Having an experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help streamline the application process for Social Security Disability benefits.What are the Qualifications for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Over 40 million Americans are reported as having either a physical or mental disability. While the circumstances and the diagnosis of each individual’s disability vary, the one thing that many of them have in common is the question of whether their case qualifies to receive Social Security Disability benefits.  Social Security Disability benefits are administered based upon an individual’s disability through two programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  Although many individuals report having a disability, not all are approved for benefits.

Each Social Security Disability program has criteria that determine which cases qualify for benefits. To qualify for benefits through either of the Social Security Administration (SSA) programs, individuals must meet the criteria established in the SSA’s definition of disability. According to the SSA, disability for an adult is defined as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months”.  For a child under the age of 18 to be considered disabled, they must have a “medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations, and that can be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months”.  Neither of these definitions means that you must be completely incapacitated. You simply must not be able to work gainfully.

Not sure whether your disability is a “medically determinable impairment”?  Don’t worry! The SSA has a list of impairments that describes medical conditions that are considered severe and automatically defined as disabled.  According to the SSA, “a medically determinable physical or mental impairment is an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological or psychological abnormalities which can be shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques”. These physical and/or mental impairments must be documented and supported by medical evidence consisting of signs, symptoms and diagnostic testing, not just your statement of symptoms.

The deciding criteria for SSA’s programs are not essentially the same as the criteria applied in other government and private disability programs. When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, the preparation and presentation of the facts have a large influence on the outcome of the case.  To increase your chances of a successful case, it is vital to provide any evidence that you have to prove your disability. The more information you provide to the SSA that proves your disability, the higher the chance of you being approved for Social Security Disability benefits.

Having an experienced Social Security disability attorney can help streamline the application process for Social Security Disability benefits. In addition to ensuring that your claim is properly decided, an attorney can assist you in gathering medical records and other crucial information that are vital to the success of your case. At The Cochran Firm, we believe in our clients and go the extra mile to make sure they know it. Our experienced attorneys can evaluate your case for free to determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. For more information, fill out the form now and we will call you back as quickly as possible.

History of SSDIHistory of SSDI

Although the long-term fate of the federal government’s Social Security program is yet to be seen, at present it is an integral income supplement for retired and disabled persons. Here is a brief overview of how today’s Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) system was formed.

The Original Social Security

The original form of our modern Social Security program was instituted to provide Civil War veterans with pensions. At first, the pension benefits were only dispersed to disabled Union veterans who were injured in combat, then later expanded to all Union soldiers.

Roosevelt’s Social Insurance

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the need for an all-inclusive pension and disability plan became evident. Former President Roosevelt promoted the idea of "social insurance," which directly resulted in the Social Security system we utilize today. President Roosevelt assembled an organization called the Committee on Economic Safety, which set up provisions that allowed workers to form "retirement accounts" that they could contribute to regularly. In 1935, this unofficial plan became the Social Security Act, or SSA law. Years later in 1956, disability provisions were written into the law. Today, workers who have become disabled due to conditions like amputation, back injury, arthritis, or cancer are entitled to receive a portion of their income to replace income lost as a result of their impairments’ debilitating physical or mental effects.

Today’s SSDI Restrictions

If you are applying for disability benefits, there are restrictions that you should be aware of. Among the provisions in effect today: You may not be eligible for SSDI benefits if you engage in "substantially gainful activity." Also, your disability must be expected to last at least 12 months or be considered terminal to qualify for benefits. More about the SSDI qualifications.

Americans pay into the Social Security Disability Insurance fund with a percentage of each check. It is puzzling, then, why so many deserving, disabled people are denied benefits that they are entitled to. At The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers, we spend countless hours fighting red tape and unfair denials to help clients get crucial Social Security income.

If you are in search of experienced legal guidance to get the Social Security disability benefits that are necessary for your survival, The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers would be proud to go to work for you. Please contact our Social Security disability lawyers today to set up a personalized case review and find valuable answers to your SSDI questions. The FREE case review can be conducted over the phone for your convenience. Fill out  the form now to get started.

