social security claim document

At Baldwin Legal Services PLLC, we focus on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) law. We assist clients throughout Michigan with their SSDI applications and appeals.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal government program designed to protect workers against the loss of ability to earn an income due to complete disability.  It is compulsory that all employees and employers contribute to the program.  Both the workers and employers pay into the program through the FICA tax.

SSDI – How to Qualify

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must be completely disabled according to the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s definition of total disability. You must also have worked and paid Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) premiums while you were working.  In most cases, if you have worked for an outside employer in the United States, you have made FICA contributions (as has your employer).

To qualify for total disability, according to the SSA’s definition, you must be completely unable to perform any work which you have ever performed in the past.  This means that you need to be unable to perform the work on your current or last job.  Additionally, the SSA must deem you incapable of adjusting to other work which is currently available for someone of your physical and mental abilities and level of education.

Regarding past work and FICA contributions, most workers will need to have worked for at least five of the past ten years in order to be insured under the SSDI benefits.  The exact requirements vary depending on your age, with younger and older workers having less stringent requirements than workers in their 30s and 40s.

The first thing you need to do to qualify for SSDI is to make your intent to file known.  Even if you are not positive that you are going to file a Social Security Disability claim, you should go to the SSA office and state your intent to file.  Doing so establishes a protected filing date. In the event you are eventually approved for SSDI benefits, your back pay will generally be calculated based on your initial filing date.

Assuming you go forward and file a Social Security Disability claim, you will need to prove both that you have worked and contributed sufficiently to FICA and that you are in fact, completely disabled.  Proving your FICA contributions is normally fairly straight forward. As long as your employers have filled out and turned in their proper paperwork, most of this is done for you. Proving your complete disability, however, is often not so easy or straight forward.  The system, while designed to help those who truly qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, is also designed to weed out those who don’t.  Unfortunately, many people who should qualify for Social Security Disability benefits have their initial claims rejected.

If you are looking to file a SSDI claim, you should strongly consider contacting a disability lawyer to represent you. While you are allowed to represent yourself, a competent disability lawyer will save you a lot of time and headache simply by knowing how the Social Security Disability system works and how to best present your case, both in writing and (if necessary) before an Administrative Law Judge.SSDI – How to Apply

You should apply for SSDI as soon as you have reason to believe you may have a long term disability.  In order to be approved for SSDI, you will need to demonstrate that your disability is expected to last at least one year or that it is expected to be life ending. You will also need to demonstrate that you are unable to perform any work which would be categorized as substantial gainful activity.

It is important to make your intent to file a claim known to the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you even suspect that you might be permanently disabled.  This is because your protective filing date will be determined by when you first notified the SSA of your intent to file. There is nothing lost if you file an intent to claim Social Security Disability but then don’t need to actually file for SSDI because your condition improves, but you could lose out on a considerable amount of back pay if you don’t make your intent to file known when you are first injured or otherwise disabled.

You should prepare yourself for a lengthy process while applying for Social Security Disability benefits.  Most initial claims are denied. If your claim is denied, don’t let this discourage you. Many claims which are denied on the first pass are later accepted during the appeals process.

If you receive a denial of SSDI benefits, consider consulting a Social Security lawyer. The appeals process can be rather drawn out, and you improve your chance of having your claim accepted at every level if you have professional representation.  Best of all, a Social Security lawyer won’t cost you anything unless you are approved for SSDI.  Even then, your lawyer’s fees will come out of the back pay which is owed to you rather than out of the ongoing benefits which you will receive.

How We Can Help

A Michigan disability lawyer at Baldwin Legal Services PLLC has the legal experience and resources to successfully protect your rights and help you obtain equitable SSDI benefits.  Our expert legislative teams have years of familiarity with social security disability claims, so we understand precisely what steps and information are necessary for a successful claim.  If your case makes it to a hearing, you may need to appear in front of a judge and we’ll be right there by your side.  Our disability lawyers have experience handling the particulars of many wide-ranging conditions, from mental disorders like bipolar and depression, to pain-inducing illnesses like fibromyalgia and arthritis.  After you are approved for disability assistance, it normally takes five months for financial support to begin; don’t waste any more time than is necessary by submitting incomplete forms or not gathering pivotal records.  We understand that this is a challenging time, which is why we are committed to making sure proper medical evidence is provided for your application and that any appeals are filed within a timely manner. For a free consultation and to find out more about how we can help, call 877-886-1441.  SSDI cases are taken on a contingency fee basis.  That means, no out-of-pocket expenses for you.  The Social Security Administration pays our fee directly if we win your case.

Baldwin Legal Services PLLC represents clients throughout Michigan in Detroit, Troy, Southfield, Warren, Livonia, Novi, Royal Oak, Rochester, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Sterling Heights, Waterford, Farmington, Pontiac, Dearborn, Ann Arbor, Saginaw and communities in Wayne, Livingston, Oakland, Macomb counties.