A Miami Social Security Lawyer’s Guide to Understanding and Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits (SSI & SSDI)
If you have suffered from an injury or illness that is expected to impact your life and prevent you from working for at least 12 months, you may be eligible for some form of Social Security benefits. The most common of these benefits is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), although Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is also available.
Table of Contents
- Determining Eligibility For Social Security Benefits
- List of Impairments Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits
- Should You File For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits?
- SSDI Checklist For Applicants
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) May Be An Option
- What To Expect From The Social Security Process
- What To Expect When Applying For Social Security Benefits
- What Happens When A Social Security Disability Claim Is Denied?
- Social Security Appeals Counsel Proceedings
- Handling Your Administrative Law Hearing
At the Law Offices of Stuart Barasch, we have decades of experience handling every aspect of Social Security law. From our Miami, Florida offices, we represent clients nationwide. We are committed to helping people get the benefits they need.
What Do You Need To Know About Social Security Benefits?
If you are seeking Social Security benefits, you probably have questions. First of all, you probably have questions about qualifying for Social Security. We can educate you about Social Security eligibility, providing information about Social Security’s list of impairments and more. No matter what questions you have, you will have an experienced lawyer on your side who will give you the honest answers you need.
Help At All Stages Of The Process
Our lawyers provide assistance through all stages of the Social Security process, including:
- Social Security applications
- Denied Social Security claims
- Administrative law hearings
- Appeals Council
There are two key questions involved in determining whether a person qualifies for Social Security benefits:
- “Were earnings contributed into the Social Security system for a sufficient period of time?”
- “Is the person disabled?”
These may seem like fairly simple questions to answer. However, the majority of people who apply for benefits are denied. This is not necessarily because they are not eligible, but because they have not answered the two questions to the Social Security Administration’s satisfaction.
At the Law Offices of Stuart Barasch in Miami, Florida, we have decades of experience in these matters. We know how to quickly determine whether you are eligible. More importantly, we know how to prove to the Social Security Administration that our clients are eligible.
Did You Contribute To The Social Security System?
In order to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you are required to have worked for a certain period of time and contributed a certain amount in Social Security taxes. If you are not eligible for SSDI, you may still be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Are You Disabled?
To be considered disabled by the Social Security Administration, you must have an injury or illness that is expected to impact your life and prevent you from working for at least 12 months. While your doctor may agree that you are disabled, this may not be enough for the Social Security Administration.
A disability must be on the SSA’s list of impairments. If it is not, the medical documentation must be absolutely clear about how the condition will prevent you from being able to work for a year or more. Our lawyers understand the documentation that the Social Security Administration is looking for — and we take great care to make certain they get it.
List of Impairments Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits
At the Law Offices of Stuart Barasch, we understand that our success requires thorough knowledge of the tools the Social Security Administration uses to determine whether they will provide benefits. One of those tools is the list of impairments.
While having an impairment that is on the list does not necessarily guarantee that benefits will be provided, the ability to show the SSA that a disability is listed among those eligible for benefits can make getting those benefits more efficient.
Is Your Disability On The List?
The impairment list to determine disability covers a significant number of medical conditions. A small sampling of those conditions includes:
- Musculoskeletal system disorders, including some amputations and burns
- Respiratory ailments, such as asthma, emphysema or cystic fibrosis
- Cardiovascular system disorders, including heart conditions such as heart disease
- Mental disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and developmental disorders
- Neurological disorders, including traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy
- Malignant neoplastic diseases, including many forms of cancer
In order to get disability benefits under a listed condition, the medical documentation must show the condition. Many people are denied because of insufficient documentation. Our lawyers use our decades of experience to get results for those with listed conditions.
What If Your Condition Is Not On The List?
Just because your condition is not on the list does not mean you are not eligible. We have the experience and skill to pursue benefits for anyone with any medical condition that prevents gainful employment for one year or longer.
You Pay Us Nothing Unless We Get Benefits For You
In Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases, attorney fees are set by statute and must be approved by the Social Security Administration. You only pay if we get benefits for you.
Should You File For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are available to disabled people who are insured. To be insured, a person must have worked for a sufficient amount of time, paying Social Security taxes into the system.
Unfortunately, getting SSDI benefits is not a simple task. At the Law Offices of Stuart Barasch, our lawyers are available to help people through this complex process.
Decades Of Experience Devoted To Helping You
You want to know that you have someone on your side who has the experience to help. When you choose our law firm, you can be confident knowing that you can rely on Florida attorney Stuart Barasch. He has built a reputation for getting results in even the most challenging cases, including those that other lawyers have turned down.
Have You Just Started, Or Have You Already Been Denied?
If you are just beginning this process, we will review your case to determine whether you are eligible for SSDI. If you are not, you may still be eligible for Supplemental Security Income. We will assist with the application process to make certain it is done accurately.
We understand that many people file their SSDI benefit claims on their own. Frequently, our representation begins after a denial is received. We know the various stages of appeals, and we know how to succeed at these stages. Do not give up. We can help.
