Lansing Social Security Disability Lawyer
Seeking Benefits in Livonia, Metro Detroit & across the State of Michigan
When you become disabled and are unable to work, or if you have never been able to obtain gainful employment due to a debilitating condition, you could be entitled to Social Security disability (SSD) benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers several different types of benefits to assist those in need. Because SSD is overseen by the federal government, it operates similarly across different states. However, there are some state-specific regulations that may apply to your case.
If you believe you are eligible for SSD benefits, or if you need help filing a claim or appealing a denial, turn to the team at Bahrie Law.
Since 1979, our Lansing & Metro Detroit Social Security disability lawyers have been helping individuals and families recover their rightful benefits in mid-Michigan, Livonia, grand rapids, oak park, traverse city, the upper peninsula and throughout the entire state of Michigan.
We can help you understand your legal rights and options and guide you through the process of recovering your benefits.
What Is Social Security Disability Insurance?
Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefits fall under the Retirement Survivors Disability Insurance (RSDI) benefits program and are funded in part of your employer and your own FICA withholding from your lifetime of employment. Your disability benefits will eventually turn into your retirement benefits when you reach the full age of retirement if you are unable to return back to gainful employment.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides benefits to “insured” individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. To be “insured,” you must have earned enough recent work credits, meaning you must have been employed at a job for a certain length of time and received taxable income.
Who Is Eligible for SSDI?
To be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you must meet the following requirements:
- You have worked long enough and recently enough to be considered “insured”
- You have a disability that meets the SSA’s disability standards
In most cases, you must meet both of these requirements to be eligible for SSDI. However, there are some exceptions; get in touch with our attorneys at Bahrie Law to learn more.
SSDI Benefits – How Much Will I Get?
- The easiest way to find out the amount of your SSDI benefits is go to SSA.gov and create a my Social security account. https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.action
- Once in your account you will be able to obtain an earnings printout that shows how much you earned each year.
- Additionally, it will provide how much you will receive if found disabled by Social Security, early retirement, or full retirement.
- There is a very complicated formula that calculates an individuals’ benefits based on their highest years of earnings but social security provides an estimator https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/calculators/
- The average SSDI benefit for 2021 is between $1200 and $1300 per month with the highest earners receiving over $3000 per month.
- There can be reductions for other disability benefit payments such as long-term disability or workers’ comp benefits so it is important to understand the impact and inform your attorney of any other benefits you may receive.
- Your Social Security backpay is calculated by multiplying your benefit amount by the number of months between when you are first eligible to receive disability benefits and the date of determination approving you for SSDI or SSI.
What Disabilities Meet the SSA’s Standards?
To be eligible for cash benefits through SSDI, you must have a qualifying disability.
To determine if you are “disabled,” the Social Security Administration (SSA) typically looks at the following five factors:
- Your ability to work at any “substantial gainful activity” (SGA)
- The severity of your injury/medical condition
- Whether your injury/medical condition is included in the SSA’s list of impairments
- If you are capable of performing the same work you did before your disability
- Your ability to perform any other type of work
If you can work in a partial capacity but make too much, you will not be eligible for SSDI. If your disability prevents you from returning to your past job, but you can obtain other substantial gainful employment, you may not qualify.
We encourage you to get in touch with our Lansing & Metro Detroit SSDI attorneys to learn more about whether you are eligible for benefits. We can also assist you if you need help filing an SSDI claim or if your claim has already been denied on application; however, your best chance to succeed is on appeal at a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). At Bahrie Law, we provide free initial consultations and do not collect any fees unless we win your case.
What Is Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another federal program that provides benefits to disabled individuals who are unable to work. It is completely separate from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI); you may qualify for both SSDI and SSI.
SSI is a needs-based program. As such, you do not need to have earned a certain number of work credits to be eligible for SSI benefits. Instead, the program is designed to provide financial assistance to needy individuals who meet certain disability and income requirements.
Who Qualifies for SSI Benefits?
To qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits, you must be either:
- 65 or older
And you must meet all three of the following requirements:
- Have limited income
- Have limited resources
- Be a U.S. citizen, national, or a qualifying immigrant
“Limited income and resources” are determined by the SSA based on all income you receive, as well as your assets. Some income and resources are excluded, such as a residential home and a single vehicle, meaning they are not “countable” and do not affect your eligibility. To qualify for SSI, you must have less than $2,000 in countable income/resources if you are single and less than $3,000 in countable income/resources if you are married.
How Much Can You Receive in SSI Benefits?
Supplemental Security Income benefits are limited depending on your situation and are subject to certain caps. Specifically, the amount you can receive if you are single is different than the amount you are eligible for if you are married and both you and your spouse qualify for SSI.
If you are single, you can receive SSI benefits up to the following amounts:
- $794.00 per month if you do not receive assistance for food or shelter
- $529.33 per month if you do receive assistance for food or shelter
- $37.00 per month if you live in a medical care facility
If you are part of a couple and both you and your partner are eligible for SSI, you can receive the following:
- Up to $1,191.00 per month if you do not receive assistance for food or shelter
- Up to $794.00 per month if you do receive assistance for food or shelter
- Up to $74.00 per month if you live in a medical care facility
Every year, the SSA adjusts these numbers to account for the cost of living. Reach out to our attorneys to learn more, including whether SSI benefit caps have changed.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
While the application process may differ slightly depending on your unique situation, there are typically several steps you must take to apply for benefits. The best method to apply of SSDI benefits is to let us do it for you in order to ensure the application is completed correctly and we have a strong foundation to file our appeal if the application is denied.
Contact our office and we will forward you a packet that summarizes the information needed to complete your application. SSI applications are ineligible to be filed online and must either be completed over the phone with a Social Security representative or via paper application. We can either provide you with a paper application or you can set up an appointment with your local Social Security office.
First, you will need to gather various information and put together specific documents to file your initial application. Then, you will need to fill out your application, taking care to do so correctly and accurately, and submit it to the SSA.
The SSA will then review your application and the supporting information and documents to evaluate your eligibility. The SSA then processes your application and forwards it to the Disability Determination Services agency in Michigan. This agency is the one ultimately responsible for deciding on your eligibility and benefits.
Navigating the SSD claims filing process can be challenging. It is critical that you do not make any mistakes on your application or fail to provide the proper supporting documents. Even when you do everything correctly, your claim could still be denied. In fact, most first-time SSD claims are denied.
If this happens to you, contact our Lansing & Metro Detroit Social Security disability attorneys right away. You have the right to appeal a claim denial, but you should work with an experienced legal professional who can assist you throughout this process.
Contact Bahrie Law for a Free Consultation
At Bahrie Law, we understand how stressful and overwhelming the Social Security disability system can be. When you are already trying to navigate a serious disability and keep up with everyday expenses, filing a claim or appealing a denied claim can seem insurmountable.
That’s where we come in.
With more than 40 years of experience, our firm has a proven record of success in helping clients secure their SSDI and SSI benefits. We understand the system and can provide you with the personalized guidance you need. Our team offers compassionate client service and aggressive advocacy every step of the way.
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