The 4 Levels of the Social Security Disability Appeal Process

If you’ve had your claim for Social Security disability benefits denied, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean there’s no chance of you receiving the benefits you deserve. However, you will have to appeal your case, which is why many work with a lawyer for Social Security disability appeals like the team from Second Chance Lawyer.

There are several steps to the appeal process that need to be followed precisely in order for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to consider your appeal. That’s why we’ve compiled them here for you, so there are no surprises once you begin filing your appeal.

 

  1. Filing a Request for Reconsideration

 After being denied Social Security benefits, you’ll first need to file your request for reconsideration. This is the step that starts the appeals process. In the simplest of terms, you’ll be asking the SSA to review your initial denial or the termination of your benefits and reconsider your eligibility.

This step is a complete reconsideration of the initial claim you filed and is overseen by the SSA’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) office. However, it’s performed by an SSA examiner and medical consultant who weren’t part of your initial claims process. DDS usually grants about 10-15% of all reconsideration claims, so getting your benefits could be as simple as filing your request for reconsideration and nothing more.

When your disability claim is denied, you’ll receive a notice that includes all the information you’ll need to file a request for reconsideration, in addition to important information about your medical condition. You’ll need to file your request for reconsideration with your local SSA office or by filing online at www.ssa.gov . After doing so, if your claim is denied again, you’ll receive a notice nearly identical to the first denial notice you received.

 

  1. Appealing Your Case & Having an Administrative Law Judge Hearing

 After being denied disability benefits twice, you can appeal your claim and request a hearing before an administrative law judge to determine the legitimacy of your denial. However, it’s important that you do so within 60 days of receiving your denial. Administrative Law Judges work for the SSA’s Office of Hearings Operations and they’re responsible for either overturning or upholding the initial decision made by the SSA about your disability claim. They’re also responsible for terminating disability benefits in some cases. Nearly 50% of claimants who reach this stage are often granted disability benefits, so there is a better chance that at this stage you’ll be granted the benefits you deserve.

 

  1. Appealing Your Administrative Law Judge’s Decision

 If your disability claim is denied by an administrative law judge, you’ll then need to take your case to the appeals council and request that they review your case. The SSA Appeals Council has the sole discretion of dismissing your request, denying it, or granting it as they see fit unless:

  • The Appeals Council finds that your case was denied without the support of substantial evidence.
  • There has been a procedural issue that occurred during the processing of your case (i.e. – you weren’t notified that you needed to be present for your hearing).
  • The Appeals Council finds that there’s been an abuse of discretion regarding your hearing, such as not being able to cross-examine a witness or your hearing being cut short by an administrative law judge.

When reviewing your case, the Appeals Council is almost always looking for an issue involving the administrative law judge that was present at your hearing. The chances of you being granted disability benefits at this stage are quite slim. However, the Appeals Council may request that the administrative law judge that heard your case take another look at it.

This is the last step in the appeals process before taking your case before the federal government.

 

  1. Review by a Federal Court

 If you’ve exhausted all of the steps above and still believe you qualify for disability benefits, you’ll need to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court. At this stage, it’s important to have an experienced Social Security disability appeal lawyer to help you navigate the process. Suing the SSA for disability benefits can be a very time-consuming and, in some cases, expensive process, so it’s important to discuss your case with your lawyer to ensure you have the best chance possible of winning your case and having your claim approved.

 

Contact us for a lawyer for your Social Security disability appeal today!

 If you believe you’ve been wrongly denied Social Security disability benefits, contact Merryl Jones at Second Chance Lawyer online today or call (254) 776-9217 (Waco) or (254) 493-0345 (Temple) to begin the appeals process.

We can also help you file your disability claim and answer any questions you have, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Reporting Income Changes to Social Security: How it Affects Your Disability Benefits

For those currently receiving Social Security Disability Benefits and Supplemental Security Income, reporting changes in your income or living situation to the Social Security Administration (SSA) is essential for a number of reasons.

