benefits based on financial need. If you are applying for SSI, you have limited income and resources and have not paid enough into Social Security to be eligible to receive benefits directly from Social Security. SSI is instead funded by taxpayer dollars.
Why do I need an SSI disability attorney?
Let’s start with what it would be like to apply for SSI disability without an attorney. First, you would be responsible for all documentation and research regarding your own case. You would need to file all your initial documents and attach the most important medical records to your file. This would include knowing the right documents to fill out, handling your own medical history and records and choosing the right information needed for your claim, and dealing with the Social Security Administration on your own.
If you’re building your own file, you’ll need to include the right information needed, not just everything you have. Often people handling their own claim can be overwhelmed with the system and give up when deadlines, requirements, or incomplete details are missed by accident. If a denial comes through at the initial claim, many people give up, not knowing that denials are very common in the early stages. Having an attorney to help you navigate the system puts you at an extreme advantage over doing things yourself. Here’s how.
Having an SSI attorney gives you these advantages:
- Your SSI attorney will communicate with the SSA on your behalf.
- Your SSI attorney will help build your file with the right information.
- Your SSI attorney will connect the symptoms of your disability to the letter of the law, to best help you win benefits.
- If you are denied and need to appeal, your SSI attorney knows exactly how to strengthen your claim.
- The SSA will take your case more seriously if you are represented by an SSI attorney.
With an SSI attorney on your side, your legal team will communicate with the SSA on your behalf. There’s no need for you to visit an SSA office in person. Your SSI lawyer will also know exactly what medical records are needed for your file. They are skilled and experienced at connecting your medical symptoms to the realities of your new life, living with a disability, and how that fits in with the law. In addition, an SSI attorney represents you before the administrative law judge.
Let’s face it: legal proceedings can be complicated. From your initial claim, to a possible denial and a reconsideration, up to a potential hearing with the administrative judge regarding your claim, an experienced SSI attorney will know best how to help you navigate the system.
There are possible issues that only the attorney would know to look for, and only the attorney would know if there are legal issues that need to be fleshed out. Because of the volume of cases handled every year, the Social Security Administration will take your case more seriously if you have an attorney on your side.
Quick Tips on Choosing an SSI Attorney:
- Choose a law firm that specializes in disability.
- Choose a law firm that is local and knows the judges and administrators in your county.
- Choose a law firm with the most experience in SSDI and SSI.
- Choose a law firm that treats you like an individual, not a number.
- An SSI attorney isn’t paid unless they win your case.
Navigating the Social Security Administration and seeking an SSDI or SSI attorney to assist with your claim doesn’t have to be overwhelming. We understand what you’re going through, because we’ve assisted many others win disability appeals. We can help you, too. We can evaluate your claim, help organize the most important facts of your medical history, and help you present a strong, compelling claim. At Affleck and Gordon, we’re the experienced Social Security law firm you need.