People with disabilities can rely on the Social Security disability program to help them with their financial needs. Filing a Social Security disability claim requires a significant amount of paperwork and the cooperation of your medical providers.
An experienced disability attorney from the law firm of Nessler & Associates can help you navigate the complex application process to file a successful claim for disability benefits.
If your application for disability benefits is denied, your lawyer can work with you to appeal the decision to the Social Security Administration.
How to Apply for Social Security Benefits
To start your disability application, you can submit your application online, by phone, or in person at your local Social Security office. Illinois’ Disability Determination Services (DDS) decides who qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits.
The DDS then conducts disability evidence reviews of your medical records to determine if your disability qualifies for benefits. They also assess if your disability satisfies the criteria based on your medical documentation and background information.
As part of the disability claims process, you may need to undergo a consultative examination with one of the DDS’ medical professionals for an independent finding of disability.
You will receive a decision from the DDS within 90 days. If you qualify for Social Security benefits in Illinois, your local Social Security office calculates the monthly disability benefit amount and notifies you of the estimated arrival date of your first monthly benefit check.
Who Qualifies for Social Security Benefits in Illinois
Your eligibility for disability benefits is based on the following minimum criteria:
- History of paying Social Security taxes
- If you are working, your income must be below $1,350 a month
- The condition you have must interfere with your ability to work
- Your condition appears in Social Security’s blue book of disabling conditions
- Inability to perform your previous work
- Incapacity to work
The Social Security Administration’s compassionate allowances allow people to receive Social Security benefits even though their conditions do not appear on the list of disabling conditions. A qualifying medical condition can include aggressive forms of cancer and other fast-moving terminal diseases.
Disability for Mental Illnesses
Some mental conditions may qualify you for disability benefits. These disorders include:
These disorders include diseases that create decreased mental acuity due to a medical cause, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and stroke. Neurocognitive disorders may affect memory, attention span, and reasoning abilities.
They can also cause personality changes and behavioral problems, such as increased aggressiveness.
These disorders involve the inability to regulate mood and energy levels. They usually involve depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
These conditions affect cognitive ability and perception and include schizophrenia, delusions, and schizoaffective disorder. People suffering from these conditions might not recognize the difference between reality and their hallucinations.
You might be diagnosed with somatic symptom disorder if you experience actual physical symptoms. These symptoms are accompanied by excessive thoughts without a physical cause.
Disability claims for mental impairment present a more significant challenge to prove because of the subjective nature of mental health testing. In the event of a disability denial letter after submitting your application, the disability lawyers at Nessler & Associates can help you gather evidence to receive your disability payments.
What to Do If Your Initial Application Was Denied
In the event you receive a letter stating the denial of benefits, you can appeal the decision to the Social Security Administration to receive them. Your Request for Reconsideration form must be submitted to the Social Security Administration within 60 days of the date on your denial letter.
A reconsideration is a paper review performed by a different disability examiner within the DDS to evaluate your documentation and any new medical records to show proof of your disability.
The next level of appeal is a disability hearing by the administrative law judge. If you disagree with the administrative law judge’s decision or dismissal, you may request an appeals council review. The last hearing level is filing a civil lawsuit with the federal court.
Benefits of Hiring a Disability Benefits Attorney
Getting legal representation increases your chances of success in getting your claim approved. These attorneys know the unique challenges of disability cases.
Represent you in a hearing
Your legal team understands the most helpful way to put together your claim. They know which facts of your case have the best chance of swaying DDS staff.
During the disability appeals process, your attorney can gather relevant medical evidence, draft a brief for the administrative law judge, and prepare you to testify. At the hearing, your lawyer can help you testify about the impact of your disability in front of the judge. They can also cross-examine witnesses hired to counter your claim.
Gather appropriate evidence
A disability lawyer understands the type of medical evidence necessary to convince DDS or the judge that you qualify for disability benefits. This evidence includes employment pay stubs, medical records, and statements from your doctors. It must show that your injury or illness will hinder you for at least 12 months or the rest of your life.
Understand disability laws
Federal government agencies such as the Social Security Administration and DDS use technicalities to deny claims. An initial denial can be based on incomplete medical documentation and a lack of records regarding income, resources, overpayments, or housing arrangements. Rejection of claims due to technicalities makes up the majority of case outcomes.
The confusing process puts a lot of pressure on people applying without help, especially when they are already battling illness or injury. The disability lawyers at Nessler & Associates can help you navigate the claims process and handle any appeals that arise.
What Are the Costs of Hiring a Disability Benefits Lawyer
Disability attorneys work on contingency, so they do not collect fees unless you win. They can charge up to the lower of 25% of back benefits or $6,000 for a case, as set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations that governs the Social Security Administration.
Get Legal Help with Your Disability Claim
If you need help with a disability claim, turn to an attorney specializing in Social Security disability. The disability lawyers at Nessler & Associates have extensive experience and skills in handling disability claims. We understand the application process and gather the required documentation to get the best outcome for your claim.
Call Nessler & Associates at (800) 727-8010 today for your free case evaluation.