Bristol, VA Social Security Disability Lawyer for SSDI and SSI Benefits
If you’re visiting this page, chances are that you or a loved one has become disabled and are now interested in applying for social security disability benefits (or are in need of help for appealing a denial). You may also be wondering whether it will be helpful to engage a Bristol, VA social security lawyer for your case, and (naturally) how much an experienced social security lawyer will cost.
The sections below address these matters, as a number of other important aspects associated with seeking social security disability benefits.
The Types of Social Security Benefits to Which You May Be Entitled
Social Security benefit payments include two types – Social Security Disability Income (“SSDI”) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits.
SSI benefits are needs-based, and are meant to help low income individuals. In some situations, a person may qualify for SSI benefits, but not qualify for SSDI benefits (perhaps because they have not worked long enough to achieve eligibility).
SSDI benefits, on the other hand, are not are needs-based. To qualify for these benefits, a person must meet certain work history requirements pursuant to which social security was deducted from their wages.
We help social security applicants determine whether the qualify for benefits under either or both of these frameworks.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits
To qualify for social security disability benefits, you must be medically disabled (as defined under the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) guidelines and regulations) for at least five months, provided that the disability is expected to last at least one year. You do not, however, need to wait for five months before applying for benefits if you become disabled, and it is clear that your disability will last more than one year.
It will almost always be beneficial to apply for benefits as soon as possible, as your benefits will be triggered based upon the date of your initial application for benefits.
How Long Before I Can Start Receiving SSDI or SSI Benefits?
The Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) will not begin making payments until an applicant has been out of work for at least five months. Because it often takes the SSA months to make a favorable determination (especially if a reconsideration or appeal is necessary), the SSA commonly owes an applicant for “back pay” dating back to the date that the application was initially submitted.
Benefit claims generally begin being paid in the month following the month in which a claim is approved.
What Percent of Social Security Claims are Denied?
While initial social security claim applications are denied approximately 70% of the time, the denial rate for reconsideration (which are the first step of the appeals process) are higher – about 87% of the time.
How We Help Clients in the Claim Submission Process
We help clients in the claim submission process by carefully preparing the application, determining which benefits we believe that a client is entitled to, obtaining all relevant medical documentation, reviewing such documentation to determine whether we believe that it complies with the requirements concerning qualifying for benefits (and if we believe that the documentation may be deficient in this respect, contacting treating physicians to clarify or supplement the medical documentation so that it addresses the SSA requirements).
Because this process can be complex, many social security disability applicants do not properly complete an application, or seek out the services of a social security lawyer (often because they believe that a lawyer is too expensive or that they can get their claim approved on their own). As a result, this is why approximately 70% of the initial claims are rejected.
Because of the relatively low cost that normally results from hiring a social security lawyer at the outset, the time that an applicant saves by not having to do this work on their own, and (most importantly) the opportunity to minimize the chance of the significant hardship that typically results when a claim is rejected and benefit payments are delayed for months, we would invite those in Bristol and the surrounding communities to call us for a free consult to learn how we can help
How We Help Clients in the Appeals Process
In addition to helping clients in a claim application, we also represent clients in the reconsideration process and the appeals process. As experienced Bristol social security lawyers, we know what proof of disability is required in order to secure benefits, and we are often able to obtain benefits for clients in claims that otherwise would have never have been approved.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire an Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer?
Social security lawyers generally are paid based upon a percentage of the past amounts that are due to a client. Federal law, however, places limits upon the amount that social security lawyers may charge for representation. In general, these limitations are as follows:
- 25% of the past due amount that is owed (the amount to which a beneficiary is entitled at the time of the award)
- a maximum fee of $6,000 (except that in certain circumstances, this amount may be higher)
- No fee if compensation is not recovered.
- Social security applicants are responsible for certain costs and expenses, such as those relating to the acquisition of medical records.
Our founding attorney, Mark Hurt, has been representing clients for more than 30 years. His law practice is primarily devoted to helping individuals who have been injured or who have become disabled in seeking to obtain the benefits to which they are entitled.
Mark has represented clients at all Virginia state court levels. In addition to being an honors law graduate at Duke Law School, Mark has also represented clients in Federal District Court, the Federal Court of Appeals, and (in two cases) before the United States Supreme Court.
As a successful trial lawyer and advocate for clients, Mark is tenacious and tireless in seeking a victory for clients. In social security disability cases, he understands what is at stake – the financial future for clients and their families.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation and to Discuss Your Social Security Disability Claim
We would look forward to learning about your disability matter, answering your questions, and explaining how we can help.