Get the Social Security Disability Benefits You Deserve

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits with or without an attorney advocating on your behalf can be a difficult and lengthy process. It puts an extreme strain on an applicant and the applicant’s family. Making things worse is the high chance of being denied. Statistically, approximately 70 percent of all SSDI and SSI claims are denied at the initial application stage. At Knake Law, I understand the impact a denied Social Security Disability claim can have on an individual and his or her family, especially when these benefits are the applicant’s main source of income.

A Denial is Not the End

Though applications for Social Security Disability (SSD) are initially denied, an initial denial does not necessarily mean that the applicant is not entitled to benefits. Many applicants who have been rejected often choose to abandon their claims instead of proceeding with an appeal—a process that is undoubtedly intimidating to the average person—without ever contacting a social security attorney to see if the denial was in error. When you choose Knake Law to represent you in the application and appeals processes, you’ll receive the help you deserve in recovering your benefits.

Social Security Disability Benefit Claims

Kevin Knake at Knake Law handles Social Security Disability insurance benefit claims (also called SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims. I handle claims at every stage of the evaluation process, including: Initial Applications, Appeals, Reconsiderations, Hearings before Administrative Law Judges, Appeals Council, and Federal Court cases.

If you have a disability claim and would like a free case evaluation, please contact Knake Law today for your free initial half hour consultation.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Contrary to what many health care providers will tell you, you want your medical bills to first be paid through your health insurance provider. Submitting your bills to health insurance allows you to take advantage of the contractual rates your insurance carrier has negotiated with your health care providers. It also assures that your bills will get paid on time.

He or she will also handle the paperwork needed to send your claim to Disability Determination Services (DDS), which will make an initial determination as to whether you are considered disabled under the SSA’s requirements. The claims representative will also determine the disability programs for which you may be eligible, as well as determine benefits you are eligible to receive based on your work history.

It’s highly encouraged that applicants speak with a Social Security Disability attorney before beginning the application process. An attorney will be able to explain the process of filing for benefits and gather the documents needed to submit a claim.

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Hiring a Social Security Disability Attorney Often Results in a Quicker Positive Result for an SSD Applicant

Nearly 70 percent of all first-time applicants are initially denied disability benefits, and many applicants seek the help of a representative at some point in the process. The process of applying and appealing denied claims is often complicated, and the chances of success are far greater with the help of an experienced Social Security disability attorney.

Retaining a lawyer can increase your chances of approval and help avoid denials based on technicalities or other common errors. Our experienced attorneys can help gather information vital to your claim’s success and ensure you complete the steps necessary for obtaining benefits.

Benefits to Hiring an Attorney to Assist You on an SSD Benefits Claim

If you hire a Social Security Disability attorney to help with your claim, he or she will guide you through the following process:

Preparation

Preparing your claim, which will include gathering documents and other required information is an essential part of the claims process. An attorney can help gather the documentation needed to substantiate your claim, such as: personal information (including information on your children or spouse); military information, if applicable; IRS forms; bank account information; addresses and phone numbers; detailed medical records and referrals; medication history; a list of prior employment history; and information on other disability claims, if applicable.

You will be required to submit extensive documentation to the SSA, and determining what information is required for your claim can be a difficult process. An attorney can help ensure your claim satisfies the SSA’s requirements, which can help expedite the application process. He or she can also assist in gathering documents that you are unable to access on your own.

Communication

An attorney can keep track of the status of your claim, alert you to any requests for new information, and speak with Social Security Administration (SSA) representatives on your behalf to answer questions that may arise regarding your application. Knake Law understands that most injured parties that apply for SSD try to work and care for their families and may not have the time needed to deal with the SSA as it reviews their claim.

Finalizing a Claim

If your disability claim is approved, your attorney will review the SSA’s calculations to determine if any vital information was missed or if any errors were made. He or she will also address any questions you may have concerning your new benefits.