As one of the leading SSI disability lawyers in Waco and Temple, TX, Merryl Jones and the team from Second Chance Lawyer have helped many retain their disability benefits even if their income and living situations have changed. Here’s how!

 

What Type of Income Needs to Be Reported?

 There are several different types of income that need to be reported to the SSA regardless of whether your circumstances have changed or not, including:

  • Earned Income:

    This includes whatever you’re paid by an employer, as well as any royalties and freelance income, and patents from copyrights.

  • Unearned Income:

    Unearned income consists of unemployment benefits, dividends, cash gifts, pensions, and Social Security retirement benefits.

  • Deemed Income:

    This type of income includes any income that has been earned by a spouse, sponsor, or parent(s).

  • In-Kind Income:

    In-kind income is a form of income that is delivered not in cash, but in another form, such as a free place to stay or free meals, etc.

 

What if I’m Working While Receiving Benefits?

 It’s important to note that under any circumstance, someone receiving Social Security Disability benefits is unable to work a full-time job. If you start working part-time while on disability insurance, however, you’re required to report this income to the SSA as soon as possible.

You’ll also need to report:

  • Vacation Pay
  • Sick Pay
  • Disability Payments Received through State Programs
  • Workers Compensation Benefits
  • Pensions from civil service, foreign government jobs, state, and local pension systems

 

Your Benefit Payments May Be Reduced Depending on the Income You Earn

 It’s essential to keep in mind that anyone making more than $1,310 per month may have their disability benefits revoked. The Social Security Administration may determine, due to the amount of money you’re making, that you may not be disabled.

Other Important Things You’ll Need to Report to the SSA

 In addition to your income, there are also other major life changes you’ll need to report to the SSA, should they happen, that may affect your benefits. These include:

  • If You Get Married or Divorced:

    This is most important if you receive Social Security Disability benefits based on your spouse’s income. If there’s a change in your marital status, or your spouse has become deceased, you’ll need to notify them of any change in this status.

  • Changes in Living Arrangements:

    Changes in your living arrangements, such as the number of people you live with, are also important to convey to the SSA.

 

Are There Penalties for Not Reporting Changes?

 There are penalties you can incur from not reporting the changes mentioned above. To avoid overpayment of penalties and benefits, you need to report any changes no later than 10 days after the month the change has occurred. If for some reason you do receive an overpayment of benefits, you’ll need to pay this money back to the SSA.

Additionally, if you have incurred an overpayment penalty, the entirety of your Social Security Benefits may be withheld until all of the overpayment fees have been paid back. This period will occur 30 days after you’ve been notified that you’ve received an overpayment.

You may also be penalized for failure to report any of the changes mentioned above. This could result in a reduction of your monthly payments until the issue is addressed. You can lose up to two years of benefits and face charges for fraud in more serious cases.

 

For an experienced disability lawyer, contact us today!

 Merryl Jones from Second Chance Lawyer has helped many receive the disability benefits they deserve and appeal claims for disability denials. If you believe there’s been a change in your status, working with a disability lawyer can help ensure you have all of your bases covered and avoid any costly fees.

For more information, please contact Second Chance Lawyer online today or call (254) 776-3611 (Waco) or (254) 493-0345 (Temple).

If You’ve Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits, Here are Your Options

Being denied Social Security Disability benefits can certainly be disappointing, but it doesn’t mean it is a final decision. You may become upset or disheartened and let this temporary setback in the process stop you from trying further to obtain benefits. However, do not be discouraged. the team of Social Security Disability lawyers from Second Chance Lawyer want you to know that there are options available for you.

We have collected the three most common ways to move forward after you’ve been denied Social Security Disability benefits. So read on!

