While Liipfert Law Group does not currently practice in Social Security Disability benefits, we do have some knowledge of this program and the way it works, which we hope you will find useful.
First, there is a reason many people choose to hire a lawyer to represent them in disability claims: Cuts to the Social Security Administration (SSA) budget have swelled Administration staffers’ caseloads, while demand for benefits by claimants has increased over time, hence, an average case might take as many as three years to get through providing a lot of opportunity for claimants to miss critical correspondence, deadlines, mandatory appointments, and filings.
Second, there are legal standards that must be met in order to qualify for disability—despite obvious evidence of disability.
Individuals can file both Title II (wage-earners benefits/Social Security Disability Insurance aka SSDI) claims and/or Title XVI (needs-based Supplemental Security Income* aka SSI) claims online via https://www.ssa.gov/, at their local SSA filed office, or work with an attorney or other disability representative. Many who start on their own seek out an attorney when their initial claim—as most are, is denied. The National Association of Social Security Claims Representatives (NOSSCR) https://nosscr.org/ offers both Social Security Basics and a Lawyer Referral service for member attorneys, as well as other invaluable information and resources. The North Carolina Bar Association also offers a lawyer referral service for its members, who may or may not also be NOSSCR members via the Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-662-7660 or 919-677-8574. Note that an initial thirty-minute consultation through the Service costs $50.
FINANCIAL PATHWAYS of the PIEDMONT
Too often, the event of disability imperils financial security during the pendency of a disability claim. Financial Pathways of the Piedmont http://financialpaths.org/ is a United Way agency that offers a variety of services that might help claimants manage their money to make it go further, prevent foreclosure, or provide Representative Payee services for disability benefits, if awarded. Representative Payees are Ordered by an Administrative Law Judge (presides over disability claimants’ hearings) in some cases, for example; where a claimant has demonstrated that he or she is incapable of managing the ordinary expenses of daily living.
*SSI applications automatically initiate a Medicaid application. SSI applicants can also request qualification for food stamps directly on the form.