Ohio Social Security Disability Lawyers
Securing Social Security Disability Assistance for People in Need
The United States, through law and generations of practice, has decided that citizens who have disabilities caused by injury or illness and are unable to work for a living shall be taken care of through the Social Security Administration. This is accomplished by the Social Security Disability Insurance(SSD) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
Like many government programs, SSD and SSI have grown large and complex due to need and regulation. Obtaining SSD and SSI benefits from the Social Security Administration has become a bureaucratic nightmare for many claim applicants, including residents of Northeastern Ohio’s Mahoning Valley who should easily qualify for these government benefits.
Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA,helps qualifying individuals in Northeastern Ohio get the SSD and SSI benefits. Our SSD attorneys have more than 25 years of experience securing SSD and SSI benefits for clients, whether assisting clients with applications or with appeals of unfavorable benefit claim decisions.
If you or a loved one think you may qualify for SSD or SSI payments, we urge you to contact us right away. Time wasted means benefits lost. Let us begin work for you today.
“Attorney Magill has been representing me since 2010 and I couldn't have picked a better attorney!! Attorney Magill and his staff fought hard for me with worker's comp cases and got me the justice and fair compensation that I deserved. If you want great people that will work hard to get you the justice and compensation that you deserve then call Heller, Maas, Moro and Magill... great attorneys that will fight to get you what you deserve.” – LRF
Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?
Both the Social Security Disability (SSD) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provide payments to individuals who have a disability that prevents them from working for a living and who also meet certain qualifying medical and financial criteria. However, the two programs have different purposes.
Social Security Disability is an insurance program for workers who have developed an incapacitating disability.
Supplemental Security Income is an entitlement for those with severe disabilities who have never worked, or poverty-stricken elderly citizens.
To obtain SSD benefits, in addition to having a disability, you must have previously paid Social Security taxes through employment and worked long enough to accrue a benefit. Formerly employed workers must be able to demonstrate to the Social Security Administration that they:
- Cannot perform the work they did in previous jobs.
- Have a disability that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months, or cause their death.
- Have a medical condition that prevents them from adjusting to any other type of employment.
The SSD applicant must also show that they have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security to qualify for benefits. That means you must have earned 20 work credits within the last 10 years of working ending with the year you became disabled. A work credit is counted by how much you are paid in wages. For 2017 you must earn $1,300 within a three-month period to earn a work credit. Once your wages reach $5,200 within a year, then you have earned all four of the work credits for that year. If you are unsure of how many work credits you have earned you can visit www.ssa.gov and create a mySocialSecurity login account. You can see all of your reported earnings there.
As you may expect, an application for SSD benefits consists of multiple forms to be completed and requires supporting records demonstrating:
- Disability (medical records)
- Employment (job records over many years)
- Workers’ compensation claims (if applicable)
- Financial assets (bank accounts, retirement accounts, additional assets).
Your medical records are most important. To qualify, you must show that your physical or mental disability matches an impairment in the Social Security Administration’s “Listing of Impairments” (also known as the “Blue Book”). If there is no specific match, your evidence must convince claim examiners that your condition is equivalent to an impairment listed in the Blue Book.
Filing a complete and accurate application increases your potential for approval and for benefit payments to begin. Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co. can help you gather the information necessary for a proper application, and ensure there are no omissions, technical errors or discrepancies that can cause your claim to be denied.
We help former workers file SSD claims that reflect cases much like yours every day, and have filed SSD applications on behalf of clients for many years. You are no longer alone. We know the system, and we can make the system work for you.
Do You Qualify for Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income pays benefits to people with disabilities who demonstrate a financial need. The SSI program typically serves people who have had a disability since childhood and have never been able to work to earn a living. In many cases, a family member, such as a parent, applies for SSI on behalf of a young adult with a disability.
SSI is also available to adults over age 65, or people who are blind if they demonstrate the required financial need.
An SSI applicant’s “countable resources” cannot exceed $2,000 ($3,000 if married). Countable resources include savings, stocks, bonds, real or personal property, or other assets.
But not necessarily everything the applicant owns, such as a primary home, is counted. Other government benefits, such as SNAP assistance (food stamps) or home energy assistance, are not counted.
If an applicant is younger than 18, their parents’ assets are taken into consideration.
An applicant must also be able to demonstrate that they are:
- Disabled by a medical condition that keeps them from working and is expected to last at least one year or cause their death, or
- Totally or partially blind, or
- At least 65 years old.
