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Chicago Social Security Disability Lawyer

Each year, the SSA denies 63% of Social Security Disability claims. Additionally, only 22% of applications are initially accepted. Rebuilding your financial future after an accident, injury, or chronic illness diagnosis is hard enough without the limitations sustaining a disability can place on your earning potential. Let our Social Security Disability lawyers help you navigate the claims process, so you can begin receiving monthly benefits payments right when you need them most. With Ankin Law on your side, you’re up to three times more likely to have your Social Security disability benefits application approved.

If you’re struggling to make ends meet because of a disability, we can help. Contact the Social Security Disability attorneys at Ankin Law today to start your path toward financial stability.

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    What Is Social Security Disability?

    Social Security disability insurance is a program run by the Social Security Administration, intended to help bridge the earnings gap for Americans with disabilities. Disability benefits are just one subset of benefits established under the Social Security Act. The Social Security program provides income to spouses and dependent children of people with disabilities, as well as people with disabilities and retirees. The amount of Social Security benefits you qualify for, as well as the type of benefits you may receive, depends on your unique circumstances and the nature of your disability.

    Do I Qualify for Disability Benefits?

    There are a variety of disabling conditions that can qualify an applicant for Social Security disability benefits. Generally, a person under 65 who has built up enough “work credits,” has a qualifying condition, and is prevented from participating in substantial gainful activity for at least 12 months. If a condition is expected to result in death, it may also qualify as a disability under the SSA’s guidelines.

    Work Credits

    Work credits are a crucial part of qualifying for SSDI benefits. If you haven’t earned enough work credits by paying in to the Social Security tax through a qualified employer, you will not qualify for benefits. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits may still be available to you, however.

    Work credits are based on an applicant’s earnings throughout a calendar year. Applicants can earn a maximum of four work credits per year. The number of work credits you need to qualify for SSDI benefits will depend on how old you were when you became disabled.

    Qualifying Conditions

    Conditions that may qualify an applicant to receive disability benefits include physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, mental illness, intellectual disabilities, disabilities caused by chronic neurological conditions, and any other condition that prevents a person from performing typical daily activities.

    For a condition to be considered a disabling under the SSA’s guidelines, it must prevent (or be expected to prevent) you from participating in substantial gainful activity for at least 12 months. Substantial gainful activity is the level of earnings and work activity a person can sustain to be considered productive. The exact amount of earnings an applicant can attain while still qualifying for benefits is determined each year by the SSA.

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    What Is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?

    Both SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits are intended for individuals who are unable to work due to health conditions. However, the qualifications for each type of benefits differ, primarily regarding work history and income. A social security disability lawyer can help you determine what benefits are right for your circumstances.

    Social Security disability insurance benefits are provided to individuals with disabilities who have earned sufficient work credits by paying Social Security taxes through a qualifying employer. Supplemental Security Income, on the other hand, is intended to provide for individuals with disabilities who have low income and limited assets.

    Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

    The Social Security Administration pays benefits to claimants who are unable to work for 12 months or more due to a disability or medical condition. There is a 5-month waiting period for disability benefits, though back pay is available under certain circumstances.
    The qualifications for Social Security disability insurance benefits are:

    • The applicant must have worked at a job covered by Social Security. After working under a covered employer long enough, the applicant will have earned sufficient work credits by paying social security taxes.
    • The applicant’s condition must meet the SSA’s standards for disability. For a condition to be considered disabling, it must prevent the applicant from participating in substantial gainful activity for at least 12 months.

    Disability benefits are paid until the applicant is able to return to work, surpasses the substantial gainful activity earnings limit, or until retirement. Once a disability recipient reaches retirement age, his or her benefits convert to retirement benefits at the save value of the previous benefit award.

    Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

    The qualifications for Supplemental Security Income differ slightly from those for SSDI. SSI benefits are funded by general tax revenue, rather than from Social Security taxes. This means that applicants do not need to pay into the program, or earn work credits, to qualify for benefits. Instead, a person with limited income and resources who is unable to work will qualify for financial support to cover his or her basic needs. This applies to adults and children with disabilities, as well as individuals aged 65 and over.

