Frequently Asked Questions
- How much does it cost to apply?
- How do I apply?
- When should I apply?
- Can I work and still be found disabled?
- What is the cost of hiring an attorney vs. going it alone?
- What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?
- Who can qualify for disability benefits?
- How long does it take to become approved?
- Do I need current medical evidence explaining my disability?
- What are some common medical conditions that can cause disability?
- Why is local representation the best representation?
- Can my case be appealed to federal court, if necessary?
- Will an attorney meet with me before my hearing?
- Will my first consultation be with an attorney?
- Am I guaranteed to be represented by an attorney at my hearing?
- Am I allowed to work AND receive disability benefits?
- Can substance abuse be considered a disability?
- Can I receive veteran disability benefits AND Social Security disability benefits?
- How long do disability benefits last?
- How much money will I receive for disability benefits?
- What happens if I am denied benefits?
- What are some reasons that cause individuals to be denied benefits?
How much does it cost to apply?
It costs nothing to apply. You only pay a fee if we win your case, and it is usually only 25% of past due benefits.
How do I apply?
When possible, we like to get involved in your case before you file at the Social Security office. But no matter where you are in the process, call one of our 4 convenient Oklahoma locations and get the help you need from a qualified attorney.
When should I apply?
It is best to begin the application process as soon as you become disabled.
Can I work and still be found disabled?
You can work some and still be found disabled, but any work may reduce your chances of receiving disability benefits. In most circumstances, if you are able to work, Social Security does not consider you to be disabled.
What is the cost of hiring an attorney vs. going it alone?
The perception is that good legal help is too expensive, and the average person may feel they can’t afford an attorney. The reality is, it could potentially cost much more to go through the process on your own, especially with the failure rate hovering at 70%. Even the Social Security Administration admits that your chances of winning are much higher when using an attorney. For the most part, getting an attorney involved in your case, at any level, will not cost you anything up front. The attorney collects no money unless and until the disability claim is approved. Ask yourself: How important is it for me to win my case and win it as quickly as possible?
What’s the difference between SSI and SSDI?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is strictly income based and is funded by general fund taxes. It has nothing to do with your previous work history, but is based solely on your current financial need. In order to qualify for SSI, you must have very limited income AND less than $2000 in assets ($3000 for a couple). NOTE: If someone is disabled and they’re eligible under the income requirements to receive SSI, they’re also able to receive Medicaid. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is funded through payroll taxes. SSDI depends on how much you have paid into Social Security and how recently you last worked. To be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance, you have to have paid enough into the Social Security system to be insured.
NOTE: If someone is disabled and they’re eligible to receive SSDI, they’re also able to receive Medicare.
Who can qualify for disability benefits?
Any individual who can show that he or she is disabled and can meet the other requirements can qualify for disability benefits. Certain family members can qualify. This may include survivor’s benefits, disabled widow/widowers, and dependents. Disabled children may qualify for benefits through SSI.
How long does it take to become approved?
It can take anywhere from a few months to 2 years to become approved. If you get denied at the application, reconsideration, and hearing levels, you have only 60 days to file an appeal. If your case is appealed to federal court, it could take longer than 2 years.
Do I need current medical evidence explaining my disability?
Yes. When you file, the Social Security Administration will request medical records from all the providers you have given them in your application. Doctors write things down. If you are in pain, say you are in pain. If you can’t do something, tell your doctor. It all goes into your medical records, and that’s the foundation of your case.
What are some common medical conditions that can cause disability?
This is not an all-inclusive list, but here are some common medical conditions that can cause disability: Back problems, cancer & cancer treatments, heart disease & stroke, mental health conditions, nervous system disorders, endocrine disorders, blood disorders, immune system disorders, digestive system disorders, skin conditions, and breathing disorders.
Why is local representation the best representation?
We believe it should be convenient for you to visit with your attorney. That is why we have offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Bartlesville, and Miami. Because our attorneys are local, we know our local judges. Hire someone who knows the judge assigned to your claim.
Can my case be appealed to federal court, if necessary?
Yes. We appeal cases that other attorneys may drop. This means your case stays in-house, and you will never be left to fend for yourself.
Will an attorney meet with me before my hearing?
Yes. Your attorney will always meet with you before your hearing, not a paralegal.
Will my first consultation be with an attorney?
Yes. Your first consultation will always be with an attorney, not a paralegal.
Am I guaranteed to be represented by an attorney at my hearing?
Yes, an attorney is always there to represent you during your hearing.
Am I allowed to work AND receive disability benefits?
Yes, but there are many factors involved. Seek legal help regarding any employment questions. Remember: Any work may reduce your chances of receiving and/or keeping disability benefits. In most circumstances, if you are able to work, Social Security does not consider you to be disabled.
Can substance abuse be considered a disability?
The Social Security Administration will not grant benefits solely for drug and/or alcohol addictions. However, if a medical condition develops from drug and/or alcohol use, and he or she is no longer abusing drugs and/or alcohol, a person may be awarded disability benefits.
Can I receive veteran disability benefits AND Social Security disability benefits?
Yes, it is possible to receive both veteran and Social Security disability benefits.
How long do disability benefits last?
You will receive benefits for as long as your condition continues and you are unable to work. Periodically, the Social Security Administration will review your case to make sure you are still disabled. If you are able to go back to work or your condition improves, you must notify the Social Security Administration.
How much money will I receive for disability benefits?
If you are getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the maximum payable amount will depend on your household’s monthly income each month.
What happens if I am denied benefits?
If you are denied benefits, you have the right to appeal but you must appeal within 60 days of the initial decision. Remember, the Social Security Administration denies many of its initial claims so it is in your best interest to seek legal assistance before filing for Social Security benefits.
What are some reasons that cause individuals to be denied benefits?
Roughly 70% of all SSI and SSDI claims are initially denied. The reasons vary, but some reasons individuals are denied include, but are not limited to: a) an impairment that is not expected to last at least one year, b) an impairment that is not considered severe, c) the person is able to perform his or her past work, or any type of work, d) ongoing drug and alcohol addiction, e) insufficient medical evidence, f) failing to follow medically-prescribed treatment, g) the individual makes inconsistent statements to the Social Security Administration and their own physicians, h) the person fills out the disability paperwork incorrectly, i) waiting too long to file, j) waiting too long to file an appeal, and k) self-representation.