An application for SSI benefits consists of multiple forms to be completed and supported by medical records. Parents applying for benefits for a disabled child must submit an Application for Supplemental Security Income and a Child Disability Report.
Medical records must show that the applicant’s physical or mental disability matches an impairment in the Social Security Administration’s “Listing of Impairments.” Part B of what is also known as the “Blue Book” is “Childhood Listings” with congenital disabilities.
If there is no specific match between the applicant’s disability and a Blue Book listing, evidence in the application must convince claim examiners that the condition is equivalent to an impairment listed in the Blue Book.
An initial application that is complete and accurate increases the likelihood for approval and for benefit payments to begin. Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co. can help you gather the records a proper application requires. We’ll ensure there are no omissions, technical errors or discrepancies that could result in your SSI claim being denied.
We have helped many individuals and families much like yours with SSI claims, and have helped clients file SSI applications for many years. We know the system, and we can make it work for you. You are no longer alone. Let us help.
We Can Help Appeal an SSD or SSI Claim Decision
Whether you have worked with Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co. from the start or you have applied for benefits on your own, we can help you appeal a decision that does not provide benefits you deserve.
Applying initially with our assistance greatly reduces your chances of being rejected, but errors and examiner misjudgment do occur. In fact, most first-time claims are rejected. The Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income programs are the largest of several federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities.
The Social Security Administration provides a four-tier appeals process for both the SSD and SSI program:
- Reconsideration. This is a second review of your file by a claims examiner not connected to the initial examination of your application. You must request reconsideration and are allowed to add to the application prior to reconsideration.
- Hearing. If your reconsideration is denied, you may request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). At this hearing, you can testify and present witnesses to testify for you, such as doctors who have treated you.
- Appeals Council Review. If necessary after a hearing, you can request that the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council take up your case. The Appeals Council may decline the request, conduct the review and hand down a decision, or send your case back to the ALJ for another review. You do not participate in this appeal.
District Court Case.
After a denial at the Appeals Council you have the option of going to District Court. At District Court, a civil suit is brought against the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration.
- District Court appeals are very complicated, time consuming, and may be expensive.
- The District Court judge does not determine whether or not you are disabled, but rather whether errors occurred during your administrative hearing.
- Because of this, new medical evidence typically cannot be submitted to District Court.
- The District Court may deny your appeal, grant your appeal and award benefits, or grant your appeal and remand the matter for another hearing with an administrative law judge.
- If you are still eligible for SSD or SSI benefits after your hearing denial, filing a new application and starting the process over may be more advantageous than going through the District Court process.
- If your medical conditions have worsened or new ones have developed, filing a new application may also be more advantageous than going through the District Court process.
Our office weighs these considerations in determining whether a District Court lawsuit or filing a new application is more appropriate in your case.
Each appeal must be requested within specific deadlines to move forward. The final appeal to the federal district court requires the assistance of an attorney. But earlier appeals procedures operate on standard accepted rules of evidence and procedure, and the SSA’s case will be presented by professionals who deal with SSD and/or SSI claims every day.
At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, we have taken up the duty of helping Northeastern Ohio residents who have disabilities get all of the federal benefits the law says they should. It’s unfortunate that the process for obtaining this much-needed assistance is so complex, but we know how to get it done. We can provide this service to you.
The Social Security attorneys at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill have secured favorable decisions for SSD and SSI claimants for over 25 years. We know how the system works. Our attorneys do not get paid a fee unless you get paid benefits. Let our lawyers seek benefits for you.
Social Security Disability FAQs
I am currently receiving Social Security Disability benefits, but I am afraid they will be stopped in the future. Can this happen?
The SSA does not cease benefits unless your medical condition has improved and you are able to return to work. The SSA does conduct reviews on a periodic basis.
You may qualify for Supplemental Security Income if you have limited income and resources, even if you have never worked before. You may also qualify for Disabled Adult Child benefits (based upon your parent’s income) or other spousal benefits (based upon your late husband or wife’s income).
Medicaid is based upon your economic need; Medicare is not. For more information on Medicare, go to Medicare or telephone 1-800-MEDICARE. For more information on Medicaid, go to Medicaid-Federal, telephone 877-267-2323, or you can call your county Department of Job and Family Services agency.
