Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sep 22nd, 2017

How to Apply for Disability Benefits

Fred London Law 0 Comments Uncategorized

When you need to apply for Social Security disability benefits, it’s important to understand the process. There are a few different manners in which to complete your disability application. It can be done online, in person or over the phone. No matter which way you apply, you need to have certain information and documents in order to increase your approval rate.

disability benefits

How do you qualify for Social Security disability benefits?

- You need to be at least 18 years old in order to apply.

- The condition you suffer from must be considered severe. This means that it needs to either be expected to endure for at least 12 months or ultimately cause death.

- You can’t already be receiving Social Security benefits on your record.

Different ways to complete a disability application

- Call 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment for either an in person appointment or to make a phone appointment to complete your disability application.

- If you want to complete your application online, you could consult this Adult Disability Checklist. This will help you prepare for filling out your application and alert you to what information you will need to have ready. You can then complete the Disability Benefit Application. You will also need to fill out the Medical Release form. Applying online is the most convenient because you can start it immediately and whenever you have time. You can also complete it in sections rather than having to do it all at once if you don’t have the time to work through it all.

You will need to provide the following information:

- You need to have your birth information as well as your Social Security number ready to give. If you have a spouse or children, you will also need to provide information about them as well.

- You will need to provide information about your medical condition. This includes documentation about your official diagnosis, tests, treatments and doctor’s visits. The more information you have here, the more it will help you prove your case.

- You will also need to provide information about your work and why you can no longer perform a job.

You will need the following documents:

- Proof of birth and citizenship.

- W-2 forms and pay stubs.

- Medical evidence.

You may still have questions about completing your disability application. Please contact us and we can help you through the process!

Apr 30th, 2016

What Happens During the Application Interview with the SSA?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Uncategorized

You can complete SSDI and SSI applications by phone, online, or using your local Social Security office.  However, attempting to file online has disadvantages, so it’s best to do it in person.

If you do it in person, you need to bring a photo ID. If you don’t bring one, you will have to go through an identification process in which a claims representative asks you personal questions.

Aside from bringing your ID, you should bring your birth certificate. Also, be prepared to answer questions about your medical conditions, medical treatment sources, medications, any testing that you’ve had, and your work history. These topics relate to how to Social Security Administration makes approvals on disability claims.

When providing your medical treatment history, be sure to include all sources of treatment back to the time your disability began. You should also include every current source. Do this because Social Security will need it to determine whether or not you are currently disabled and also what your date of onset is. This is critical to determining how much back pay you are eligible to receive.

Providing full names and addresses of treatment sources is just as important. Doing so will assure that the disability examiner who processes your case will not have any difficulty obtaining the needed medical records. In the majority of cases, the largest processing delay deals with obtaining medical records to complete an application.

When providing your work history, you should include your entire work history for the 15-year period prior to becoming disabled. This information should include job titles and detailed descriptions of your job duties. Social Security uses this information to properly evaluate your ability to perform any of your past work activity and the chance you have at doing other types of jobs.

If your claim involved SSI, you will need to provide information about your income and income resources. SSI is a need-based disability program and it is subject to income and resource limits. During the disability interview, a claims representative will ask you questions about your bank accounts, vehicles, insurance policies, land, and other resources that could be converted into cash.

The claims representative uses the information you provide to complete your disability report form SSA 3368. This form has your medical source contact information along with your treatment dates, along with medication and testing. You will then sign a medical release form that gives Social Security access to your medical records.

Once all necessary forms have been completed, your disability claim file is transferred to a state disability agency (DDS, or disability determination services) for a medical disability decision.

Apr 29th, 2016

What Should I Do When I Receive an Overpayment from the SSA?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Uncategorized

It’s possible that you could receive an overpayment from the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you are receiving benefits. When you receive an overpayment, it is up to you to notify the SSA to resolve the situation.

What is an Overpayment?
Simply speaking, an overpayment means you received more money in a month than you should have been awarded. The overpayment is the difference between the amount you received compared to the amount owed.

What Causes an Overpayment?
A variety of causes can cause an overpayment including:

-Actual income is more than you estimated
-Changes in your living situation
-Changes in your marital status
-You continue to receive benefits after your disability ran out
-Benefits were incorrectly calculated because of incorrect or incomplete information

Overpayment Notice
SSA will send a notification that explains the overpayment and ask for a full refund within 30 days. The notice describes the action taken if the refund is not made in its entirety. SSA may withhold the overpayment at the rate of the lesser of 10 percent or the entire monthly payment. The notice will state the month that the proposed withholding will start and explain how you can appeal the decision. You may also ask SSA to review and waive the overpayment, which means you would not have to pay the overpayment back.