Your 3 Options After Being Denied Social Security Disability

It’s important to note that being denied benefits doesn’t necessarily mean it was your fault, or that you can’t appeal and obtain them in the future. To make sure that there is nothing overlooked with your appeal and the process is streamlined, you should consider working with a local Social Security Disability lawyer that knows the system well. Your options moving forward are:

• Appeal your denial
• Reapply for Social Security Disability benefits
• Do nothing

Reapplying or Preserving Your Rights to Social Security Disability Benefits

Whether you choose to appeal your denial or do nothing and let it stand, it is important to note that you won’t be forced to seek disability income benefits prior to any determination. However, to preserve your right to receive Social Security Disability benefits, you’ll need to file an appeal.

Preserving your legal right to disability benefits before the denial is an extremely important process for two reasons. If you don’t appeal your denial, you could miss years of retroactive payments. Additionally, you could also lose time that would have counted toward obtaining your Medicare benefits.

How Does the Social Security Disability Appeals Process Work?

After being formally denied benefits, you have a 60-day window to file your appeal for Social Security Disability benefits. The process entails having another medical examiner that works for the Social Security Administration review your appeal and reconsider your application. During this time, if there is any additional paperwork to support your claim, it should be filed as well. If you’ve undergone additional treatment since your denial of disability benefits, you will want to supply contact information for the medical clinics you received treatment from. The Social Security Administration can also solicit documents on your behalf to update your case file.

What Are the Chances of Your Denial Being Approved?

Although every case is different, you have a much better chance of your denial being approved if you’ve undergone additional medical treatment or your medical history has changed during the period of your denial and when you file for reconsideration.

Do I Need a Social Security Disability Lawyer to File for An Appeal?

Working with a Social Security Disability lawyer will ensure that you have all of the proper paperwork and no stone is left unturned. If denied a second time, the next step in the appeals process will be to have a hearing before an administrative law judge. Local disability lawyers will have a working knowledge of how the process works as well as connections with the judges and personnel at your local Social Security Administration office and hearing office.

How Long Does it Take to Obtain a Hearing?

As we mentioned above, every case is different. The amount of time it takes to obtain a hearing in front of an administrative law judge may vary. Due to backlogs caused by the pandemic and many in-person hearings being postponed, it could take anywhere from 12-14 months or more. Working with a Social Security Disability lawyer may be a good way to expedite this process.

How Does the Telephone Hearing Process Work?

If you’ve been scheduled for a hearing over the phone for your appeal, the hearing assistant will call you, your attorney, the judge and, in some cases a vocational expert for a conference call on the day of your hearing. It is important to note that you can request a face-to-face or video hearing in place of a hearing over the phone, but this may take longer.

What Are the PROs & CONs of an In-Person Hearing?

There are some advantages to having an in-person hearing, especially for those with a visible physical disability. You can demonstrate to the judge in person the extent of your disability, which is much more convincing than explaining it over the phone. Additionally, things like gait abnormalities, body tremors, and dramatic weight gain or loss are also best demonstrated in person.

The biggest downside to not accepting a hearing over the phone is the time it may take to get an in-person hearing. However, these matters are best discussed with a reliable Social Security Disability attorney.

Contact us today for more information about hiring a Social Security Disability lawyer!

If you want to learn more about working with a Social Security Disability lawyer, the team from Second Chance Lawyer would love to tell you more about the process. Social Security attorney Merryl Jones has been helped thousands of Texans obtain the benefits they truly deserve. In fact, more than 98% of all those she has worked with have either obtained or are waiting to be approved for their Social Security Disability benefits.

Get the benefits you’re entitled to by contacting us online today or calling (254) 776-3611 (Waco) or (254) 493-0345 (Temple).

What Medical Conditions Qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance?

Struggling with a disability can be hard enough without wondering whether your primary needs will be covered by Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or not. Second Chance Lawyer Merryl Jones is here to help. We help our clients understand the medical conditions that meet the requirements for SSDI, and working with a Social Security disability lawyer can help you get the benefits you deserve.

 

What Conditions Have SSDI Impairment Listings?