Once a claimant has been denied at every level, he or she may file a civil action in the United States District Court.
You may file an appeal with the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will take a look at the decision rendered by the Administrative Law Judge and make a determination based upon all of the information in the file.
SSA hearings are not open to the public. Since the hearings are very informal, there are very few people present. There is no jury present at the hearing. The only people who will be there are the Administrative Law Judge, a secretary, the claimant’s attorney, and possibly a vocational and or medical expert provided by the SSA, any additional witnesses you may call to testify, and an interpreter if needed.
Yes, the SSA must approve all attorney’s fees and may withhold a portion of your back benefits to pay the attorney’s fee.
For Disability Insurance Benefits, benefits cannot be received until 5 months after the date the claimant became disabled. Also, in general, benefits may not be paid more than one year prior to the date of the initial claim.
For disability insurance benefits, it all depends upon how much you have worked and earned in the past. For disabled widow’s or widower’s benefits, it depends upon how much the late husband or wife worked and earned. For disabled adult child benefits, it all depends upon how much the parent worked and earned. For all types of SSI benefits, there is a base amount that an individual with no other income receives. Other income that an individual has reduces the amount of SSI which an individual can receive.
Age must be considered because it is a requirement of the Social Security Act. As you get older, you become less adaptable to do different jobs. An injury which has a temporary impairment on a younger individual may totally disable an older individual.
You may have an illness defined as disabling, however a qualified attorney should be consulted to review whether or not you have an impairment which would qualify you for disability immediately or whether your particular circumstances can be developed into a ruling for disability based on the sequential evaluation process used by the SSA.
I have been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness. Will this have an impact on whether or not I receive benefits?
Yes. Many claimants do not mention psychiatric problems; however the presence of such conditions along with physical issues may impact whether you receive a favorable decision for disability.
The best way to increase your chances of receiving a favorable decision on your claim is to hire an experienced attorney to represent you. Statistically, those who hire an attorney to represent them are much more likely to receive benefits than those who do not.
First, the claimant must fill out an application which is then reviewed by a disability examiner at the Disability Determination agency in your area. The examiner along with a medical doctor, make the initial decision on your claim. If your claim is denied at the initial level, you may file a Request for Reconsideration. Your file is then sent to a different disability examiner, and another decision on your claim is made. If your claim is denied at the Reconsideration level, you may request a hearing. At the hearing level, the claim is decided by an Administrative Law Judge who is employed by the SSA, but he is required to make an independent decision on the claim. It is best to retain counsel at the initial application stage.
The SSA collects all of your medical records and any information regarding your work history, education and age. First, the SSA is to decide if you can do the work you have done in the past. If they feel that you cannot, then they are to consider if there is any other work you are able to do they are supposed to consider whether there is any other work which you can do considering your health problems and your age, education, and work experience.
If I am currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits, am I eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits?
Yes, however, there may be an offset because of the workers’ compensation benefits which may reduce the amount of Social Security benefits. It is very important that you file for Social Security disability benefits as soon as possible to avoid any possible gap between the time workers’ compensation benefits end and Social Security disability benefits begin.
Once I become disabled and am no longer able to work, how long do I have to wait before I can apply for Social Security benefits?
There is no waiting period. You can apply for benefits as soon as you are no longer able to engage in substantial employment.
The SSA defines disability as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. Even if you have not been disabled for 12 consecutive months you may apply for benefits.
A) You may contact our office for a consultation regarding filing an application for Social Security disability benefits online.
B) You may also contact the Social Security Administration online by visiting www.ssa.gov.
C) You may contact the Social Security Administration by telephone to arrange a phone interview to file your claim or call the SSA at 800-772-1213.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) each have disability programs. It is possible to receive disability benefits from both;however, the criteria for receiving disability benefits through Social Security are different from the criteria for receiving disability benefits from the VA, and you must file separate applications. For example, the VA may pay benefits for partial disability, but SSA pays disability benefits only to people with impairments so severe they prevent any kind of substantial gainful activity (SGA). You may find that you qualify for disability benefits through one program but not the other, or that you qualify for both.
Disabled children under the age of 18 are eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income. Children may also be eligible to receive benefits from an eligible parent who is disabled, retired or deceased. To receive benefits from a parent’s record the child must be under age 18; or 1819 and still a full-time student (no higher than grade 12); or 18 or older and have a disability that started before age 22.