Hundreds of thousands of people have filed legitimate claims for Social Security disability benefits only to be denied. If you are one of those people you may feel that you are at the end of your rope, but don't be discouraged. Only a minority of claims are approved based on the initial application. Please review Crocker Law Offices Legally Speaking series on Social Security Disability with WBKO's Chris Allen.
Chris: Cyndi we hear a lot about social security, but what qualifies a person to receive social security disability benefits?
Cyndi: Well to be disabled for the purposes of the social security administration a person has to be unable to work because of a mental or physical condition that last 12 months. Either it has lasted 12 months or it's expected to last 12 months, or a condition that is considered terminal. For most cases to get disability benefits you have to have worked 5 out of the last 10 years, and then the amount of your benefits will likely be based on the earnings reported to the social security administration.
Chris: So how would somebody file for those benefits?
Cyndi: Well there are 3 ways you can do it. You can actually go to your nearest social security office and just wait and have somebody help you with an application. You may be waiting several hours but some people find that to be the easiest way to do it. You can also call the social security administration and schedule an online interview and they will take your information over the phone. Or you can go to the web www.ssa.gov and fill out an online application there.
Chris: So don't you need a lawyer to help file that?
Cyndi: Well the initial application you can probably do yourself. Most people are denied on their initial application. If you are one of the fortunate few that are not denied then you probably didn't need a lawyer to help you with it. With that said if someone calls us at Crocker Law and they are really struggling with their initial application then we'll help them.
Chris: So what happens if you're denied?
Cyndi: Once you're denied you need to file a request for reconsideration and about 80% of those are denied. So the final step for most people who get benefits is a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Chris: So it sounds like if you're denied you need to get a lawyer.
Cyndi: That would be my recommendation.
Chris: Thank you Cyndi and that's Legally Speaking.