    The qualifications for SSI benefits are:

    • The applicant must either be aged 65 or older, have a disability, or live with blindness.
    • The applicant must have limited income and resources, including pension, other benefits, and earned wages.
    • In most cases, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen.
    • The applicant has to reside in the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands. Exceptions do apply to military dependents stationed abroad or students studying abroad temporarily.

    The amount of SSI benefits an applicant receives will depend on his or her resources, the state he or she lives in, or whether another person pays for part of his or her living expenses.

    If you have a disabling condition, our Social Security Disability lawyers will help you get the benefits you need. Call us now for a free, no obligation disability case evaluation. 312-600-0000.

    What Happens After I File For Social Security Disability Benefits?

    Having realistic expectations of the application process for Social Security disability benefits can help you plan for the months following your application. The waiting period for receiving your benefits after approval is 5 months. However, in many claims, there are steps that fall between your initial Social Security disability application and receiving your approval. Working with a Chicago Social Security Disability attorney can help streamline your approval process, connecting you with your benefits sooner.

    How to File for Social Security Disability

    To file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must first submit an application with the Social Security Administration. To help prove your Social Security disability claim, you will need to submit supporting documentation with your application. This can include details regarding your medical condition, supported by medical treatment records or doctors’ statements, and information showing your work history, which will help prove you have accrued enough work credits to qualify for benefits.

    Social Security Disability lawyers can help applicants sort through their documentation and file their application properly. Most disability benefits applications are denied on the first try, so working with an attorney is a crucial step in ensuring your application is completed correctly and thoroughly.

    The Disability Claims Process

    Initial disability benefits applications are reviewed by SSA field offices. These offices will ensure that an applicant meets the nonmedical requirements for disability benefits. Next, the application is sent to Disability Determination Services (DDS).

    During their review, the claimant’s medical qualification status will be determined by examining his or her circumstances. A client’s provided medical records and any other evidence submitted will be used to decide if he or she meets the minimum eligibility requirements. If the evidence submitted with the application is insufficient to make a disability determination, DDS may order a consultative examination.

    Once DDS approves the applicant’s disability status, the application is returned to the SSA field office. The claimant is then informed of his or her approval, the SSA calculates his or her benefit award, and payments begin after the 5-month wait period.

    What Happens if My Claim Is Denied?

    If your disability claim is denied, DDS may retain your application until an appeal is processed. You will then have 60 days to request a reconsideration from the SSA. During this time, you can provide additional information to help support your claim.

    If your claim is still denied after reconsideration, you may request a hearing with an administrative law judge within 60 days of your reconsideration determination. If the administrative law judge denies your claim after your disability hearing, you can file an additional appeal through the Appeals Counsel. If your claim remains denied after this appeal, you have a final shot at reaching a favorable resolution through a civil action filed through the district court.

    When Should I Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer?

    Retaining a disability lawyer will greatly improve your chance at attaining an approval on your initial application for benefits. Additionally, an attorney may be necessary if the nature of your medical condition makes it harder to prove your disability, or you are struggling to collect sufficient evidence and get through the application. If your disability claim is denied, a disability attorney is a crucial asset in seeking an appeal.

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    If you’ve been in an accident, our attorneys will help you get the benefits you need and deserve. Call us now for a free, no obligation case evaluation.


    What you need to know

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability

    1. What is the most a Social Security disability attorney can charge?
      Federal law sets a limit on how much Social Security Disability lawyers can charge for their services. Generally, an attorney and client can agree to any fee, as long as it does not exceed 25% of the claimant’s back pay settlement or $6000, whichever is lower.
    2. How can I increase my chances of getting disability? 
      Social Security Disability lawyers can increase your chances of getting a disability claim approved. Additionally, providing sufficient medical evidence and proof of work credits earned can help to support your claim.
    3. How much SSI back pay will I get? 
      The amount of back pay you will receive will depend on when you submitted your application for disability benefits. The SSA will take the amount of your monthly benefits and multiply it by the number of months that passed between the submission of your application and its approval.

    Learn More About Social Security Disability Claims in Chicago

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