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Skilled And Experienced Social Security Disability Attorneys In Ohio

Participating in the Social Security Disability process can be one of the most frustrating and time-consuming legal claims one can endure. Often the questions are many and there is little help available to those involved in the process unless you consult with an attorney who has experience with Social Security claims.

Common questions include:

  • How long does the process take?
  • If I am denied, should I appeal?
  • What is going to happen at my Social Security Hearing?
  • If I do not have enough credits for Social Security Disability, can I still qualify for SSI benefits?

The attorneys at Waite, Tomb & Eberly are here to answer these questions and help guide you through the legal process. Attorney Ben Eberly has been assisting clients with Social Security Disability claims for over 14 years. His extensive experience enables him to provide the best possible evaluation of a client’s Social Security claim, along with realistic feedback concerning the likelihood of success in obtaining benefits.

Social Security Disability Obstacles

Navigating the Social Security Disability Guidelines can be difficult. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requirements are very specific and it is often difficult to understand what information is needed to properly assess an individual’s specific disability.

Obtaining benefits can also be lengthy and frustrating. The process can include multiple denials after an application for benefits, a request for reconsideration, an administrative hearing in front of an administrative law judge and possible appeal to the Appeals Council. Many individuals spend at least a year just getting their claim to the hearing level of appeals. There is also a limited time allowed for filing an appeal after receiving a denial at any stage of the process.

If you believe you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, or if you have already applied and have been denied, contact Waite, Tomb & Eberly to discuss your options. Attorney Ben Eberly has the skills and experience to help you navigate all of the obstacles and increase your chances of being approved.

Types Of Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance and this is the traditional benefit most people think of when they consider “disability.” SSDI benefits derive from the payments you have made over the course of your working life. If you are now unable to work, you are attempting to collect benefits based on payments you have made to this insurance program.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI or Supplemental Security Income benefits are a second type of disability benefit and is not dependent on your work history. These benefits are available based solely on your disability status along with other eligibility requirements.

Social Security Questions Answered

How does Social Security define disability?

The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability. “Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if: You cannot do work that you did before, We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical conditions and your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

How long does a Social Security claim take?

It can take anywhere from a few months to years, depending on several factors. Less than 1/3 of applicants are successful at the application level when applying for Social Security Disability/SSI benefits. In Ohio, if you are in the majority, your denial must be appealed and you must request “reconsideration”. The reconsideration process is similar to the application process, and your application and supporting documentation is reviewed by another individual who will make a determination.

If your reconsideration is denied, that decision must be appealed and you must request a Hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. At the hearing, you will have an opportunity to again present your case, only this time it will be in front of a Administrative Law Judge who is not bound by any prior decision regarding your disability. After that decision is made, you again have an opportunity to appeal a negative decision. However, by the time you get your claim in front of an Administrative Law Judge you have more than likely already invested at least a year in the process.

If your claim goes beyond the ALJ Hearing, you are likely going to invest at least another year in the process. The Social Security Administration has taken notice and is actively trying to reduce the amount of time in each step of the process.

Is there a difference between Social Security Disability and SSI benefits?

Yes. Social Security disability is a program financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self employed persons benefits paid are based upon your work history and contribution. SSI is a program financed through general revenues from taxes and benefits paid are not based on your work history.

To be eligible for Social Security disability benefits you must earn sufficient “credits” based on prior taxable work you have performed. In addition, you must also meet the SSA’s definition of disability.

To be eligible for SSI benefits you must meet income and resource criteria and also be either 65 or older or disabled per SSA guidelines.

As a result, individuals with sporadic work histories due to their disability may be eligible for SSI benefits but not eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

What is the GRID and what are GRID rules?

The GRID is a set of criteria used by the SSA to account for certain circumstances to consider the nature of the impairment(s), residual functional capacity, past relevant work and age.

The SSA or an ALJ may determine you are only capable of work in a certain capacity, light duty for example. If SSA or an ALJ renders an opinion you are only capable of light duty, in our example there will be a corresponding GRID chart to consider not only your exertion level, but also your age, education and past relevant work.

These charts do not necessarily change the standard for individuals, but are Social Security’s way of accounting for other factors in making a disability determination. The idea behind the charts is that it is Social Security’s way of recognizing that an older person is less likely to be able to achieve substantial gainful activity (work) and that the less educated are also at a disadvantage. The GRID charts consider several educational levels including marginal, high school grad and education past high school. The GRID charts are complicated and several variables are considered.

Can I get Social Security Disability benefits for mental illness?

A question that is frequently asked about Social Security Disability benefits is what role if any, will mental illness play in the decision? As usual there is not one simple answer, but mental illness will be considered in all claims for Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security has published guidelines for the consideration of mental illness which includes consideration for depression, schizophrenic and psychotic disorders, anxiety related disorders, personality disorders and other mental health diagnoses. What will be important is not just the diagnosis, but also the treatment received and how your mental health condition affects your ability to work or participate in substantial gainful activity.

If you believe you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, or if you have already been denied, call Waite, Tomb & Eberly today to discuss your options.