Facts and questions about Social Security
Social Security Disability is confusing, and it’s not unusual for people to have many questions as they start to think through and submit their claims. Burch & Rodgers is always willing to answer questions you may have.
After decades of experience with social security law, we’ve compiled a list of the more common questions that we get.
Am I eligible for Social Security Disability?
If you are unable to work due to mental or physical disability and have worked long enough to qualify, you are likely eligible for social security disability.
What is SSI? Is that different than disability?
SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income and it is a separate program of the Social Security Administration. This program assists low-income disabled adults or children. It does not require a work history in order to qualify.
If I am found eligible, will I also receive Medicare or Medicaid?
It’s possible to receive medical benefits in addition to the cash benefits. Those who have been eligible for two years for SSD will receive Medicare. Those awarded SSI receive Medicaid immediately.
Social Security said that I would be able to return to work. Should I wait to see if my health improves or should I appeal?
You have a limited time to appeal your initial denial – don’t wait to see if your health improves. Contact Burch & Rodgers today. Let our experience help win you the benefits you deserve.
At what point in the process should I find an attorney?
It’s best to contact a lawyer before you file a Social Security claim. The North Carolina-based disability attorneys at Burch & Rodgers can help you plan a strategy to win your case. If you wait to get an attorney until your claim has been denied, you could harm your case with damaging statements and other information. This information could be used against you on appeal and by working with a professional attorney from the start, it can be avoided.
What does it cost to have Burch & Rodgers represent me for my Social Security Disability claim? How can I afford help? What does the attorney get paid?
SSA sets attorney fees at 25% of back benefits or $6,000, whichever is less. All representatives charge the same fee because it is set by law. If you do not win, there is no fee.
What are the important deadlines I should know?
Initial Filing – You must file your claim for disability within a strict time limit of when you became disabled. Usually, you must file within five years of being unable to work. The longer you wait, the lower your monthly benefits will be. If you wait too long you may be precluded from applying. We recommend applying as soon as you become unable to work.
Appeal – If you are denied, the appeal becomes the next important deadline. Most initial claims are denied, so you should not be discouraged and you will need to act quickly. You have 60 days from the date of the denial to appeal the decision. If you wait longer than this, you give up your right to appeal. Having an attorney like Burch & Rodgers can assure you will not miss important deadlines like this.
What happens at a hearing?
The Office of Hearings Operations of the Social Security Administration holds the hearing and an Administrative Law Judge will decide if you are eligible for the benefits. Testimony is taken under oath.
Evidence that is presented includes health records and other supporting documentation. Opinions from physicians as expert witnesses may be used as well. You will testify regarding your impairments and limitations. Burch and Rodgers will prepare you for your hearing.
Do I need an attorney to handle my claim?
There are many ways to make mistakes when handling Social Security claims. You could submit paperwork incorrectly or miss a deadline if you are not aware of the intricacies of how the system works. This can make or break your case. An attorney will handle this for you. An attorney will also present an effective and persuasive outline of information and will know what to expect. Finding an attorney who is experienced in dealing with the SSA, like Burch & Rodgers, will give your claim a much better chance of being approved.
Will I be able to afford an attorney?
Federal law heavily regulates what can be charged. Burch & Rodgers ask for no money upfront and no attorney fee unless you win your case. If you do win, attorney’s fees are 25% of your back benefits or $6,000, whichever is less.
Burch & Rodgers are “board certified.” What does that mean?
Being board-certified means the attorney received specific training in that area of law; in this case, Social Security law. To receive this certification, an attorney must:
- Be a licensed attorney in good standing with the state bar that has practiced for a minimum of five years.
- Have experience specifically in Social Security Disability for 600 hours/year over at least three years.
- Have completed continuing education hours focused on Social Security Disability law.
- Passed both a full-day written exam and a peer evaluation to finish certification.