How to Apply for Social Security Disability
The SSD Application Process
You are able to file a Social Security disability claim in one of three ways: online at the Social Security website, over the phone, or in person at any Social Security office.
When applying, it's important that you gather all of the documents/information you may need:
- Your birth certificate
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status
- Military discharge papers (if you served in the U.S. military prior to 1968)
- W-2 and/or self-employment tax returns for the previous year
- A completed Adult Disability Report (available on the Social Security website)
- Medical records, reports and recent test results
- Proof of any/all temporary or permanent workers' compensation benefits you have received (award letters, pay stubs, etc.)
You will also need to be prepared to answer a series of questions about your dependents, citizenship status, and other details during the application process.
Should You Hire a Muskegon SSDI Lawyer or Go It Alone?
A majority of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims get denied at the initial claim and reconsideration stages. This occurs regardless of whether or not a claimant has legal representation.
As a result, most SSI and SSDI claims need to go to a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) if claimants hope to be awarded benefits. It is at this stage that having a Muskegon Social Security disability lawyer on your side can really make a difference in the outcome of a case.
While no attorney can promise that a claimant will receive disability benefits, they can guarantee that your case will be effectively developed.
Developing a Disability Case
A majority of SSI and SSDI claimants do not know how to properly prepare a case for hearing. However, an attorney experienced in this area of law will be able to provide well-informed advice and personalized guidance. Our Social Security disability lawyer in Muskegon understands what a judge will look for in a particular medical condition as well as what questions should be asked of your doctor. Since you only pay us if we recover benefits for you, you can trust that we will work hard and use innovative strategies to help you succeed.
The Odds of Winning without Legal Help
Can a claimant who does not have legal representation from a lawyer still win an SSI or SSDI claim at a hearing? Yes—this does occasionally happen, but the odds are markedly lower.
Even claimants who are not represented by an attorney may not receive the best “onset date,” which will affect how much back pay they get. The official disability onset date will determine how much money you receive in back pay, so it is in your best interests to prove the earliest possible onset date.
Weigh the risk of going unrepresented to a hearing when your future livelihood is at stake with the percentage of your back pay that you’ll have to pay a lawyer if you win (limited to $6,000 for Social Security cases).
Contact the leading Muskegon Social Security Disability attorney at Nolan & Shafer PLC today at (231) 403-0040. We serve clients in Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas.
“I would highly recommend Nolan & Shafer! Matt was my attorney and he was always accommodating, very kind, and helpful.”Courtney S.
“Great job Matt and Nolan’s & Shafer. If you need representation give them a call!”Steve G.
“He is someone I trust and now am happy to call him a friend.”Marvin D.
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