Fall River Disability Lawyer

ROB LEVINE, FALL RIVER DISABILITY LAWYER

Rob Leviene & Associates’ informative site on Social Security / Disability practice in Fall River, MA. Here you will find useful information pertaining to types of disability, how to qualify, and the process of getting your claim approved. If you have additional questions, or think you are ready to speak to a lawyer about your disability matter, call now.

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ANTTORNEY DEALS WITH YOUR DISABILITY CLAIM

Questions They Will Ask 

  1. Does the impairment (or combo of impairments) keep you from being able to perform full-time work? If CMT is working, then he/she will be found not disabled at this step, regardless of the seriousness of the diagnosis.
  2. Is the impairment severe, and is it expected to remain severe for at least 12 months, or result in death? This is the step knocks out CMTs with short-term diagnoses (i.e., a surgery where the recovery is not expected to take a year).
  3. Does the impairment meet or equal one of Social Security’s Listings? (In order to make sure claims are adjudicated similarly around the country, SSA has developed criteria, called Listings, for various diagnoses.) If a claimant meets a Listing, then they are approved for benefits and no further inquiry is made. The Listing requirements are VERY high, and a claimant can still win their case even if they don’t meet Listing-level severity.
  4. Does the impairment prevent you from performing any job that you performed in the last 15 years? Here, the burden is on us to show that our client is not able to do any of the jobs he/she did in the last 15 yrs.
  5. Does the impairment prevent you from being able to perform any other work? At this step, the burden shifts to SSA to identify other work that is available in significant numbers that the applicant can perform in spite of limitations determined by the ALJ. Disability Determination Services and Administrative Law Judges use vocational experts familiar with job requirements to assess whether jobs exist which can be be performed.

For more information about Social Security eligibility your area, call us today.

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ADVICE FROM OUR FALL RIVER DISABILITY

Income, as defined by the SSA, is money you receive such as wages, Social Security benefits, and pensions. Income also includes such things as food and shelter. The amount of income you can receive each month and still get SSI depends partly on where you live.  Income reporting will not stop at the application stage, you must report all income while you are receiving SSI benefits.

Resources are things you own, including real estate, bank accounts, cash, stocks, and bonds. You may be able to get SSI if your resources are worth no more than $2,000. A couple may be able to get SSI if they have resources worth no more than $3,000. When calculating resources, Social Security does not count: the home you live in and the land it is on; life insurance policies with a face values of $1,500 or less; your car (usually); burial plots for you and members of your immediate family; and up to $1,500 in burial funds for you and up to $1,500 in burial funds for your spouse.

If you are married, Social Security also includes part of your spouse’s income and resources when deciding whether you qualify for SSI. If you are younger than age 18, your parents’ incomes and resources are considered.

Unlike SSDI, SSI applications cannot be made online. You will need to file the application with Social Security over the phone or in person at your local Social Security office. At Rob Levine and Associates, we can contact Social Security and make arrangements for you to file your SSI application. We recommend scheduling a telephone appointment so that you are not inconvenienced by having to travel to the office. We’ll take care of you.

FAQs About Your

SSDI Case

What is a compassionate allowance?
In order to decrease the decision time for a claim, the SSA has identified a list of conditions that have already met their standards for disability benefits. This initiative was created to help those with serious disabilities by simplifying the process. There are two ways your condition will qualify you for benefits under the CAL Initiative.
  • If you have a listed illness or disease that is the same as listed in the schedule of diseases listed on the SSA website, you may automatically qualify for benefits.
  • If your disability has the same signs and symptoms as a disease listed on the schedule under the CAL Initiative, then you may qualify for benefits as well.
 
Can I receive SSI and SSDI benefits at the same time?
In order to receive concurrent benefits, there are going to be two separate tests. The standard to receive benefits medically is the same in both programs. The difference between the two programs is your work history and income level. In order to qualify for SSDI, you must have worked for the last five years and paid into the Social Security system. If you qualify for SSDI and your monthly compensation is less than the maximum amount, currently $783, you could be eligible under the SSI program. Remember, you must qualify for each one individually. In order to qualify for SSI, you must not have income greater than the maximum nor can your net worth be greater than $3,000. This looks at both your income and your household income. For example, if you were receiving $500 for SSDI, you could qualify for $283 under the SSI program.
Why do I need a lawyer to help me apply for SSDI?
Hiring an attorney to help you with your Social Security Disability application is beneficial as it can decrease the length of time it takes for you to get an approval. Their experience in these cases allows them to know what information and documentation you need to receive the maximum amount of benefits.
What happens if my SSDI claim has been denied?
There are two reasons for the denial. The first is that the SSA indicates that you are not qualified for either the SSDI or the SSI program, or both. This is based on your work history, your household income, and your net worth. Generally, unless you believe they are making an error as to what you paid into the social security system or your income level, this is not something that attorneys generally appeal. The second is that the SSA determines that you are not medically qualified for benefits--meaning they believe that you are able to perform gainful employment or your medical condition doesn't qualify. This could be grounds for appeal.  There are four levels of appeal at the administrative or agency level. In order of application, you begin by filing an initial claim. You then file for reconsideration, you then go before an administrative law judge for a hearing, and finally, you can appeal the administrative law judge's decision before the appeals council. You can be approved or denied at any of those four levels. After you have exhausted all four agency levels, you can either start your application over and remain at the administrative level by filing a new initial claim. Or, you can file an appeal by the appeals counsel leaving the agency level and appealing to the federal district court.  
If I don’t have enough work history, or any at all, can I still receive benefits?
Although you may not be able to receive SSDI benefits, you can still apply for Supplemental Security Insurance. Since this is a program based on financial need, you can qualify for these benefits if you do not exceed the Social Security Administration’s limit for income and/or assets.

Win Your Social Security Disability Claim If you’re one of the 8.6 million American workers who are unable to work because of a physical or psychological condition, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income.
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