Are you eligible for Social Security Disability benefits?
Do you suffer from a health condition that prevents you from working? Do you want to know if you meet Social Security disability eligibility requirements?
At the law firm of Zamler, Mellen and Shiffman we can help you determine whether or not you are eligible. With more than 45 years of experience on our side, you can be confident that we will get you the answers you need. If you do meet Social Security disability requirements, we will help you complete your application.
Our attorneys are available to help people obtain Social Security Disability benefits in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties and the surrounding counties in Michigan.
Do you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?
With over 45 years of experience, our disability attorneys are committed to helping individuals with their claims for Social Security Disability benefits. If you are disabled and have been or are expected to be disabled for 12 consecutive months you may qualify for benefits. If you have reduced your work hours due to medical conditions you may also qualify for benefits.
Disability law and all of the requirements to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits can be confusing. Not only is the law complex, but so is the application process. Our experienced attorneys understand the Social Security regulations and what documentation is needed at the time the initial application is made to increase your chance of being awarded benefits.
If you are disabled and unable to work, it is critical that you file your claim for Social Security Disability immediately. The fact is that about 70 percent of initial social security disability claims get rejected simply because an individual did not file it properly.
Our firm offers online filing, which can be completed in person or by telephone. There is no fee to file the initial application. Prior to filing your online application we will obtain information from you to be used on your application. We will submit all documents required by Social Security to process your claim. While your claim is being processed you will receive questionnaires from Social Security to complete. Our office will answer any questions you have regarding these forms. We will monitor your claim and contact Social Security to ensure that your claim is being processed. If you are denied from the initial application our office will contact you to discuss appealing the denial.
Appealing a Decision
If you did file an application for Social Security Disability on your own and were denied, please contact our office immediately to discuss appealing the denial. A Request for Hearing must be filed within 60 days after the date of the decision.
No Fee Guarantee
We charge no fee unless the claimant is found disabled and receives pastdue benefits. This fee is regulated by the Social Security Administration. If we are not successful in obtaining benefits you will not be charged any fee.
Types of Disability Benefits under the Social Security Act
Five major types of disability benefits are available under the Social Security Act. Each one has its own rules for qualification, which can be complicated. Both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provide benefits. SSDI is based on the applicant’s work history and disability while SSI is based on the applicant’s income and disability, old age or blindness.
- SSDI: Disability Insurance benefits are paid to people who have worked long enough to earn sufficient credits under the Social Security system but are now disabled.
- SSDI: Disabled Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Divorced Spouse benefits are paid to people who meet certain age and other requirements. The deceased spouse must have been insured through his or her work record for the living spouse to qualify for coverage.
- SSDI: Childhood Disability benefits are paid to people who are at least 18 years old and became disabled prior to the age of 22. The payment to the child is based on the earnings record of a qualified parent who is retired, disabled or deceased.
- SSI: Supplemental Security Income benefits are paid to low-income recipients who are disabled, blind or elderly and have limited resources.
- SSI: Child’s Disability benefits are paid to children up to age 18 who are disabled or blind and whose families meet certain criteria concerning income and resources.
The state agency completes the disability decision for Social Security Administration. Doctors and disability specialists in the state agency ask your doctors for information about your condition. They will consider all the facts in your case. They will use the medical evidence from your doctors, hospitals, clinics or institutions where you have been treated and all other information. They will ask your doctors:
- What your medical condition is;
- When your medical condition began;
- How your medical condition limits your activities;
- What the medical tests have shown; and
- What treatment you have received
They also will ask the doctors for information about your ability to do work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying and remembering instructions. Your doctors are not asked to decide if you are disabled. The state agency staff may need more medical information before they can decide if you are disabled. If more information is not available from your current medical sources, the state agency may ask you to go for a special examination. Social Security Administration may prefer to ask your own doctor, but sometimes the exam may have to be done by someone else. Social Security will pay for the examination and for some of the related travel costs.
Social Security Administration uses a five-step process to decide if you are disabled.
1. Are you working?
If you are working and your earnings average more than a certain amount each month, Social Security Administration generally will not consider you disabled. The amount changes each year. For the current figure, see the annual Update (Publication No. 05-10003). If you are not working, or your monthly earnings average the current amount or less, the state agency then looks at your medical condition.
2. Is your medical condition “severe”?
For the state agency to decide that you are disabled, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities – such as walking, sitting and remembering – for at least one year. If your medical condition is not that severe, the state agency will not consider you disabled. If your condition is that severe, the state agency goes on to step three.
3. Is your medical condition on the List of Impairments?
The state agency has a List of Impairments that describes medical conditions that are considered so severe that they automatically mean that you are disabled as defined by law. If your condition (or combination of medical conditions) is not on this list, the state agency looks to see if your condition is as severe as a condition that is on the list. If the severity of your medical condition meets or equals that of a listed impairment, the state agency will decide that you are disabled. If it does not, the state agency goes on to step four.
4. Can you do the work you did before?
At this step, the state agency decides if your medical condition prevents you from being able to do the work you did before. If it does, the state agency will decide that you are disabled. If it does not, the state agency goes on to step five.
5. Can you do any other type of work?
If you cannot do the work you did in the past, the state agency looks to see if you would be able to do other work. It evaluates your medical condition, your age, education, past work experience and any skills you may have that could be used to do other work. If you cannot do other work, the state agency will decide that you are disabled. If you can do other work, the state agency will decide that you are not disabled.
The government ‘s disability benefits come from two sources: 1. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, which is for insured workers (i.e., those covered by Social Security), their disabled surviving spouses, and children (if disabled before age 22) of disabled, retired or deceased workers. (A disabled worker may sometimes also collect benefits from workers ‘ compensation insurance; if so, the amount Social Security pays may be reduced accordingly.)
2. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is for people with little or no income or other financial resources.