 Recently, the medical requirements for receiving SSDI have been updated. The Social Security Administration’s impairment listings is where you’ll find whether or not your condition potentially qualifies you for benefits. These impairments include:

  • Kidney Disease & Genitourinary Problems
  • Cancer
  • Blood Disorders (such as hemolytic or sickle cell anemia or bone marrow failure)
  • Mental Disorders (such as depression, anxiety, autism, or intellectual disorder)
  • Immune System Disorders (such as HIV/AIDS, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Various Syndromes (such as Sjogren’s Syndrome and Marfan Syndrome)
  • Skin Disorders (such as dermatitis and soft tissue injuries like burns)
  • Digestive Tract Problems (such as liver disease and inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Musculoskeletal Problems (such as back and joint injuries)
  • Cardiovascular Conditions (such as heart failure or coronary artery disease)
  • Sense & Speech Issues (such as vision and hearing loss)
  • Respiratory Illnesses (such as COPD, cystic fibrosis, or asthma)
  • Neurological Disorders (such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, or epilepsy)

 

How Do I Get My Disability for Listed Medical Conditions?

 One of the first things you’ll need to do to obtain SSDI is to prove you have one of the above disabilities by getting a licensed doctor to diagnose your condition. Although you won’t receive automatic SSDI approval, it’s the first step. The only conditions that receive automatic approval are if you need an organ transplant, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), start dialysis treatment or if you’ve been diagnosed with particularly serious cancer, such as anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid gland, esophageal cancer, mucosal melanoma, and small-cell carcinoma.

Does Your Medical Condition Need to Match a Listing Exactly?

 If you’re applying for SSDI, you might be wondering if your condition needs to exactly match the listings mentioned by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the answer is no. To obtain SSDI, the SSA will take a look at all of the aspects of your case to inform their decision as to whether you qualify for benefits or not. They may consider your condition medically equivalent to one of the other conditions listed.

Additionally, even if you don’t meet the specific requirements of SSDI benefits, you may still be eligible to receive them if it’s determined that your condition is drastic enough to affect your work and daily activities. This is often referred to as vocationally qualifying for disability benefits, meaning your impairment affects your ability to do your job.

 

What Medical Evidence Do I Need to Qualify for SSDI?

 There is a range of medical evidence you’ll need to present in your application or at your hearing to help you qualify for SSDI benefits. As we’ve already mentioned, the first step is being diagnosed by a physician. But you’ll also need:

  • Blood test results
  • Mental health records if alleging mental impairment
  • Reports you’re being treated for your ailment
  • Imaging results (such as x-rays, CT scans, etc.)
  • Notes from examinations by your physician about your disability

Those who’ve been seeing a physician on a regular basis should speak with their doctor and tell them that they’re planning on filing for SSDI.  Documenting the specific limitations of the illness and ensuring that all these limitations are noted in medical records will help build the case. If your physician agrees that your limitations prevent you from working, then it’s a good sign you may be eligible for benefits.

If you haven’t been seeing a doctor on a regular basis, doing so will certainly help improve your chances of receiving benefits. This is because you’ll need to have as much medical evidence as possible to demonstrate the extent of your illness.  So, see a doctor regularly and begin collecting that documentation to prepare for filing for SSDI.

 

How Do I Apply for SSDI Benefits?

 There are several ways you can apply for SSDI benefits, the first being filing online on the SSA’s website. You can also set up a telephone appointment at your local SSA office to discuss your options, or visit them in-person without an appointment, although this may not be an option these days due to COVID-19 concerns.

 

Things to Consider Before Applying

 If you plan on applying for SSDI, there are some important things to consider that will help you prepare and also improve your chances. It’s important to have the names and contact information of all of the doctors and physicians you’ve been to since your impairments became severe.  It’s also good to have the contact information from the places where you’ve worked over the last 15 years. These things, along with the required medical information, will ensure that you’re properly prepared for the filing process.

Since applying for SSDI benefits can be quite complicated, many choose to work with an SSDI lawyer. Working with an experienced lawyer can help ensure your application isn’t denied due to a lack of information. Additionally, many SSDI lawyers will have a working knowledge of the process and good relationships with local officials. They’ll understand what officials want to see on an application or at a hearing, and this can greatly improve your chances.

