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Social Security Disability Attorney In Los Angeles


This is NOT legal advice. This blog provides general information about Social Security Disability cases. To discuss your particular

circumstances and claim, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please feel free to contact Disability Advocates Group at (800) 935-3170

or online if you have any questions regarding your Social Security Disability claim.


Worried about social security benefits? Here’s a few things to consider before retirement.

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We all have heard this before, you are only able to claim your social security benefits after 62. That is the earliest age and if you are anywhere between the 60 – 70 years mark, it makes you eligible. Since you have so many options, one wrong step could cost you hundreds of dollars in your SSDI or SSI payments. Here’s a few tips to consider to strategize the time and claims of your application to make life after retirement as secure as it can get:

  • Maximize benefits: You can do this by delaying your social security as much as you can unless you really need it. You can start your benefits 3 months early than age 62 that is if you are currently 61 years and 9 months old. If you are not really disabled or in urgent need of that money, you can delay claiming your benefits as they would only increase overtime with the tax deductions made through your income.
  • Minimize losses: You can do this by drafting out the best social security disability plan.

It may be that you are an adult with not enough income resources, and may not qualify for social security disability (SSDI) since you have not been paying taxes regularly through your paycheck deductions for social security disability insurance (SSDI) payments. Said the case, you will become qualified under the supplemental security income (SSI) program since you are a person with limited income resources.

 Your best strategy before claiming any of the above mentioned benefits before retirement would be to know which do you qualify under. You can contact our attorneys directly at our Disability Advocates Group Law Firm (DAG) or you can read more on how to successfully apply for your benefits here.

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What are the Differences Between SSI and SSDI?

The Social Security Administration provides different options for disabled individuals to receive benefits. Two primary programs run by the Social Security Administration include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Because both SSI and SSDI can provide for you if you are disabled, you need to understand the differences between the programs and decide which makes sense for you. A Los Angeles Social Security disability benefits lawyer can assist you in understanding each program and applying for the correct one for your circumstances.

Key Differences Between SSI and SSDI

The key differences that you should be aware of between SSI and SSDI include the following

  • SSDI requires you to have earned work credits, while SSI does not require a work history.
  • SSI is means tested, while SSDI isn't. You can qualify for SSI only if you have a limited income and limited assets while you can qualify for SSDI even if you have money and property. 
  • SSDI benefits are based on your past wages, while SSI benefits are not. You'll receive a larger benefit from SSDI if you paid a lot into the system. 

A Los Angeles disability benefits lawyer can assist you in carefully considering both SSI and SSDI to determine what program to apply for and can help you to apply for the program that is right for you. Proving that you are disabled enough to qualify for either program can be challenging, so you'll want to ensure you get legal help as soon as possible if you are disabled and hope to apply for benefits.

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Why should I apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits?

SSDI provides a regular monthly payment for individuals who have become disabled.  There are also other benefits that you can receive along with this monthly payment.

· Medicare Benefits: Regardless of your age, you are eligible to receive Medicare benefits 24 months after your date of entitlement of SSDI benefits.
· COBRA Extension: If you receive SSDI benefits, the length of your COBRA benefits may be extended an additional 11 months.
· Dependent Benefits: If you receive SSDI benefits any dependents under the age of 18 may also be eligible for benefits.

If you have become disabled and are no longer able to work, you should apply for SSDI benefits immediately.  As the process can be long and complicated, you should consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability benefits.  If you have any questions regarding your current or potential Social Security Disability claim, please contact us.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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I applied for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI or SSI) and I just got a denial letter, what should I do?

The first thing that you should do is appeal the denial.  Many of our clients come to us after months or years of applying and reapplying for benefits because they did not know that they could appeal the denial.  If you are denied, you have 60 days to appeal the decision.  You should immediately begin the appeal process once you have received the denial letter.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding your denial letter or the appeals process, you should contact an attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability benefits.

If you need an attorney who is experienced in representing clients seeking SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE (SSDI) or SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI) benefits, contact Disability Advocates Group today at (800) 935-3170, or online to schedule a free initial consultation.