Things To Consider When Applying
- If you are currently working full time, you may not wish to apply. But if you have been off work for at least 12 continuous months or more due to a medical condition, applying might be to your benefit.
- You can apply for disability benefits if you have never worked. You may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits, or you may be eligible through a deceased spouse, former spouse or parent.
- If you are under age 45 you probably should not apply, unless you are severely restricted by your medical conditions.
- If you have not seen a doctor recently, you probably should not apply until after you have seen a doctor and discussed your condition. If your doctor tells you that you have a progressive medical condition that significantly interferes with your ability to work for more than a year, you may wish to apply. If this medical condition is expected to last less than a year, you might not.
SSDI Checklist For Applicants
We realize you will have many questions about your application and the Social Security Disability Insurance process. Here is a list of SSDI frequently asked questions and common situations for potential applicants that often come up for our Miami clients.
- Tell your treating doctor that you have applied for disability benefits and ask the doctor to enter your reports of side effects of medication and other symptoms of your condition.
- Ask the doctor to cooperate with your lawyer when your lawyer requests his opinion on how your medical conditions limit or restrict you from performing work activity.
- If you are unsteady on your feet, contact your doctor before you buy a cane. Tell the doctor your symptoms and why you think you need a cane to help you stand or walk. If the doctor agrees, have him or her note in your chart that a cane is medically necessary.
- If you have a heart condition and are prescribed nitrostat (nitroglycerin) for chest pain, every time you take it, write the date on a list or on a calendar and state how many nitro tabs you had to take to relieve the chest pain.
- If you need to remodel your bathroom or bedroom because of your condition, make sure you keep the contractor’s remodeling plan and bill, and give it to your attorney. Even if you don’t remodel, if your condition prevents you from using your home differently because of your condition, make a note of it.
- Do you cry? If you cry, know that you have permission to cry at your hearing. Explain to the judge, after you have calmed yourself, all the reasons why you cry.
- If you have a physical condition that shows on your skin, or is visible to the judge, it should not be covered by clothing (within reason) so that your lawyer can show the judge.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) May Be An Option
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are available to disabled people in need of financial support, regardless of work history and regardless of how much has been paid into the system through Social Security taxes.
While the question of whether you qualify for SSI benefits may be more straightforward than qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, getting these benefits can still be a challenge. At the Law Offices of Stuart Barasch, our Miami-area lawyers are available to help overcome this challenge and get the benefits you need.
Are SSI Benefits Right For You?
In every case, one of the first steps we take is to make certain you are applying for the appropriate benefits. If you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, which offers more significant benefits, our lawyers will make certain that is what you are applying for. SSI, on the other hand, may be available to those who are permanently disabled, blind or over age 65. It is need-based, so you may not be eligible if your income or assets exceed a certain threshold.
You Don’t Have To Go It Alone
Many people begin the process on their own, filing their claim themselves — only to receive a denial. This is often where our attorneys step in. This is where our experience becomes most beneficial, as we work through the various stages of appeals in pursuit of the benefits you need.
In Supplemental Security Income cases, legal fees are determined by statute and must be approved by the Social Security Administration. You only pay if we get benefits for you.
What To Expect From The Social Security Process
When it comes to the Social Security process, one of the first questions that people have is: “How long until I get the benefits I need?”
At the Law Offices of Stuart Barasch in Miami, Florida, we believe in providing honest answers to all questions, including this one. Some cases can be resolved quickly. Some people will start getting benefits in a matter of months. However, the realities of the Social Security process mean that some people may have to wait a matter of years before they start getting benefits.
We Assist You Through All Stages Of The Process
Applying for Social Security is the first step. While many people choose to take this step on their own, our lawyers are available to assist. We appreciate the opportunity to make certain that everything is in order and minimize the chances of the claim being denied.
The majority of applications are denied, but this is where the process really begins. There are several levels of appeals, and we can handle all of them. We are one of the few law firms that actively handles appeals at the highest level, federal district court.
We believe that our experience at the federal district court appeals level makes us better prepared at all levels. In handling these appeals, we see close up the errors made by judges and by our fellow attorneys. We learn from these mistakes. We learn to avoid them, anticipate them and overcome them in order to help people like you get benefits as early as possible.
You Only Pay Our Fees If We Get Benefits For You
In Social Security benefits cases, legal fees are set by statute and must be approved by the Social Security Administration. Therefore, you will only have to pay if we are successful in obtaining benefits for you.
We’re Ready To Start Working With You
Contact the Law Offices of Stuart Barasch to schedule a free consultation to discuss any stage of the Social Security process and how it applies to you. Call our offices at 786-245-6190 or toll free at 888-309-0529.
What To Expect When Applying For Social Security Benefits
Many people choose to complete their Social Security benefits application on their own. This is a fairly straightforward step. It can be completed without the assistance of a lawyer. However, even a minor error can lead to a denial, which can significantly extend the amount of time it takes for a person to get the necessary benefits.