 

Let us be your Social Security Disability lawyer!

 If you’re in need of an SSDI lawyer in Waco or Temple, TX, Merryl Jones – Second Chance Lawyer can help you navigate the application process, as well as work with you on any appeals or denials.

To learn more about applying for SSDI, contact us online today or call 1 (800) 749-3612.

How Can a Social Security Attorney Speed Up My Disability Case?

When it comes to applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) there are a lot of factors to consider, which is why many choose to hire a Social Security attorney. If you are concerned about getting a decision on your case as quickly as possible, there are several ways the team from Second Chance Lawyer can help.

Here are some of the ways we can move your case more quickly through the system!

Expediting the Hearing Based on Dire Need

One way a Social Security attorney can help you receive the SSDI benefits you deserve is by requesting your hearing be expedited because of dire need. This includes situations where a claimant is in danger of losing their access to much-needed medical care/assistance or if they’re in danger of losing their residence. Based on such needs, a lawyer can file a request to an administrative law judge or hearing office director to have your case expedited.

Requesting an On-the-Record Review

Another way a Social Security attorney can help move the SSDI process along is by requesting an on-the-record review of your case. Doing so can eliminate the need for a formal hearing. However, this is often only successful if the medical evidence supporting your SSDI case is extremely strong.

Congressional Inquiry

 In special situations, a Social Security lawyer may help you request a congressional inquiry into your case. This is when they contact the office of your congressional representative and request a formal inquiry. If your case is being held up or it is taking an unprecedented amount of time for you to receive a formal hearing, this may be a viable option. In some cases, SSDI claims can sit in the system for up to two years before a hearing is scheduled. Reaching out to have a congressional inquiry performed might be helpful in such cases. If accepted, your congress person will contact the SSA for a status update on your behalf.

Let us be your Social Security attorney

Are you having trouble applying for SSDI benefits? Has your claim been denied? Second Chance Lawyer can help. Contact us online today or call (254) 776-3611 (Waco) or (254) 493-0345 (Temple).

What Are the Work Credit Requirements for Receiving SSDI Benefits?

At Second Chance Lawyer, as SSDI attorneys, Merryl Jones is often asked what the different work credit requirements are for receiving SSDI benefits. To receive your SSDI benefits, there are some minimal requirements you’ll need to meet, so we’ve collected them here for your benefit. These are guidelines for reference, and it is important to note that there are exceptions to every rule and the requirements can change from year to year.

If you’re thinking of filing for SSDI benefits, here are the current work credit requirements you need to have in order for your application to be approved.

Work Credit Requirements Vary By Age

 You might not be aware, but the work credit requirements necessary to receive SSDI benefits vary by age. For younger people who want to apply for SSDI benefits, the work credit requirements from the Social Security Administration (SSA) can be fairly stringent. However, the SSA offsets this by reducing the recent work requirements for younger claimants over the required period of time. For example, for those who are only 50 and are disabled, they only need 28 work credits. At least 20 of these credits need to have been earned over the past decade prior to their disability.

Default Work Credit Requirements

Although the work credit requirements necessary to receive SSDI benefits do vary by age, there are also default requirements. Firstly, the claimant needs to fall into the SSA’s category of being disabled; they’ll also need to have earned enough work credits in order to apply. These credits come from working and paying Social Security taxes. The default amount of work credits required to receive SSDI insurance are at least 40, with a minimum of 20 being earned in the last 10 years.

In 2021, for every $1,470 in annual earnings, you’ll receive one work credit, and a claimant can only earn up to four credits per year. These work credits will only affect your eligibility to receive SSDI benefits, not the amount of the benefits you’ll receive.

 

Contact an SSDI attorney today!

Applying for and receiving the SSDI benefits you deserve can be a complicated process. It’s always best to work with an experienced SSDI attorney, like the team from Second Chance Lawyer. To learn more about applying for SSDI benefits, contact us online today or call (254) 776-3611 (Waco) or (254) 493-0345 (Temple).

