Charleston Social Security Disability FAQs
Navigating the world of Social Security Disability can be wrought with complex rules, difficult decisions, and unclear guidelines. Read below to have some of the most common questions about the SSA and disability process answered. Don't see your question? Give us a call at 843-723-6555 or contact us and we'd be happy to answer your questions!
How long does it take Social Security to make a decision once a claim for disability benefits is filed?
Within six months
Why do I need a lawyer to help me? Why should I hire The Law Offices of Robertson Wendt?
The Social Security Disability system is laced with pitfalls and does involve thousands of different rules, regulations, and procedures. You can be denied benefits if your doctor doesn’t know the legal definition of disability. You can also be denied benefits if Social Security doesn’t receive enough evidence on your behalf. Your case can be dismissed altogether if an appeal is handled improperly.
An experienced attorney, like Rob Wendt, who knows the Social Security system can help your doctor explain your disability to you, submit important supporting medical evidence, analyze each part of your Social Security file, prepare your testimony before a court hearing, and even cross-examine medical experts who may testify at your case hearing.
When should I contact an attorney about representation?
You should contact an attorney before you file a claim with the Social Security Administration. Rob Wendt can help you plan a strategy to win your case from the beginning. If you wait to get an attorney after your claim has been denied, you may harm your case with different damaging statements or other information. This information can be used against you on appeal.
How does Social Security decide/determine if I’m disabled?
- You must be unable to do any substantial work because of your medical, physical, or mental condition.
- Your medical condition must have lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or be expected to result in death.
If I win my case, how much money will I receive?
For Social Security Disability benefits, it all depends upon how much you have worked and earned in the past. For disabled widow’s or widower’s benefits, it depends upon how much the late husband or wife worked and earned. For disabled adult child benefits, it all depends upon how much the parent worked and earned.
For all types of SSI benefits, there is a base amount that an individual with no other income receives. Other income that an individual has reduces the amount of SSI which an individual can receive.
If I need to apply, what should I do?
First you contact Social Security. Second you will need to provide information on your medical conditions, treatment, medication, and work history. You can apply online at www.ssa.gov, call (800) 772-1213, or visit your local Social Security office in person.
If I applied but was denied, what should I do?
You should appeal. To appeal, you must make your request in writing within 60 days from the date you received a denial letter. Five days after the date on the letter begins your 60-day period.
Why do I need a lawyer/attorney to help me?
Social Security statistics show that claimants who are represented by lawyers win more often than those who are not represented. Your best chance of winning your case against the government is to be represented by a lawyer.
Rob Wendt is one of South Carolina’s only board certified Social Security Disability specialists. With over 30 years of experience, he’s helped thousands of people win disability benefits.
What is the difference between a lawyer and a non-attorney advocate?
Non-attorney disability advocates are trained in the Social Security process, but have not received a law degree. They can help you file your initial claim, but if your claim is denied (and most are) you may need sound legal counsel to proceed to the next step. If your appeal goes all the way to federal court, you will definitely need an attorney. If you have questions about your eligibility or doubts about your employer’s intentions, you should probably be working with an attorney.
Is Rob Wendt very experienced in Social Security Disability?
Yes. Rob Wendt has over 30 years of experience and he’s helped thousands of people win disability benefits. He’s also one of South Carolina’s only board certified Social Security Disability specialists.
How much does it cost to hire an attorney for my disability case?
Federal law regulates attorneys’ fees in Social Security Disability cases. So, virtually every disability lawyer works on the same fee basis. The most we will ever charge is 25% of your past due benefits plus the costs to obtain any medical records on your behalf. There is no fee if you lose.
What information will my attorney need?
When you go for your first meeting with your attorney be sure to take along any Denial Notices you have received from the Social Security Administration. If you have already applied for Reconsideration or for a Hearing, take along your copy of the Request for Reconsideration or Request for Hearing.
It would also be helpful if you took the following information:
- The names and addresses of all doctors you have seen for your problem
- The approximate dates and number of times you have seen the doctors
- The names and addresses of all hospitals you have been treated as an inpatient or outpatient and the approximate dates
- The names and addresses of your employers during the last fifteen years, dates of employment by each employer, and a brief description of your job duties
- The name of each medication you are presently taking and the dosage, along with the name of the prescribing doctor
How can I improve my chances of winning my Social Security Disability claim?
Be completely honest with Social Security in their requests for information, both financial and medical.
Go to your doctors and treatment providers for two reasons. The first reason is for your health. The second reason is because Social Security bases its decisions on the medical evidence in your file. If you are not going for treatment, Social Security can assume that your condition is not severe enough to require treatment.
Do not give up. It is very common for Social Security to deny claims; it is easy to become discouraged and believe it is useless to pursue your benefits. Your greatest chance to win your claim is at the hearing level, when a judge will personally meet with you and hear your complaints and problem.
It is also important to hire an experienced attorney to represent you who understands Social Security’s rules and requirements. It is also important to do this at the earliest stage possible in your claim for Social Security.
Where Are The Law Offices of Robertson Wendt located?
Our main office is located in North Charleston adjacent to the local Social Security hearing office. Our address is 3875 Faber Place Drive, #204, North Charleston, SC 29405.
What does it mean that Robertson Wendt is “Board Certified”?
To become board certified, an attorney must have:
- Been licensed to practice law at least five years and be a member of the bar in good standing
- Practiced a set percentage of Social Security Disability law for at least three years
- Handled a wide variety of Social Security Disability matters to demonstrate experience including appearing in at least 100 Social Security Disability hearings, filed at least 20 appeals council briefs and filed at least 10 briefs in the United States District Courts
- Attended Social Security Disability law continuing education seminars regularly
- Been evaluated by fellow lawyers and judges
- Passed a day-long written examination
Am I eligible for disability benefits from Social Security?
Sometimes disability results from a combination of health problems – physical or mental. Just because you can still do some things well doesn’t mean you’re not disabled. Depending on what your age is, work experience, and other factors, you could be entitled to disability benefits.
How long do I have to wait after becoming disabled before I can file for Social Security Disability benefits?
You can file for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. Anyone who suffers a serious illness or injury and is expected to be out of work for a year or more, should not delay in filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.
Does my age matter when trying to receive disability benefits?
Yes. The Social Security Administration looks at age as one of the factors when determining disability. The administration evaluates age as follows:
- 18-49 is a younger worker
- 50-54 is closely approaching advanced age
- 55-59 is advanced age
- 60-64 is closely approaching retirement age
The Social Security Administration's rules take into consideration that as people get older, they become less adaptable, less able to switch to different jobs to cope with health problems.
I’m interested in talking with The Law Offices of Robertson Wendt. What should I do?
Contact our office today. We’ll arrange a consultation to determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If you do, we’ll help you start the proceedings for the best chance to win.
I’m a widow (or widower), can I receive my deceased spouse’s benefits?
Yes. Presently, there are about 5 million widows and widowers receiving monthly Social Security benefits. If you are a widow or widower and your deceased spouse was on SSD, you can receive their benefits. That said, you cannot apply online for survivors benefits. However, you can get the process started by completing an Adult Disability Report before contacting the Social Security Administration. If you have questions about survivors benefits, contact us for help