SSDI Process Level FiveSSDI Process Level Five

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was created to provide disabled workers money to live on after they are no longer able to work. Sometimes SSDI benefits are only for a couple of years, while other recipients of these funds collect for the rest of their lives because their injury or illness is serious enough to prevent them from ever working again. SSDI law is complicated, and people are often denied benefits on their first application because the paperwork is confusing, and one mistake can result in your claim being denied.

The experienced SSDI attorneys at The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers have helped thousands of people all over the country get the compensation they deserve following a disabling accident or injury. If you have been injured and can no longer work, we can help you file for Social Security disability benefits.

There are several steps in the SSDI process, and each one presents its own unique challenges. We just described levels one through four of the five level process, and now we are ready to move on to the final stage, level five.

Level Five

Less than one percent of SSDI applicants ever make it to level five of the process: Federal District Court (FDC). Approximately 70% of the claims that make it this far are denied and a very small percentage receive an FDC decision that results in an award. The rest of the applicants at level 5 are sent back to the hearing level of the process for a second hearing.

If your claim is awarded, the guidelines regarding when you will receive your payment are:

  • Two to four weeks but up to sixty days for claims awarded at level one and level two
  • One to three months for claims awarded at levels three and four

These are estimations and the actual time may vary.

A complicated formula is used to estimate the monthly payment you will receive. Your monthly amount is dictated by your lifetime earnings.

Your eligibility for SSDI benefits will be reviewed from time to time. These reviews are typically at one, three, five or seven years. For instance, if you have a medical condition that is expected to improve, your benefits will be reviewed around the time established for improvement at the time your benefits were awarded.

Please contact the experienced SSDI attorneys at The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers today to schedule your confidential consultation to discuss your SSDI case. Let us help you get the SSDI benefits to which you are entitled. We have several offices throughout the United States, and we can help you the same way we’ve helped thousands of other families all over the country. Fill out the form today for a FREE case evaluation.

SSDI Process Level FourSSDI Process Level Four

The process to collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a long one and a difficult one. It is estimated that well over 70% of all Social Security for disability insurance applications are denied. For this reason, it is important that you have an experienced SSDI attorney on your side. The Social Security for disability lawyers at The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers have worked diligently to get families just like yours the benefits to which you are entitled following your accident, illness or injury.

No one ever plans to become disabled. Disabling injuries and illnesses are most often sudden; people do not "prepare" to become disabled. Many of our clients never would have been approved for Social Security for disability benefits had they not contacted The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers. Approximately 65% of claims are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA) at the first level of the five level process necessary to receive Social Security for disability benefits. At the second level, a whopping 87% of first appeals are denied. Please let us help you end up in the 13% of applicants that are approved for Social Security for disability.

There are five levels in the SSDI application process, and each one depends upon the level before it. We have already explained what happens at level one, level two, and level three. Now, let us move on to level four of the five level Social Security for disability process.

SSDI Level Four

If you are denied Social Security for disability benefits at level three, the hearing stage, you can appeal again after sixty days. At this level of the application process, you can ask for a review of the decision made by the Administrative Law Judge by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will review the disability hearing decision (level three) and decide if it was the proper decision according to law. You must know that only 3% of third appeals result in a favorable decision for the applicant. According to the Social Security Administration, the average wait time for a decision on the third appeal is 227 days. The number of days applicants will have to wait for an answer will probably increase each year due to the increasing number of SSDI applicants, according to the SSA.

If you have become disabled and are no longer able to work, it is wise to have an experienced Social Security disability lawyer on your side. The SSDI lawyers at The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers have helped thousands of families just like yours get the compensation to which you are entitled following your injury or illness. Please contact our Social Security for disability lawyer's office today to schedule your confidential consultation. Fill out the form now.


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