Becoming disabled comes with its own list of demands on your body and mind. If you are planning to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), this can add to your burden in ways that may be more than you can handle alone. Fortunately, you do not need to endure this situation by yourself. A disability attorney can guide you through the complex legal process, help you if your initial claim is denied, and be a compassionate supporter who fights for your legal rights. When you hire a disability attorney in Baltimore, there are a few things that are helpful to know.
Introduction to SSDI and SSI
There are two federal programs that aid those who are disabled. Both provide cash benefits, but each has its own requirements. SSDI is based on employment. Payroll taxes are taken to cover Social Security. To qualify, an applicant must be under age 65 and have worked a certain amount of time. For SSI, the applicant must have a demonstrated financial need. Applicants to this program must have a limited income and minimal assets available.
Some individuals may qualify for both programs, but must meet individual requirements. In many cases, those who are receiving benefits from one program or the other may also qualify for other assistance programs. For example, disabled individuals who qualify for SSI may also receive Medicaid and food stamps.
The Legal Process
To qualify for either SSDI or SSI, one must submit an application. The wait time can be lengthy and the majority of claims are denied. However, if your initial application for Social Security is denied, there is more that can be done. First, an appeal is filed for reconsideration. If the appeal is denied, a second appeal can be filed to request a hearing. A hearing before the Administrative Law Judge is usually an applicant’s best opportunity to get approved. If the case is denied at the hearing level, the next step is to file an appeal with the Appeals Council, and if necessary, the federal court.
Each of these stages can take months, even years, bringing the total wait time to several years for some cases. It is important to be patient and not give up. Having an attorney represent you in these legal matters can help.
Choosing a Professional with Expertise
The legal system can be confusing and waiting on appeals, tedious. However, hiring a professional disability attorney in Baltimore can be a wise decision. He or she can make a difference in your claim, keeping you organized and ensuring all deadlines are met. A qualified Baltimore disability attorney will bring skill and experience to the table. He or she can answer all of your questions, help you complete the initial application, and work to ensure you receive the benefits that are due.