Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal government income supplement program for those who don’t have enough taxes paid in to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) financial requirements.
It’s funded by general tax dollars, not Social Security taxes, but it’s managed through the SSA. For people who are over 65, blind or disabled, and have little to no income, SSI provides cash to meet basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. These benefits can dramatically improve your quality of life and are a benefit you deserve. Don’t accept a denial of benefits--ask for help.
There are several steps to take when seeking SSI. It’s important that you know your rights as you navigate the process. When you are first determining whether you are eligible for SSI, it can feel like an overwhelming process. However, you don’t have to do it alone. We are here to help you learn each step of the process so that you receive the benefits you deserve.
There is no failure in realizing that you may need help in this process. But when is the right time to seek the help of an SSI lawyer? At any step in the process, an SSI lawyer can help.
For your benefit, the sooner you contact an SSI lawyer, the better.
When You Begin
At the first realization that it may be time to file for SSI benefits, seek a case evaluation. It’s free. By seeking a free case evaluation, an attorney can determine how to best present your case to avoid a denial. Don’t allow the fear of the cost to stop you from seeking an SSI lawyer. They only collect their fee if you win your case and receive your past-due benefits, or backpay.
In the Middle of the Process
If you’ve already applied for SSI benefits and want to make your case as strong as possible, contact an SSI lawyer. Don’t get mired in the middle of the process. You can accidentally miss important deadlines and steps. An SSI lawyer can make sure you stay on the right track by making sure important information isn’t left out of your file.
After You’ve Been Denied
If your SSI claim has already been denied, it’s still not too late to contact an SSI lawyer. The SSA denies people who deserve disability benefits all the time. Contact us immediately, and we can step in to help. Keep in mind that 64% of all initial SSI claims are, in fact, denied. With the right legal representation, we can help you not only understand the steps to claiming SSI, but to help you receive the benefits even after an initial denial.
What do I do if my claim has been denied?
- Request an appeal within the 60-day limit. If you have time remaining, seek legal representation to complete the appeal on your behalf.
- If you haven’t already sought legal representation, do so now.
- Find out why you were denied and learn what a denial means and learn what you can do to improve your odds of winning your appeal.
It’s important for you to know that an SSI lawyer only collects a fee if they win your case. There is no upfront cost to you to seek legal representation, and if your claim is eventually denied, you won’t owe your SSI lawyer any fees. If you win your case, an SSI lawyer will be paid directly from the Social Security Administration from your past-due benefits, known as backpay. That fee will typically be 25% of your backpay but not to exceed $6,000, whichever is less.
Benefits of a Free Case Evaluation:
- You get the information you need to proceed.
- The fee is the same whether you contact an attorney one week or one year before a SS hearing. In fact, many attorneys will not want to accept a case extremely late in the process. The earlier you contact an attorney, the more they can help guide your case.
- There is only a fee if you win your case.
Once you’ve made the decision to seek representation, be prepared to discuss your case in detail. Here are some Dos and Don’ts so that you can efficiently meet with your SSI lawyer and process your claim as quickly and simply as is possible.
Dos of Seeking an SSI Lawyer:
- Do reach out to an attorney sooner rather than later.
- Do prepare all your documents and medical records.
- Do communicate all details of your case with your attorney, even if you think they’re not important.
- Do create a summary of your case and the details of your denial so that you can clearly explain the details to your SSI lawyer.
- Do continue to focus on your health and well-being.
- Do trust that your attorney has your best interests in mind.
Don’ts of Seeking an SSI Lawyer:
- Don’t procrastinate.
- Don’t get overwhelmed--we can help.
- Don’t assume you can’t afford an attorney.
- Don’t accept the denial of your claim--the majority of claims are denied.
- Don’t assume you can do this on your own.
There's no bad time to start looking for an SSI lawyer once you determine you’re ready to file for SSI benefits. Once you know that there is no fee if your claim is denied, seeking an SSI lawyer can be much less stressful. Ask for the help you need and allow an SSI lawyer to assist your with the proper preparation for your case. If you know your rights regarding SSI and when you need to hire an attorney, you’re more likely to win your SSI case and receive the benefits you deserve.
If your Supplemental Security Income claim has been denied, or you’re thinking about filing and don’t know where to start, Affleck and Gordon can help. We’ve been helping people in Georgia just like you for over 40 years. Sign up for a free case evaluation here, or call us (404) 373-1649.