How Long Does it Take To Get SSI or SSDI if You Have A Lawyer?

When it comes to obtaining Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) there are a variety of different reasons to retain an attorney, especially if your claim has been denied once before or you’re appealing a claim. However, when working with an SSI lawyer, it’s important to understand that although it can be very beneficial, it won’t necessarily speed up the process of obtaining a hearing or having your claim resolved.

As one of the leading SSI and SSDI law firms in Texas, the team from Second Chancer Lawyer reviews some of the benefits of working with a lawyer for your disability claims.  What can you expect and how long will it take for your disability appeal to be approved?

How Do SSI Lawyers Help?

 Working with a lawyer might not necessarily make the approval or claims process go quicker, but attorneys can help ensure you don’t make mistakes during the process that will result in delays. Delays are most often caused by procedural mistakes when it comes to filing or obtaining the necessary paperwork for your claim.

If your claim is granted, working with a lawyer can actually help you obtain your benefits more quickly. Although not always the case, an experienced SSI lawyer will often have a good working relationship with both the Social Security Administration (SSA) in addition to the administrative law judges and staff at your local SSA office.

An experienced SSI lawyer will have a clear understanding of the necessities to help win your benefits as soon as possible.  They have knowledge of writing briefs, and local attorneys understand how particular judges like to see each brief presented. They will also ensure the documentation needed to prove your case, such as medical evidence and paperwork proving your financial state, are ready for at the time of your hearing.

How Long Will it Take To Receive My Benefits?

 There are many different factors that could affect the length of time it takes for your claim to be approved or to receive your benefits.  The number of people currently applying for benefits, the time it takes to compile your supporting documentation, whether there is a need to appeal your case, as well as the current economic factors affecting the SSA can all impact the speed of resolving your case.

How Long Does it Take to File for My Benefits?

 Filing for your SSI or SSDI benefits can take anywhere from a month to years, depending on your location and how complicated your case is. When initially applying, it is not uncommon that it takes at least six months to receive a decision. For those whose claims are denied it is important to request reconsideration through appeal.  This process often takes anywhere from two to six months. Those denied a second time have the right to appeal and request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.  Depending on where you’re located, receiving a hearing date could take anywhere from several months to a year.

What Should I Do If My Claim Has Been Denied?

 If your SSI or SSDI claim has been denied, hiring an attorney to work with you during the appeals process is always recommended. This is because navigating the legal system can be particularly complicated.  Obtaining and filing the proper paperwork is essential for your case. When working with an SSI lawyer, they should work on a contingency basis. This means that there are no fees or costs that you would have to pay upfront.

If you don’t win your claim while working with a lawyer, you won’t need to pay a fee. If your claim is granted, SSI lawyers will often get a fee that amounts to approximately 25% of your retroactive benefits.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Decision After My Hearing?

 After you have your SSI or SSDI hearing in front of a judge, it can still take a few months to receive a written decision. The decision will come in the mail from the judge and is often anywhere from 10-15 pages.  It will explain the outcome of your case, and outline why it was judged favorably or not.

How Much Does SSDI Pay?

 For those wondering how much they’ll be granted should their claim be approved, the amount will be a calculation of the size of your past monthly paychecks.  It is based on the amount of money you made while working, as well as the amount you paid into Social Security during that time. This means that every situation is different.

In 2021 the average monthly benefit recipients received was around $1,277 per month, with a maximum of $2,861 monthly. Supplemental security income, another kind of benefit recipients may receive, was approximately $794 for individuals and $1,191 for couples in 2021.

Will My SSI or SSDI Cover All My Health Costs?

 If you qualify for SSI benefits, you will automatically receive Medicaid benefits.  If you qualify for SSDI benefits, you will be eligible for Medicare.  Those who are receiving SSDI benefits become eligible for Medicare on the 30th month after the official date their disability benefits began. Since you’ll be credited for the time you spent waiting for your benefits to be approved the waiting period usually winds up being much shorter.

