Apply for Disability Benefits and Win Early
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
Starting your Social Security disability claim is easy - and there is no risk or penalty if your claim does not work out. When you apply you will need your Social Security number, and a valid mailing address. You will also need to decide on a date that your disability began. Usually, your onset date will be the date you last worked. And finally you need to be able to explain to Social Security why you believe that you are disabled.
You can apply using one of the following:
How Does Social Security define “disability?”
Social Security considers you disabled if you suffer from a medical or mental health condition that prevents you from working a simple, entry-level full time job, and that your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 consecutive months.
What Happens After I Apply?
You should receive an written acknowledgement of claim in the mail within 10 to 14 days after you apply. If you don’t receive this acknowledgment, call the 800 number to confirm that your claim has been received.
When will I Find Out if I have been Approved?
You could find out as soon as 30 days, or, if you are denied and have to request a hearing, your case can take up to 3 years before you get a decision.
How Can I Avoid the Long Delays and Win Early?
One thing you can do is speak Social Security’s language by focusing on how your medical condition impacts your capacity to work. You can also help your cause by submitting detailed and organized medical records along with a statement from your doctor supporting your case.
You cannot control whether your file gets sent to an overworked claims examiner who stamps “Denied” and moves your file along, or whether your doctor sends in records on a timely basis.
How Much Will I Get if I Win?
Most of our SSDI clients see monthly checks in the $1,500 to $2,000 range. SSI claimants usually see checks in the $700 per month range.
Will I Get a Lump Sum for Past Due Benefits?
That depends on when you apply, when you contend that you became disabled and when your case is decided. In our practice it is not unusual to see lump sum payments for past due benefits in the $40,000 to $50,000 range.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer or Can I do this On my Own?
You are not required to retain a lawyer to pursue Social Security disability benefits but your likelihood of winning goes way up when you are represented. Disability benefits are becoming increasingly more difficult to recover - over the past 5 years alone, approval rates have gone down more than 20%. A lawyer gives you the best chance at winning.
Social Security is understaffed and their personnel are overworked. An experienced lawyer will know how to present your claim to the claims adjuster or administrative law judge, what medical records SSA needs to issue an approval and how to guide you to testify effectively and convincingly.
Most importantly a lawyer can eliminate the guesswork. You have not gone through the disability decision making process before. A good lawyer has presented hundreds or thousands of cases, knows the judges, knows what SSA wants and will not be surprised.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Lawyer?
There is no up front cost - Social Security lawyers are paid on a “no fee unless we win” basis. Social Security limits attorney’s fees to 25% of past due benefits or $6,000 whichever is less. If you lose or if no past due benefits are payable, you owe nothing.
Contingency fees allow lawyers to represent deserving clients who would not otherwise have the funds to pay for legal services.
Why Should I Choose Ginsberg Law Offices?
Glad you asked. First of all, we are very, very experienced. Attorney Jonathan Ginsberg (the main Social Security lawyer) has been in practice since 1986 and has been representing Social Security clients since the mid-1990's. Attorney Jodi Ginsberg (whose main practice area is workers comp in addition to her Social Security work) has been in practice since 1988.
Together we have represented several thousand injured and disabled workers and we know how to speak Social Security’s often obtuse language. We are also very familiar with all of the Social Security judges you are likely to see and we have a reputation for presenting legitimate cases that are thoroughly prepared.
Jonathan regularly teaches Social Security law to fellow lawyers at continuing legal education live events and he teaches a course called Starting Your Social Security Disability Practice at Solo Practice University, an national online learning platform for new and newly solo lawyers.
Our current and past clients are the best judge of our skills so take a look at our AVVO ratings:
Finally, this website and the other resources we provide should help you feel comfortable with our law practice. For example in the Medical Conditions section of this web site you will see 30 different case strategy links.
Within each link, we have set out how we approach that particular medical condition as well as multiple case histories describing what happened in a particular case (the names of clients and some facts are changed to protect privacy). There is a good chance that you will find a case study on this web site that reflects exactly what you are going through.
We also invite you to visit our video library on YouTube. There you will find close to 100 videos about the Social Security disability process and how we approach various medical issues in disability claims.
How Can I Get a Case Review?
The easiest way to start would be for you to send Jonathan a quick email explaining why you think you are disabled. You can use the contact form on this page. Upon receipt either Jonathan or his paralegal Mya will call you back (or email you back - your preference) and we can decide if we are good fit for one another. As always, no charge for the case review.