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SSDI: The truth behind the mischaracterizations

This is a great article discussing how important SSDI is to disabled people and how the recent media stories have painted a highly inaccurate picture of the program:

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/215601-ssdi-the-truth-behind-media-and-political-mischaracterizations

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The wait period for SSDI or SSI hearings has increased dramatically

New reports show that as of 2012 the processing time for a hearing before an ALJ for a Social Security Disability hearing has crept up to 400 days.  This is an incredibly long amount of time for disabled individuals to wait for a decision by an ALJ on their Social Security Disability claim.  Unfortunately, this has caused severe strain on these individuals and their families.  This is also coupled with the fact that approval ratings have gone down.  In 2005, the approval rating for ALJs was 72 percent whereas in 2013 the approval rating was 56%.  Given these numbers, if you are disabled and no longer able to work, you should contact an attorney that has experience practicing before the Social Security Administration immediately.

For more information, click here:  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-social-security-judges-rubber-142057018.html

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Getting Both SSI and SSDI

You may be eligible for both SSI and SSDI benefits if you meet certain qualifications. This is known as concurrent benefits. If you are a disability recipient who is currently getting a low monthly payment (which typically happens if you have made low wages or haven't worked in recent years), you may be eligible to get concurrent benefits.

To receive SSI on top of SSDI, the applicant's unearned income must be less than $721 per month. The income limits can be very complex, and that's why it's so important to retain a disability attorney with experience in the field. In addition to income limits, SSI has asset limits. If you have worked in a job that paid taxes into Social Security which qualified you for SSDI and your assets and income are low enough to get SSI, it's likely you will be able to receive concurrent benefits.

Bear in mind that to calculate your eligibility for SSI, your monthly disability payment is factored in. In some cases, that payment is high enough to disqualify you from getting concurrent benefits. If you are getting a disability payment less than $721 a month, however, you can get both benefits at the same time.

The application and evaluation process for getting benefits is the same whether you are applying for SSI, SSDI, or both. Your income and assets will be reviewing in the same manner and the category of your claim has no impact on the claim processing. The definition of disability remains the same for both programs.

There are a few benefits to getting concurrent payments. If you are receiving disability less than $721 a month, your benefit could be increased up to this amount. You also may be eligible for Medicare as an SSDI recipient, but you should know that taking advantage of this requires waiting two years after you became eligible for SSDI. Most SSI recipients are only eligible for Medicaid. Although Medicaid tends to cover, on the surface, more services than Medicare, more doctors are open to taking payments from Medicare, making it easier to find a health professional. As you can tell, the process can be complicated. Obtain an SSDI attorney sooner rather than later to get your questions answered.

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Getting SSDI For Fibromyalgia

A recent study in Arthritis Care and Research highlighted the experience of fibromyalgia patients applying for Social Security Disability Income. Although diagnostic procedures have increased in specificity, it has been a slow road for fibromyalgia patients to receive SSDI benefits. 

The study looked at 2,321 patients over a period of four years, finding that approximately 35 percent of those patients were currently receiving disability benefits. Those patients with rheumatoid arthritis with concomitant fibromyalgia, were, on the whole, more successful at obtaining benefits: nearly 56 percent of those patients were on disability at the time of the research study. Researchers determined that the strongest predictor of receiving disability benefits for fibromyalgia patients was their level of functionality. 

Some patients might apply for disability benefits and simply get frustrated with the red tape surrounding them after an initial denial. If your condition prevents you from working, you need to speak with a disability attorney to have your case evaluated. As more research comes forth about the impacts of fibromyalgia, you need to count on legal representation that knows the ropes. Don't give up on your claim if you have initially been denied. An experienced disability benefits lawyer will work with you to complete your appeals paperwork, answer your pertinent questions about the disability application process and receiving disability, and can even represent you at hearings. 

Entering into the world of applying for SSDI benefits can be overwhelming and confusing. Too many patients give up after they have gone through the application process, possibly losing out on important disability benefits that could make their life and their family's life much easier. If you are looking at a denied claim and wondering about your options, contact an SSDI attorney to discuss your individual case. You may be eligible for disability benefits and should consult with an attorney about the best way to get them. 

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Waiting for Social Security Disability….

There are so many stories in the news that focus and highlight the people who abuse the Social Security Disability system.  While I am confident that such abusers exist, the news should also show the other side of the story.  So many individuals face so many difficulties while waiting for their Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI or SSI) to be awarded and paid to them.  They face foreclosure, bankruptcy, mounting medical bills.  These individuals are forced to take loans from family and friends, sell all their property, move into their cars just to feed themselves or their family.  This is the side of the story that we see in our offices so often but so rarely on the news.

