An Experienced Baltimore Social Security Disability Attorney Makes a Difference
Did you know that most Social Security disability claims and SSI claims are initially denied? Working with a skilled and experienced Baltimore Social Security disability attorney like Emmett B. Irwin will set you up for success and ensure that the appeals process is completed as quickly as possible if your claim is denied. Many SSI and Social Security disability claims need to have a hearing before an administrative law judge before disability benefits are extended.
Having a Social Security disability lawyer by your side can dramatically increase the likelihood of receiving the compensation that you deserve.
Whether you are preparing to file a Social Security disability claim due to your current circumstances or your claim was denied, you might find yourself questioning whether or not you need a lawyer. If you’re like many Social Security disability claimants, you are also concerned that hiring a lawyer would be cost-prohibitive. Because you will only be charged once Social Security approves benefits, there is little risk to acquiring the best legal representation possible.
About Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSDI is a public benefits program that provides income to those who have recently become disabled and are no longer able to work. In order to qualify, you have to have had a recent work history that is long enough to have paid a sufficient amount of Social Security taxes on your earnings. You cannot qualify for SSDI while you are still working. Generally speaking, most SSDI claims involve people who cannot work at all. However, as your Baltimore Social Security disability lawyer can advise, you may be able to qualify for benefits if you are able to work no more than a few hours per week due to your disability.
Explaining SSDI versus SSI
SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are often confused, likely because both the abbreviations and the benefits are very similar. SSI is paid to those who are 65 or older or are disabled. For those who do not meet the income qualification but are disabled, SSI benefits are typically paid to those who have never been able to work due to a life-long disability or who have an insufficient work history to qualify for SSDI. The benefits paid by SSI are typically less than those paid by SSDI. A Baltimore Social Security disability lawyer can help you determine which benefits you may be entitled to.
Baltimore Social Security Disability Attorney Explains SSAs Definition of Disability
While it may seem obvious to you that you are disabled, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has strict requirements that must be met in order to be considered disabled and therefore eligible for SSDI benefits. For example:
- If your average monthly earnings are more than $1,260.00 per month, the SSA will generally not consider you disabled.
- Your disability must significantly limit your ability to do basic tasks such as sitting, walking, standing, lifting, or remembering for a period of at least 12 months.
- Your disability must prevent you from doing the work you have done previously and there is no other work that you are able to do.
Ultimately, the SSA will make a specific determination in your case as to whether you qualify. For example, they will determine whether your condition “significantly limits” your ability to work or whether there is no other work you are able to do. They will also determine whether you are disabled. The Social Security Administration also maintains a comprehensive list of qualifying disabilities organized by each of the major systems. If your condition is not found on the list, you may still qualify for benefits, but it can be more challenging for the applicant. The bottom line is that the SSA may deny your benefits despite the fact that you are disabled and unable to work. An experienced Baltimore Social Security disability lawyer will know how to build your case so that you can get the benefits you deserve.
Providing the SSA with Qualifying Work History
One of the most confusing aspects of SSDI is whether you have sufficient work history to qualify for benefits. The Social Security Administration uses a complex system of work credits to determine eligibility. You can earn up to four credits per year, based on your total earnings. The amount of earnings required to earn credits can change from year to year. For purposes of disability benefits, you will then need a minimum number of credits depending on your age at the time you became disabled:
- If you are disabled before age 24, you must have earned at least 6 credits in the previous three years from the time you became disabled.
- If you are disabled between the ages of 24 and 31, you may be able to qualify if you have been working for half the time between age 21 and the time you became disabled.
- If you are 31 or older when you become disabled, you need at least 20 credits in the 10-year period immediately prior to your disability.
As you can see, it’s difficult to understand how this may apply in your case. Here are some simplified examples that illustrate the general principles:
- If you are disabled at age 30, you generally need to have worked at least four years since turning 21.
- If you are disabled at age 44, you generally need to have worked at least five years in the last 10 years from the date of your disability.
- If disabled at age 52, you need to have worked at least five years in the previous 10 years from the date of your disability.
These are just general guidelines. If you’ve become disabled, an attorney can review your work history and determine whether you qualify for SSDI benefits.
Building Your Case for Social Security Disability/SSI Benefits
Hiring the right Baltimore Social Security disability lawyer is key to the success of your claim. We always begin by building a strong case for every client. Thanks to our wealth of experience working on Social Security disability and SSI cases, we understand how to thoroughly prepare a case for a hearing, ask the right questions to your medical staff, and assist the judge in understanding the severity of your condition.
We only receive compensation when your claims are approved, so we work hard for every client. From following up on medical records to preparing your test results, doctor’s notes and hospital records so that they can be easily understood by the judge, The Law Office of Emmett B. Irwin is tireless until you receive the benefits you are entitled to.
Frequently Asked Questions Answered by a Baltimore Social Security Disability Lawyer
Can I receive Social Security benefits retroactively?
Yes, you can receive SSDI benefits for up to 12 months prior to the date of your application.
My husband died and I am disabled. Can I qualify for SSDI?
Widows and widowers may be able to qualify for SSDI benefits if you meet the following criteria:
- You are between the ages of 50 and 60
- You have a qualifying disability
- You became disabled within seven years of your spouse’s death
I filed a claim for SSDI benefits and it was denied. What do I do?
The best thing you can do is speak with an experienced Baltimore Social Security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Your best option may be to appeal, but you must do so within a limited time frame or you may lose your rights. You may be able to refile, and in certain cases you may need to do both. Many claims are denied, but that doesn’t mean that your case is over.
How long will it take for my claim to be approved?
Unfortunately, the process can be quite lengthy. It can take anywhere from several months to up to approximately two years before your claim is approved and you begin receiving the benefits you need.
Contact Baltimore Social Security Disability Attorney Emmett B. Irwin Today
Whether you haven’t yet applied or have been denied benefits, the SSDI process is overwhelming for most people. An experienced disability attorney in Baltimore and Maryland can help you get the benefits you deserve so that you can move forward with your life. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. We work with clients throughout Maryland and surrounding states.