If you believe you received the overpayment notice in error, you can request a reconsideration. As long as you ask for an appeal within 10 days after you receive the notice, SSA will continue to make payments until a final determination is made.

You can also request for a waiver of the overpayment and complete the form SSA-632 if you believe you were not at fault for the overpayment. If the waiver is granted, you will not have to repay all or a portion of the overpayment. You must show that it was not your fault that you were overpaid and that you cannot pay back the overpayment because you need the money for standard living expenses. It’s possible you may need to submit bills to prove financial hardship.

What if the Waiver is Denied?
If your request for a waiver is denied, you will have to pay back the overpayment or have it withheld from your money benefits. There are several repayment options including withholding a proposed amount each month or making monthly payments if you are no longer receiving benefits.

Apr 28th, 2016

Marriage’s Effect on Social Security Disability Benefits

Fred London Law 0 Comments Uncategorized

Getting married is one of the milestones of life, and as many know, it ushers in a variety of changes to your lifestyle as well as your legal situation. From the taxes you pay to the places your kids go to school, being married will affect every aspect of your life. However, what many people don’t know is that when you get married, your disability status can be affected. To understand the specifics on this situation, take note of the following aspects of marriage’s effect on Social Security disability benefits.

Effects on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

People who receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits became disabled, whether through illness or injury, before retirement and thus are unable to work. If you receive this type of disability insurance or retirement benefit, your payments will not be affected by marrying.

Effects on Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is awarded to people who are aged, blind or disabled and have little or no income. It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter for those who need it, and it is calculated based on your current income and where that places you in regard to the poverty line. As a result, and unlike with SSDI, your SSI benefit may change if you get married, as your spouse’s income will be added to yours. Furthermore, if both of you receive SSI benefits, both of your individual rates will be switched with a couple’s rate.

Effects on benefits for widows and widowers

If your spouse passed away and you receive SSDI benefits as a result, or if you receive benefits from a deceased former spouse as a divorced widow or widower, you will see restrictions on your SSDI income if you remarry. People who remarry before age 60, or age 50 if they are disabled, will no longer be eligible to receive these benefits.

Effects on divorcees and children

Divorcees who receive SSDI benefits from their former spouse will generally see these benefits stopped if they remarry. Benefits given to children under age 18, or students aged 18 or 19, who receive these benefits due to a disability or on behalf of their parents may also be taken away if they get married.

Apr 27th, 2016

How Should I Approach a Disability Appeal?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Uncategorized

If you are one of the people in the unfortunate situation of having been denied Social Security Disability benefits, SSA will allow you to appeal your denied claim.

The quickest and easiest way to submit an appeal for your denial is online through the SSA website at ssa.gov. Before you begin, it is useful to have all relevant information and materials regarding your claim on hand.

If you prefer to submit an appeal offline, SSA notes that “You can find and print the forms you need to request an appeal on our Forms Page. In addition to the appeal request form, you will need a paper ‘Disability Report – Appeal’ (SSA-3441) and an ‘Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration’ (SSA-827).” Once printed and completed, you may mail the forms to your local Social Security office.

First, you will need to gather your personal information, including

* Name, Social Security number, address, and phone number
* Date of denial decision
* If applicable, your representative’s name, address, and phone number. A representative may be a lawyer, friend, or anyone you’ve chosen to help you with your appeal. SSA
will work with your representative and will receive copies of any decisions we make about
your application

Additionally, you will need the following medical information:

* Name, address, and phone number of someone who knows about your medical condition
* Description of any change in an existing medical condition or a new one
* Name, address, phone number, and dates of all visits to any healthcare provider, type of treatments, and tests since you last provided evidence of your disability or medical condition
* Name of any medicine you are currently taking, reasons for taking it, side effects, and name of the doctor who recommended or prescribed it
* Changes to your daily activities, work, and education

You may want to have on hand any medical records or prescription bottles to refer to, as well as any additional documents that support your appeal. These document will help Social Security making a decision on your claim, and include medical reports, forms, or written statements regarding your disability. Following your appeal submission, SSA will provide a cover sheet you can use to submit any documents you want them to include with your request.

If denied on the initial application, there are four levels of appeal: reconsideration, hearing before an administrative law judge, review by the Appeals Council, and Federal Court Review. It is important to understand that your appeal may take time, so gathering all necessary information and following the guidelines from ssa.gov will ensure a smooth appeal process.

Mar 28th, 2016

What Happens When a Child Recipient of Benefits turns 18?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Uncategorized

Raising children is not for the feeble. Add disability to the mix and the pressures mount. Navigating Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in Baltimore rocks the heartiest of parents and now top it with this: Three months before birthday 18, parents are notified that benefits will end. Yes, disability benefits for children end at their eighteenth birthday.