 

http://www.theledger.com/article/20140215/NEWS/140219375/1338/news00?p=1&tc=pg

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What is the process for determining whether you qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI or SSI) benefits?

Many people applying for Social Security Disability benefits are confused about the process the Social Security Administration (SSA) goes through in order to determine whether someone is eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. The Social Security Administration has actually laid out specific steps that they follow to determine if someone is disabled and therefore qualifies for SSD benefits. In this post, I provide a simplified description of the sequence of steps the SSA takes to evaluate whether you are disabled per Social Security’s regulations.


1.    Did you earn more than a specific amount of money since your alleged onset date of disability (the date that you claimed you became disabled)?
In this first step, the SSA will obtain a report of your earnings to determine if you have earned money since the day you claimed you became disabled. If you have earned money since the day you claim you became disabled, the SSA will look to see if the average monthly amount you earned is more than the SGA or the Substantial Gainful Activity amount for that year. This is the maximum monthly amount of money you can earn while still being eligible for SSD benefits during that period of time. This amount changes from year to year. For 2012, for example, the SGA amount is $1010 per month if you are not blind and $1690 per month if you are blind. As I mentioned, the SGA amount differs each year and you can determine the SGA amount for each year by going to the SSA.GOV website (http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html).

In general, if your average monthly earnings exceed the SGA amount for that particular year, then the SSA will determine that you are not eligible for SSD benefits. There are certain exceptions that apply to this rule and if you have been denied on this basis, you should contact an attorney experienced in handling Social Security Disability claims. If you have not earned more than the SGA amount, then SSA will move your claim to Step 2.

2.    Is the claimant’s condition “severe”?

The second step is to determine if your condition is “severe.” SSA defines a condition as “severe” if it has more than a minimal effect on your ability to do basic work activities. This is a very low threshold to meet as most impairments will have some effect on a person’s ability to perform basic work-related activities, even if the condition does not completely prevent work activities. If your condition is considered “severe”, then the SSA will progress your claim to Step 3.

3.    Does your condition meet a medical listing?

The third step in the process is to determine if your medical condition meets a medical listing. In order to meet a medical listing, specific criteria must be met which deem the condition (in and of itself) severe enough to automatically warrant SSD benefits. The SSA maintains a list of such medical conditions for each major body system, all of which can be found on the SSA website. If your condition meets a medical listing then you are considered disabled for purposes of SSD benefits. In some cases, people applying for SSD may not see their condition(s) specifically acknowledged by the SSA as a potential medical listing. In such a situation, the SSA will determine if your condition is equivalent in severity to a related medical condition that is actually on the list.
Even if their condition is listed, however, most people applying for SSD do not have a condition(s) severe enough to automatically qualify for benefits via a medical listing. If your condition does not meet a medical listing all is not lost. If your condition does not meet or equal a medical listing, the SSA will move to Step 4.

4.    Can you perform past relevant work?

If your condition does not meet or equal a medical listing, the SSA will then determine whether you are capable of performing “past relevant work.” “Past relevant work” is work performed within the previous 15 year period, assuming that it lasted long enough to be learned and was substantial gainful activity (SGA). If the answer is no (you cannot return to any past relevant work) the SSA will proceed to Step 5.

5.    Can you perform other work?

If it is determined that you cannot perform your past relevant work, the SSA will try to determine whether there is any other work you could reasonably do based on your age, education, and transferability of job skills. This decision will also be based on your residual functional capacity. This term refers to what tasks and skills an individual can still perform despite the functional limitations and restrictions caused by the physical and/or mental impairments stemming from a documented medical condition. The types of jobs that SSA can determine you are capable of performing diminishes with older age, less education and less previous work experience. That means that the older you are, the less education you have and the less previous work experience you have, the more difficult it is for the SSA to determine that there is other work that you can do. If you are unable to perform any past relevant work or any other work (based on your age, education and work experience), then you should be approved for Social Security Disability benefits.

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Disability Advocates Group is a law firm dedicated to serving individuals who have become disabled and are seeking to obtain the benefits they need and deserve. At Disability Advocates Group, we specialize in representing disabled clients in their claims for Social Security Disability Benefits.

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