At the Law Offices of Stuart Barasch, we have decades of experience in these matters. We know what the Social Security Administration is looking for on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applications. We are happy to assist from the very beginning. Though we are based in the Miami, Florida, area, we represent clients nationwide, since the Social Security Administration is part of the national or federal government.
How We Assist With The Application Process
The Social Security Administration denies the majority of benefits applications. This can be because the application is filled out incorrectly, or it can be because the medical documentation does not clearly indicate a disability.
When our lawyers assist with the completion of Social Security applications, we take great care to make certain that nothing is missed. Our goal is to get you benefits immediately.
Honest Information About Social Security Applications
An application is a piece of paper; documentation is just documentation. The employees at the Social Security Administration have to review these applications quickly, simply because of the quantity of applications they receive. The combination of these factors means that even the most well-prepared application can result in a denial.
Denied Applications Are Not The End
This is not the end of the process. In fact, we see it as the beginning. We will pursue the various stages of appeals available for denied Social Security claims.
What Happens When A Social Security Disability Claim Is Denied?
The majority of people who apply for Social Security benefits are denied. This is not the end of the process. In fact, at the Law Offices of Stuart Barasch, we see it as the beginning. Our lawyers have decades of experience guiding people through the various levels of Social Security Disability appeals. Working out of offices in Miami Beach, Florida, and Los Angeles, California, we help people nationwide.
The First Appeal: Reconsideration
After an initial denial, the first appeal is reconsideration. Like the application, this is a paperwork-driven process. We make certain that the Social Security Administration has everything they need and we ask them to look at your application again.
The Second Appeal: Administrative Law Hearing
If an application is denied on reconsideration, the next stop is an administrative law hearing. We carefully prepare for this hearing in order to make it clear to the administrative law judge why a person should receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
The Third Appeal: Appeals Council
If benefits are denied by the administrative law judge, the next step is taking the matter to the Appeals Council. This step is paperwork-driven. Our experience allows us to craft appeals that make it clear to the counsel why our clients’ benefits should be approved.
The Fourth Appeal: Federal District Court Appeals
Our law firm has the experience to handle appeals at the federal district court level. These cases are rare, but extremely challenging. Our reputation for success has led to many of these appellate cases being referred to us by other lawyers.
We know this can be a complicated process, so we invite you to contact us about your case. Call our firm today to schedule your no-risk complimentary consultation today. We can be reached toll free at 888-309-0529 or at 786-245-6190.
Social Security Appeals Counsel Proceedings
At the Law Offices of Stuart Barasch, we have the strength and experience to keep fighting for you, even if you are denied Social Security benefits at the administrative law hearing.
The next level is the Appeals Council. With decades of experience on our side, our attorneys know how to handle this level of Social Security appeal. From our offices in Miami, Florida, we help people nationwide.
The Appeals Council Brief
This level of appeal is substantially different than the administrative law hearing. There is no actual hearing at this level. Everything is done on paper.
The Appeals Council brief must be carefully prepared and absolutely precise. It must present a clear and compelling argument as to why a person should receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There is no room for error, as we know that the Appeals Council is moving through these documents at a fast pace. If they see any reason to deny benefits once again, they will. We make it clear that they should not.
Beyond The Appeals Council
The Appeals Council is not the final step. Denied Social Security claims can be further appealed at the federal district court level. These are extremely challenging appeals. However, we have a great deal of experience handling appeals at this level.
Handling Your Administrative Law Hearing
If Social Security benefits have been denied after reconsideration, the next stage of the process is an administrative law judge hearing.
This is the stage of the process where the lawyers at the Law Offices of Stuart Barasch thrive. Through careful preparation and by making a clear argument in front of the administrative law judge, we strive to get people Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits at this level. We have decades of experience that we offer from offices in Miami Beach, Florida, and Los Angeles, California. We help people nationwide.
Preparation Is Critical
When we talk about preparation, of course we are talking about making certain that all of the necessary paperwork and documentation is in order. We are talking about having a strategy in place before we step in front of an administrative law judge.
When we talk about preparation, we also mean preparing you for the hearing. We will guide you through the types of questions that you will be asked by the judge. We will help you prepare your testimony. We will make certain that you walk into the hearing confident that you know what is going to happen and you are well-prepared for it.
We Make One Hour Count
Social Security Disability hearings are scheduled for one hour. We take great care to make that hour count. We guide the hearing as much as we can, in particular by making certain that your testimony is clear, concise, direct and persuasive. There is no time for excess words. We want to make certain that the administrative law judge gets the necessary information.
You Only Pay Our Fees If We Get Benefits For You
In Social Security appeals cases, attorneys fees are set by statute and must be approved by the Social Security Administration. You only pay if we get benefits for you.
Let Us Know How We Can Help You
Contact the Law Offices of Stuart Barasch to schedule a free consultation about administrative law hearings or any other aspect of the Social Security process. Call our offices at 786-245-6190 or toll free at 888-309-0529.