An extension of benefits may be granted in cases where children meet one or both of the following criteria:

1. The child remains a full-time student at an elementary or secondary school.
2. The child bears a disability that began before age 22.

Qualifying under the first criteria, a student must submit a statement of attendance certified by the school to Social Security. Full-time standing equates to 20 hours per week of study unless the school uses a higher scale. Benefits continue for students until they graduate or turn 19 whichever date falls first. However, payments stop if a beneficiary is no longer a student, drops below full-time status or marries.

Qualifying under the second criteria, the child or a representative must contact a Social Security office to file for a continuation of benefits. Before placing the call, the applicant should be prepared with a history of the condition including names and addresses of doctors and hospitals that hold the claimant’s medical records, schools attended and a work history if applicable.

In Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases where the child receives SSI benefits until age 18, the case is reviewed in the child’s eighteenth year. This process is termed redetermination. Medical and non-medical criteria for determining adult eligibility differ from that which approves children. For example, the parent’s income and resources do not factor into an adult’s determination. Also, the adult decision focuses on work where the child’s decision looks at function.

To complete a redetermination, field officers gather information on disability and function and the data is forwarded to the decision-making agency. With children bridging to age 18, Social Security considers capacities and limitations in education, participation in paid and volunteer training and work, and work related stress. Performance in these areas likely predicts adult work success. Commonly, if a disability exists up to age 18, the claimant qualifies as a young adult as well.

With the added pressures of a child turning 18, the seeking of continued benefits overwhelm. A representative or advocate aids in the child’s case and can relieve stress and clarify processes. Finding a disability representative in Baltimore can ease the process.

Mar 28th, 2016

What Can I Expect From My Social Security Disability Interview?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Uncategorized

An interview is required to receive Social Security benefits in Baltimore. After a claim is filed, a social security representative will contact the claimant to schedule an interview. Interviews can be conducted face-to-face or over the phone. Interviews take approximately one hour if the applicant is prepared. This fact is an incentive to do the work of preparation.

Keep in mind, the interview is simply a fact-finding mission. The claims representative from SSA will ask a series of questions to gather information with which to make a decision regarding the case. Questions will relate to work history, medical condition and history, military involvement, marital status, number of children, and workers compensation claims.

To prepare, SSA encourages claimants to begin the application process online which aids in quicker interviews. In doing so, the applicant will gather information and paperwork vital to a disability decision. This data will also be useful for the interview. While the task can be daunting, enlisting the help of an advocate or qualified person eases the stress. Furthermore, keep in mind that truthful and forthright information provides a solid foundation for a disability case.

After submitting the application, the gathering of additional details and paperwork to support the interview begins. This list of useful documents includes medical records, workers compensation records and recent W2 forms. Knowing the following information is essential: birthdates and social security numbers of the spouse and children, marriage and divorce dates, bank account numbers, names of and contact details for medical professionals as well as previous and current employers. See a full Adult Disability Interview Checklist at ssa.gov for detailed information on what to bring. (If you are applying for a child, SSA also offers a Childhood Disability Interview Checklist.)

Processing disability claims in Baltimore can be an overwhelming and lengthy process. A legal advocate can assist in this process and provide reassurance to applicants preparing for the interview. Also, an applicant has a right to have a legal representative or qualified person of his or her choice present during the interview.

Mar 3rd, 2016

Overcoming the myths around the SSDI application

Fred London Law 0 Comments Uncategorized

There are many false truths about the Social Security Administration application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) that often prevent eligible candidates from correctly applying for these benefits. Listening to these myths can lead to incomplete or incorrect submissions and can cost many people the support they need.

“Why apply? I’ll just be denied.”
The first myth facing many eligible individuals is an immediate denial of their claims. A 10-year analysis of the outcomes of disability applications, completed by Social Security Administration, shows that, on average, 28 percent of claims were awarded after the first application. Many individuals learn that number and choose not to apply, which is unfortunate, because, for the same 10-year period, SSA approved another 17 percent of applications, on average, after reconsideration.

“I’m not sure why I was denied – I’ll start over.”
The SSDI application can be very stringent, including work and medical history, and about 20 percent, on average, of the applications in the same 10-year period were denied due to technical issues within the responses. Many applicants who have been denied then return to the beginning of the process, filling out a new application – the second myth. A better option would be to appeal a denied claim, and a good SSI Disability representative in Washington, DC can help applicants navigate the process.

“I don’t need much information to be approved.”
Washington, DC applications have found two steps that have helped to prevent technical denials of their claims. They have contacted an advocate versed in the application process and have carefully reviewed the SSA Disability manual, which spells out crucial details and documentation needed for a successful SSDI application. The idea of the application requiring little documentation can be appealing for many applicants, but compiling the required information as listed in the disability manual can not only smooth out the application process but also increase the applicant’s odds of a favorable outcome.

