SSDI Benefits

Dedicated Attorney Assisting Applicants with Social Security Claims

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is meant to help people who need financial assistance when they are unable to continue working due to a long-term medical condition. Their condition need not be related to or caused by their jobs. Having experienced legal representation can help you understand the application process and complete it successfully. At the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith, knowledgeable Social Security lawyer Russell J. Goldsmith has spent more than 27 years assisting applicants for SSDI. We believe in providing honest and zealous representation to our clients, and we give every case the attention that it deserves.

Basic Information About SSDI

SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) is a government program that provides financial assistance to workers throughout the U.S. who are suffering from severe and long-term medical conditions. For those who are approved, benefits are payable monthly based on the amount the individual paid into the system through their payroll taxes. The program is funded by the Social Security taxes one pays as part of their Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes (which taxes are paid by both employers and employees through the disabled claimant’s payroll deductions). Contingent upon approval of the claim and sufficient contributions into the SSDI program, one’s spouse and children may likewise be eligible to receive SSDI benefits. Family members eligible for a payment under one’s disability record include the following: spouses aged 62 and older, a spouse caring for a disabled child or child under the age of 16, a child under the age of 18, an unmarried child over 18 with a disability, and sometimes other family members. As of 2015, the most recent average payment for a SSDI beneficiary was estimated at $1,146 a month and $1,919 for the average family benefit.

In addition to monetary payments, a SSDI beneficiary may also take advantage of other non-monetary benefits that the federal government provides. These may extend to work-related training and other educational programs. It is also useful to know that beneficiaries will automatically be entitled to receive Medicare coverage after entitlement to SSDI benefits for 24 months, just as a senior citizen receives. Other potential advantages of being an SSDI beneficiary include access to work incentives that allow individuals to test their ability to return to a job without losing their disabled status.

Qualifying for Government Benefits

To receive SSDI benefits, an applicant must have worked a certain length of time contributing taxes into the Social Security disability insurance program (and such work must be in close enough proximity to the time when they became disabled). SSA has a complicated formula for determining whether one is insured for purposes of receiving SSDI benefits. In order to receive SSDI benefits ultimately, a claimant must have become disabled under Social Security’s rules while they remained insured for benefits under the program. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider the work history of the individual (and their history of payments into the program) along with the age of applicant (in relation to the point in time when they are claiming they became disabled from working) as part of determining whether the individual has met the first prong of the eligibility test, known as the earnings requirement. If the applicant meets the initial earnings requirement so as to potentially qualify for benefits, the Social Security field office will transfer the to the state agency (which is federally funded) responsible for making a medical determination in the case: that is, to Disability Determination Services (DDS) office in the applicant’s state. This agency will then decide whether a particular applicant and their condition meet the medical requirements as set forth under Social Security’s rules.

Under the Social Security Act, a person will be considered “disabled” if he or she is unable to engage in any manner of substantial gainful activity as a result of a severe medically determinable physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for a year or longer or result in death. The applicant’s medical condition must be severe enough both to prevent the applicant from performing his or her current job, as well as from engaging in any other kind of substantial and gainful employment. If the claimant’s condition meets the criteria of one of Social Security’s “medical listings of impairments” (which are a set of medical conditions set forth as part of Social Security’s regulations which are deemed to be so severe that, if met, the individual is deemed automatically incapable of working under Social Security’s rules and is deemed automatically medically qualified for benefits). Assuming the condition does not meet the requirements of a listed impairment, DDS will undertake an analysis of the claimant’s severe medical impairments and will determine an appropriate residual functional capacity for that individual. Upon doing so, DDS will make a determination first as to whether the claimant remains capable of performing any of their past relevant work (that is to say, work they performed in the 15 years prior to becoming disabled), and, assuming no, will then determine whether the applicant could perform other work in the national economy that exists in significant numbers, taking into account the applicant’s medical condition(s), age, education, work experience and skills.

Seek Legal Guidance for an SSDI Application

You have the right to obtain legal representation throughout the Social Security benefits application and appeals process. Consider seeking advice from experienced SSDI attorney Russell J. Goldsmith. You can schedule a free consultation with him by phone at (800) 773-8622 or online.

INITIAL CONSIDERATION WHEN APPLYING
SSDI Eligibility
Sequential Evaluation Process

QUALIFYING DISABILITIES AND IMPAIRMENTS
Mental Impairments
Medical Disabilities
SSDI and Unemployment Benefits
Impact of Long Term Disability on SSDI Benefits

THE CLAIMS PROCESS
Initial Claim
Reopening of Prior Claims to Obtain Additional Retroactive SSDI and SSI Benefits
The SSA Listings
Establishing a Disability Claim for Fibromyalgia Condition
Residual Functional Capacity Evaluation
Social Security Disability Claims and the Importance of Obtaining Medical Opinions from Treating Sources
Substance Abuse and SSDI Benefits

THE APPEALS PROCESS
Denial of Benefits
Appealing a Denial of SSDI Benefits
Request for Reconsideration
Request for Hearing
SSDI Hearing Before ALJ
The Particulars of the ALJ Hearing Process in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire

FOLLOWING A FAVORABLE DECISION AND RECEIPT OF BENEFITS
Trial Return to Work Period
The Overpayment Process: Why They Occur and How to Handle Them
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