The Law Office of Norman J. Barilla is very experienced in the representation of individuals who have become disabled because of a serious illness or injury and denied their Social Security disability benefits. Denial of these disability insurance claims creates a severe hardship on individuals who have worked all their life and now, because they can no longer perform their current job or any other job in the workplace, their everyday existence is threatened by the denial of their Social Security disability benefits.
The process of appealing Social Security disability claims is very time consuming and presents numerous problems for individuals seeking award of these disability benefits. Understanding the rules and regulations regarding the Social Security Administration’s system of filing and obtaining approval for disability insurance benefits can become frustrating, overwhelming, and confusing to the persons seeking Social Security disability benefits.
Attorney Barilla and his support staff are very experienced in the representation of cases involving denial of Social Security disability insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income claims. Our knowledge, experience, and persistence, in obtaining a favorable outcome for those individuals who are in need and should be awarded their Social Security disability insurance benefits, shows our concern and dedication to the people who seek our services.
Why should I hire an Attorney?
If your claim was denied or your benefits were terminated, you may want to hire an attorney. Hiring an attorney is not required to file an appeal but doing so could mean the difference between winning your appeal or not. We can help with your SSD benefits appeal by assisting you with:
- Gathering medical records and reports
- Gathering evidence particular to your claim
- Gathering documents from your Social Security file
- Determining the best course of action for your claim based on Social Security regulations
- Talking with your physician about your condition(s)
- Suggesting a "second opinion" on your condition by having the Social Security Administration send you to a doctor
- Reviewing prior actions taken by the Social Security Administration
- Providing helpful advice to you on how to prepare for your Social Security hearing.
- Providing legal counsel at the hearing to ensure a fair and proper procedure
- Reviewing, objecting to, or making changes to the written questions being sent to a doctor by the Administrative Law Judge
- Making sure the Social Security Administration gives you your correct benefit payment, if your claim is approved
- Requesting a review of the hearing decision by the Social Security Administration Appeals Council
- Requesting a review of the Social Security Administration Appeals Council decision by the Federal District Court
How are Legal Fees paid?
You pay legal fees only if we are successful in getting your Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. The fees to the lawyer are paid from the retroactive benefits paid to you. Retroactive benefits begin from the point you are first eligible for benefits to the date your claim was approved.
Legal fees are set by the Social Security Administration and are generally based on a percentage of your retroactive benefits up to a maximum dollar amount.
Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability?
To qualify for Social Security disability, you’ll need to have worked long enough at a job in which you paid Social Security taxes. You can earn a maximum of four credits for each year you work. In general, you need 40 credits to receive disability benefits, and 20 of those credits need to be earned in the last 10 years before you become disabled. Younger workers may qualify for disability benefits with fewer credits.
In addition, your health must fit specific requirements. Your medical condition must have been sustained for at least a year, or be expected to last at least one year, or be expected to result in your death.
Your physician may consider you to be disabled, but to receive benefits, your claim will need to be approved by the Social Security Administration. The doctor’s determination is one factor in the determination process, but ultimately it becomes the judgement of the Social Security Administration and their group of authorizing employees.
How Long Does It Take to Apply and Qualify for Social Security Disability?
To complete your Social Security disability application, you will need to provide documents such as:
- A birth certificate.
- W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns for the previous year.
- An adult disability report which lists details about your medical condition and work history.
- Medical evidence such as doctors’ reports and test results.
- Information about workers’ compensation or other benefits.
What Can I Do If My Social Security Disability Claim Is Rejected?
Even if you think you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits, your application may not be accepted right away. It’s very common for individuals to initially receive a denial determination. Applicants can then appeal the decision. We can review your case and determine what other documents or information is needed for Social Security Administration to reevaluate the case. It could take several months to gather more in-depth information, re-submit it, and then wait for a determination.
What Is the Average Social Security Disability Benefit?
If your claim is accepted, you can expect to receive disability checks each month. The amount is based on a calculation of earnings across a worker’s lifetime, just like with Social Security retirement benefits. The average monthly benefit for disabled workers is estimated to be $1,258 for 2020.
Certain factors will not impact the benefit. The amount of a monthly check does not change based on a change in expenses or a change in health circumstances. However, you can expect the amount to be adjusted slightly every year to keep up with inflation.
How Long Can I Receive Disability Benefits?
You can receive Social Security disability benefits as long as you remain disabled. The Social Security Administration periodically reviews claims, and if your condition improves, it could be determined that you no longer meet the criteria for benefits and your payments could be suspended.
If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits and reach full retirement age, your benefits won’t stop. The name changes from ‘disability benefits' to ‘retirement benefits,' and the benefit amount remains exactly the same. Basically, the disability benefit stops and is replaced by the retirement benefit.
Can I Return to Work While Receiving Disability Benefits?
You can work for a nine-month trial period and receive full benefits regardless of how much you earn. Each month in which you earn $910 or more counts as a trial work month in 2020. When the nine-month trial period ends, during the next 36 months you’ll be able to receive full benefits for any month in which you earn less than $1,260 in 2020, or $2,110 if you are blind. If you earn more than these earnings thresholds, you will not get disability benefits for that month. However, if your disability payments stop due to substantial earnings, you may qualify for expedited reinstatement if your health condition makes you unable to continue working.