If you are a caregiver for a loved one or family member with a disability, you understand the complexities of providing attention not only to their daily medical needs, but also to much more. In reality, a caregiver provides housekeeping services, grocery shopping, the organization of prescriptions, and assistance with finances and monthly expenses in addition to help with medical needs.
Living with a disability is difficult, especially when the illness, injury, or disease affects a person’s ability to work with dignity. As a caregiver, you are uniquely positioned to know the most about the situation of the person you are caring for. At times, your advice and guidance can be critical to them in getting additional help, including qualifying for governmental programs designed to ease the burden for those in need who can no longer work due to disability.
If the person you can for can no longer work or isn’t getting the assistance that they need, now may be a good time to discuss their options for how to get help.
Researching Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two similar federal programs designed to help those with disabilities who can no longer work. The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs provide assistance to people with disabilities.
These two programs are paid for by federal payroll taxes and are managed by the Social Security Administration. A person is eligible for SSDI if they have worked long enough, and recently enough, to have paid Social Security taxes on their earnings. SSI is for disabled people with limited resources and income who have not paid into Social Security taxes.
If you are researching what benefits are available for the disabled person you are caring for, then you’ll need to have established a level of trust with them and an understanding of their situation in order to help them get the benefits that they deserve. Ultimately, it is their decision whether or not to seek benefits. If they choose to move forward with an application for disability benefits, it’s important to know what their next steps will be.
What to Look for When Seeking a Social Security Disability Lawyer
The process of going from a disabled former worker to a claimant seeking SSDI can be a complicated one. Claimants may be full of questions like:
- Which program is right for me to apply for?
- Do I need to see a new doctor to assist with my case?
- How long will it take to receive the benefits I’m seeking?
As a caregiver, you may be of great assistance to a claimant during the process of receiving benefits. Helping them with new appointments, meetings with Georgia disability lawyers, and organizing paperwork may all fall into your hands as you assist the person you love with the process.
So, where do you start?
First, have an understanding of the process. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), it’s important to begin with an Adult Disability Checklist. From there, the SSA recommends claimants follow these steps:
- Complete and submit their application.
- Wait for the SSA to review the application to make sure they meet some basic requirements for disability benefits.
- The SSA will then check whether the claimant worked enough years to qualify for SSDI.
- The SSA will evaluate any current work activities.
- The SSA will process the application and forward the case to the Disability Determination Services office in the claimant’s state.
- This state agency completes the disability determination decision for the SSA.
In Georgia, it’s important that you find the right representation to assist you with your claim. Although the claimant may feel confident navigating the system with your help, it’s important for you both to know that 60% of initial claims are denied. To make matters even more difficult, claims are often rejected following a reconsideration due to errors and lack of correct information when claimants are navigating the process alone.
That’s why it’s critically important that you begin your claim with the right Georgia Disability Lawyers on your team.
How to Find the Right Georgia Disability Lawyer for Your Case
Hire a local Georgia disability lawyer.
When you hire a local disability lawyer instead of a lawyer from an out-of-state or national law firm, you have a distinct advantage. First of all, a local, experienced lawyer will know the administrative law judges (ALJ) personally, and will know what each ALJ looks for in a disability case. Knowing each judge’s style, preferences, and demeanor is invaluable in presenting a client’s disability claim for benefits.
Hiring an attorney experienced with SSDI and SSI.
When choosing a disability law firm, here are a few questions to ask:
- How long has the firm handled disability claims?
- Are they focused only on Social Security disability law?
- Do case managers do the bulk of the work instead of the attorney I’m retaining?
- Am I, as the client, able to contact my attorney directly about pressing questions?
- How will my disability law firm be paid if my claim is approved?
Find a local, experienced, disability attorney with a good reputation.
A law firm with accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a good place to start. The BBB analyzes a businesses response to complaints or questions about their business practice, and will lend their good name to businesses who promptly resolve problems and are seen as trustworthy business partners for the community.
If your Supplemental Security Income claim or your Social Security Disability Insurance claim have been denied, or you’re thinking about filing and don’t know where to start, Affleck & Gordon can help. We’re Georgia Disability Lawyers who have been helping people in Georgia just like you for over 40 years. Sign up for a free case evaluation here, or call us (404) 795-7165.