“It will be years until I find out if my claim was awarded.”
Another common myth is that the process is extremely lengthy. The time to review and make a determination on an adequately documented case can range from several weeks to several months, but the Compassionate Allowances program allows SSA to expedite claims for individuals with certain serious diseases or qualifying medical conditions. SSA fast-forwards the process to a public outreach hearing to determine if the disease, injury or illness meets the current definition of disability.

Applicants seeking Social Security representation in Washington, DC find that working with a knowledgeable attorney can increase their chances of success when it comes to applying for SSDI benefits.

Mar 3rd, 2016

Important Payment Information Every SSI/SSDI Recipient Should Know

Fred London Law 0 Comments Uncategorized

The application process to receive social security benefits through the Social Security Office Washington DC can be a lengthy one and the waiting period to receive benefits can become financially strenuous for people who do not have another source of income. The entire decision process can become overwhelming so before eligibility is determined; there is some important payment information every SSI/SSDI recipient should know.

By law, you cannot begin receiving disability benefits unless you’ve been disabled for five months or more so in most cases payments begin after the sixth month of being disabled. Once the Social Security Administration has notified you that you are eligible to receive SSI/SSDI benefits, you will be advised in writing what your approximate start date will be and how much you can expect to receive each month.

You may be eligible to receive back payments for the months you didn’t collect benefits while awaiting a decision. If anyone else in your family is eligible to receive benefits, a separate notice will be sent to each individual along with an informational booklet.

When Payments Begin

SSI benefits recipients can expect to receive their payment from the Social Security Office Washington DC on the first day of each month. If the first day of the month lands on a weekend day or on a holiday, your benefits payments will arrive one business day before.

Very few people receive payments by mail because the Social Security Administration encourages benefits recipients to receive their monthly payments via direct deposit to your bank account or through the Direct Express card program. However, if you do still receive payments by mail, keep in mind that there may be delays in the mail. If you haven’t received your payment by the fourth day of the month, you should call the agency to inquire about your payment.

How Long You Can Expect to Receive Payments

If your medical condition hasn’t improved and you are still unable to work, benefits will continue, but that doesn’t mean that you will receive benefits indefinitely. There have been medical advances and rehabilitation techniques that help improve certain medical conditions so the SSA will check in periodically to check on possible improvements to your disability.

Combined SSI and SSDI Payments

If you are among the benefits recipients that receive both SSI and SSDI payments, you can expect to receive your payment on the third day of each month unless it lands on a weekend or holiday in which case you can expect it to arrive one business day before then. If you started receiving benefits after 1997, certain exceptions allow you to have your payment date changed.

Mar 3rd, 2016

Can Gathering More than One Doctor’s Letter Benefit my Disability Case

Fred London Law 0 Comments Uncategorized

Applying for Social Security and SSI benefits is known to be a complex process. In fact, only 3 out of every 10 applicants are approved when first applying and there is no guarantee that your claim will be accepted when you request an appeal. The average time to await a decision is 3 to 5 months. However, there is no specific deadline for a decision, and there are cases that can take more than a year for a final determination. Due to the compound process, it is very wise to provide as much documentation and do whatever you can to increase the chances of having your claim approved as fast as possible.

What You Will Need to Apply for Social Security and SSI Benefits
If you are just starting the application process for Social Security and SSI benefits, it will greatly help your case if you provide detailed medical documentation and work history so that the disability examiner has supporting data that will prove your inability to work. Especially if you could provide your complete history of treatment and contact information for any current and previous doctors, who have treated you.

Make sure you provide up-to-date contact information and include your physician’s name, address, phone number, and if possible, you should also include the name of the proper person to speak to. If you’ve ever been hospitalized, you will want to make sure to include all of the treating facility’s contact information as well. The Social Security examiners will use their own database if you don’t have the information available. However, their information system does not include all medical facilities, so it’s best that you save them the step and provide it when you apply. Being thorough in the information you provide will help move your case along smoother. The goal is to ensure you’ve covered all of your bases, and that usually means getting your doctors to write letters for you too.

How a Letter from Your Doctor(s) Can Help You When Applying for Social Security and SSI Benefits

Getting written statements from any and all doctors who have and continue to treat your condition will strengthen your case immensely. Although they are probably experienced in assisting patients with documentation for claims, make sure their statements are not brief and vague. They should provide as much detail as possible that can support your claim and prove your inability to work. If your preliminary application is denied and you request a hearing, the opinion of your doctor can play a crucial role in determining whether you will win or lose your case. When more than one physician is reinforcing your inability to work in writing, it improves your chances of being approved. That means that the more, the merrier when it comes to gathering letters from your doctor(s) while trying to be awarded Social Security and SSI benefits.