Q. What is the difference between Social Security Disability (DIB), Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Retirement (RIB)?
A. Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) are similar to insurance. While you are employed, you are putting money into a trust fund by paying FICA taxes deducted from your paycheck. When you become disabled, the amount of your benefit will be computed based on your earnings. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not dependent on earnings and takes into account income and resources. Retirement is a program you receive when you are old enough to stop working; ages vary by birth year.
Q. What does it take to present an effective disability case?
A. It is critical that you have medical evidence of your condition and the cooperation of your physician(s) in providing opinions regarding your limitations. Failing to keep in contact with your treating doctor and following his instructions can be damaging to your case. It also takes a knowledge of the law. You would assume by the word “disability” that all you need to prove is that you are disabled. It involves more than that.
What constitutes disability may depend on rulings in prior cases as well as federal statutes and regulations. To be considered disabled under the Social Security guidelines, many factors are considered. If your disability does not fall exactly under those guidelines, rulings in prior cases will be considered as well as other complex legal issues. A competent attorney can help you present your disability case with social security disability guidelines in the best way possible.
Q. What if I have already been denied social security disability?
A. Once you apply for social security disability benefits, it is likely the claim will be denied. If you do not appeal the denial within a sixty-day period, you may have to start all over and could lose benefits. More than two thirds of the people who are initially denied do not file an appeal. About 75 percent of those who appeal are denied again. The appeals process can move from the Social Security Administration to a U.S. Federal Court or the 8th Circuit Appellate Courts.
Q. How long does an average claim take?
A. It has been taking approximately two years to go through the local appeals process: four to six months for the initial filing, four to six months for a reconsideration, and up to fourteen months at the hearing level. If your case goes to the Appeals Council, it can take up to two years and if it goes to Federal Court of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, even longer.
Q. Who pays my attorney?
A. You pay a legal fee ONLY if you are awarded benefits. Under the law set forth by federal statute, an attorney operating under a fee agreement approved by the Social Security Administration is entitled to receive 25 percent of your past due benefits with a current maximum amount of $6,000. If you do not receive past due benefits, then we do not receive a fee.
Q. If I am found to be disabled by Social Security, will my spouse and children be entitled to draw benefits?
A. That will depend on the length of time you have worked and paid in FICA taxes. You must have paid in long enough to have a “family maximum” amount that is greater than your primary insurance amount. Certain eligibility requirements will then be determined by the Social Security Administration.
Q. How can I get medical attention if I don’t have enough money?
A. We know that it is sometimes difficult to be able to obtain health care and to ensure that other necessities are met when going through a financial hardship. You may apply for health insurance through the Affordable Health Care program by calling 1-800-318-2596 or visiting the website at Healthcare.gov. There are charitable organizations in most areas of the state that offer care to those who are uninsured or underinsured. If you need assistance, you may visit the website www.needymeds.org for a list of these organizations.
Q. Will I get Medicare or Medicaid or both?
A. Medicare will be awarded with Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and will begin twenty-four months after your first month of entitlement to benefits. Medicaid will be awarded with Social Security Income (SSI). If you are entitled to both DIB and SSI, you will have both Medicare and Medicaid coverage.
Q. How can I find out how much my monthly benefits are?
A. This will be based on the amount of money you were earning while you were employed. You may call (800) 772-1213 or go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ and obtain your Personal Benefits Estimate Statement. (PEBES)
Q. Why hire an attorney?
A. 1. Social Security statutes, regulations, and previous case law are very complex legal issues, and you need an attorney with knowledge on how to best present your case within the framework of these laws and regulations.
2. The ability to competently represent you at all levels of review including Federal District Court filings and 8th Circuit Court of Appeals is critical. It will ensure there is knowledge of current applicable case law.
3. Administrative law judges can and do request legal briefs interpreting statutes, rules, regulations, and court decisions when those interpretations are critical to the outcome of your case. Attorneys are specifically trained to research and write these legal arguments and presentations on your behalf.
4. Court decisions regarding social security law are often applied regionally and not nationally. Hiring a local attorney will be in your best interest.
Q. Why Hire The Brad Hendricks Law Firm?
A. The Brad Hendricks Law Firm has a department dedicated solely to social security law. The Social Security department, headed by David Rawls, has years of experience. We handle the full spectrum of social security cases, including Federal Court and 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Our Social Security department is large enough to handle the requirements of any social security disability case, but small enough to appreciate each and every client. Let us use our knowledge, experience, and resources to smooth your way through the maze of government regulations. There is no charge for a personal consultation, and if we are not able to secure benefits for you, you do not owe us a fee.