Appeal

If your application for benefits was not approved, you may be able to file an appeal which as a good chance of success if it is prepared and presented by an experience attorney.

Description of the Appeal Process if Your Application is Denied

Reconsideration

If your initial application for benefits has been denied, your attorney will file a request for reconsideration. During this stage, a claims examiner who was not involved in the initial review process will reconsider your application. They will take into consideration any new evidence that you or your attorney have uncovered to supplement your claim. Your attorney can respond on your behalf to any questions posed by the claims examiner during this stage.

Hearing

If your claim is again denied or if you do not agree with the results, the next step is to request a hearing by an administrative law judge. During this stage, your attorney may: prepare you for questions that could be asked at your hearing; request that the judge subpoena witnesses vital to proving the legitimacy of your claim; argue your case before the judge; question witnesses and experts; present new evidence or information you believe was not reviewed properly; and, if you have already been awarded benefits, ask the judge to review and reassess the calculations.

Federal Court

If your claim is denied for review in front of an ALJ or if you disagree with the Appeal Council’s decision, you can file a lawsuit in federal district court.

Types of Social Security Disability Benefits

Disability Insurance Benefits (SSD or SSDI)

This is most popular benefit provided by the SSA. Disability insurance benefits cover millions of people who were recently employed but are now disabled. Eligible applicants include those who have worked a total of at least five of the 10 years before developing their disabilities. Dependents, including children and spouses, may also be able to collect if a parent qualifies for SSDI. Disability benefit amounts are based on the applicant’s work history and earnings.   

Disable Adult Child Benefits (DAC)

Disabled children between the ages of 18 and 22 may be eligible for benefits if their parents receive Social Security retirement benefits or SSD or are deceased.

Disabled Widow or Widower (DWB)

These benefits are provided to widows or widowers over the age of 50 who develop disabilities within seven years of their spouses’ deaths. The widow or widower is required to have been married to the deceased for a minimum of 10 years.

Five Steps to Approval

The SSA has created a five-step process to determine whether an application for SSD is approved. The criteria include the following:

If a parent dies, their children may be entitled to receive benefits to compensate for the financial loss.

Unmarried children may collect benefits after a parent’s death if they are:

  • Younger than 18
  • Between the ages of 18 and 19, but are enrolled as full-time students at secondary schools
  • Ages 18 and older, but have serious disabilities that manifested before they were 22.

Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC)

Supplemental Security Income is available for families with children who have severe disabilities if they have minimal income and limited resources. These benefits may be paid regardless of a parent’s ability to work and will continue if a child is disabled and unable to provide for himself or herself financially.

Children may be eligible for SSI Disability insurance if:

  • They have physical or mental conditions that are so severe that they result in serious functional limitations.
  • They have these conditions for at least 12 months.
  • The conditions will likely be the cause of their deaths.
  • They are not gainfully employed and doing work the SSI administration considers “substantial work.”

Fees for Services

Whether you are filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), when you visit our office you will sign a fee agreement that allows the Social Security Administration (SSA) to pay your attorney a fee if your claim is approved. As an extra precaution, the SSA will need to review the agreement to make sure it satisfies the fee agreement guidelines set out in SSA’s regulations. Fee agreements are on a contingency basis of the amount you receive if your appeal is successful.

For Social Security disability lawyers, the fee is limited to 25 percent of the back due or “past-due” benefits you are awarded. The maximum fee is set at $6,000. You will not be required to pay the attorney’s fee directly out of your pocket. The SSA should withhold the entire lawyer’s fee (up to $6,000) from your first disability check (your calculated award of back pay), before Social Security sends it to you.

There may be an exception for advance payment of expenses for such things as medical reports or records, vocational reports, and school and work records which are necessary to support your claim. Your attorney may have to request these records or may need to order independent medical or psychological examinations, which can be quite expensive. You must pay these costs separate and apart from any attorney’s fee. Other costs may include postage and charges for copying. In most cases, the costs average between $100 and $200 and are based on actual costs.