Essential Answers About Disability Benefits

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are very confusing areas of law. When you are trying to get the benefits you need for an injury or illness, not having the answers you need may be keeping you from securing the benefits you deserve.

I am attorney Angela Davis-Morris, and I have made a career helping the people of Mississippi secure the disability benefits they need. At my office, Davis-Morris Law Firm, I answer many important questions surrounding these benefits. Throughout the years of providing this crucial information, I have compiled a list of questions about these benefits for which everyone should have answers.

Am I eligible for disability benefits?

Not every injury, illness or medical condition qualifies for these benefits. In order to qualify for these benefits, your impairment must have lasted at the disabling level and keep you from working for at least 12 months, be expected to last 12 months or be expected to end in death.

How long do I have to wait to apply for benefits?

The sooner you apply for disability benefits, the better. Securing these benefits is not a simple task and can take more than a year before you finally gain the benefits you deserve. In fact, if you wait to apply, you may actually lose benefits over time.

How long does the Social Security process take?

While we always aim for our clients to be approved at the application level, the entire process of applying for Social Security benefits can potentially take several years. This is why it is so important to appeal a decision in a timely manner, rather than start an entirely new application. Starting a new application begins the entire process over again.

How can I strengthen my application?

The more information and medical proof you can provide with your initial application, the more likely the SSA will approve it. Be sure to include ample proof of your medical condition and its effect on your ability to function on a daily basis, your treatments, and the effect of your treatments/care.

What can I do to better my chances of getting approved?

We encourage our clients to keep us updated with their medical treatment, so that if the Disability Determination Services reaches out for updates, we are able to provide the most up-to-date information quickly and efficiently.

We also encourage our clients to make sure that they are speaking with their medical providers. What you tell your doctors is what they are going to document in your record. If you tell your providers ‘everything is the same’ or ‘oh, I’m doing fine’ or ‘I just need refills”, this is the way it will read in your records. Instead, make sure that you are telling your providers what limitations you are experiencing due to your condition. This doesn’t mean to over exaggerate, just simply be open with them about your limitations, and ensure that they are documenting this information.

Do you handle all aspects of Social Security Disability?

While we represent our clients throughout their application process for benefits, there are a few areas we do not handle. This includes cessation benefits (someone is receiving benefits already and SSA is trying to stop their benefits) nor do we handle overpayments (someone has received notice that SSA paid them too much, and they are responsible for repaying this).

I have multiple conditions, but I only have one ‘disability condition’ that I am filing for.

From the first time we speak with you and gather the initial information, we repeatedly ask you about all of your diagnosis and limitations. While you may be primarily affected by one of your diagnosis, often times, it can be the combination of your conditions, that can meet the rules set forth by the Social Security Administration, that qualify you for disability. Do not discount your general provider because ‘they aren’t a specialist’, or a diagnosis because ‘it’s not disabling’. From our perspective we would rather have all of the information, and sort through what may or may not be applicable to your claim, than to be missing information that could cause your claim to be denied.

How can I pay for my lawyer?

Most people who are applying for disability benefits do not have extra income for an attorney, but thankfully, they do not need it. Social Security disability lawyers work on contingency basis and only charge a fee when you are granted the benefits they earn for you. These attorney fees are generally withheld from any back benefits you may receive and you will not pay one cent toward an attorney fee up front.

Do I need an attorney?

Having an attorney to help you with your disability claim can be a vital asset for you. I can help you present your strongest possible case in your application and appeal any rejections you may receive. If you are ready to meet with a skilled and dedicated attorney, contact my Hattiesburg office today. Call 601-602-8874 or email us to begin pursuing the benefits you need today.