Let us be your SSI lawyer in Texas!

 For those who want to apply for SSI or SSDI benefits, Merryl Jones and the team from Second Chance Lawyer can help. For more information, contact us online today or call (254) 776-3611 (Waco) or (254) 493-0345 (Temple).

Can I Receive SSD & Unemployment Benefits at The Same Time?

Can I Receive Social Security Disability & Unemployment Benefits at The Same Time? A Disability Lawyer Answers

Since 1998, Merryl Jones – the Second Chance Lawyer – has been dedicated to helping Texans receive the Social Security Disability benefits they deserve. With a 98% success rate, Merryl Jones is the disability lawyer who knows how to help you receive your disability benefits and move forward with your life!

One question we often get is “Can I receive Social Security Disability and unemployment at the same time?” This is actually a somewhat complicated question, and you might be surprised to learn that the answer is ‘Maybe!’ While it seems like the two forms of benefits would be mutually exclusive, there are occasional situations where the two can be received at the same time.

This is a complicated matter, and if it concerns you, the best thing to do is to contact a Texas disability lawyer for a consultation. However, let’s dig into the question and provide an overview of the situation.

When Could Someone Possibly Receive Disability and Unemployment at The Same Time?

For someone to receive disability, they are claiming that they are unable to do any of their past jobs. However, to receive unemployment, a person must affirm that they are able to be employed. Logically, these two claims would cancel each other out – but not necessarily.

So, let’s dig a little deeper…

There are two basic qualifications to receive unemployment benefits. One is that you lost your job through no fault of your own. There are many situations where this can be true while also leading to you being disabled.   Second, you must still be able to claim that you are “ready, willing, and able” to find new work.

On the other hand, the key element of Social Security Disability claims is that you are unable to work. However, there’s a catch here. In some cases, when applying for Social Security Disability, you must only affirm that you are unable to perform any past work that you have done in the last 15 years. So, for example, a construction worker who has become unable to do manual labor could still honestly apply for his unemployment benefits affirming that he is able and willing to work at a sit-down job, while still potentially qualifying as “disabled.”

Again, these are merely hypothetical scenarios. Every person’s situation is different, and only a trained Texas disability lawyer can fully advise you on your situation.

Another potential wrinkle is that the number of hours you can work or the amount of money you can potentially make could also influence the decision. Someone who is only capable of working a few hours a week or makes far below a living wage could potentially still qualify as being both “disabled” and “unemployed.”

Finally, age is another factor. For people over 50, demonstrating disability becomes much easier, as there are numerous reasons an older person could become unable to work full-time in their preferred job. It becomes easier for a disability lawyer to explain why someone over 50 could be both disabled and unemployed at once.

However, none of these outcomes are guaranteed. These sorts of cases are handled purely on a case-by-case basis. The better your disability lawyer means  the better your chances will be!

Can You Receive Disability and Unemployment Consecutively?

Another potential scenario is you might be able to claim both disability and unemployment benefits back-to-back, one after the other rather than receiving both at once. This is actually more common, and easier for a disability lawyer to argue in court.

For example, there are two types of disability benefits: closed period of disability and an open ended period of disability.  A closed period of disability covers situations where an accident or injury leaves you unable to work for 12 months or longer, but the injury will eventually heal, and you’ll be able to resume normal work once that happens. In such a case, a person could potentially get a closed period of disability benefits, then switch over to unemployment after they’ve healed up and begun searching for a new job.

Less commonly, a person might be receiving unemployment and then become disabled. Whether or not the disability is related to the loss of their previous job, in this case, they would possibly be able to collect unemployment, then disability benefits.

A good Texas disability lawyer will know how to make the most of your opportunities!

In Summary: Receiving Both Disability and Unemployment at Once Is Rare, But Possible

At the office of Merryl Jones, we want to give you every possible opportunity to receive the benefits you deserve.  If that includes both disability and unemployment, we will help you look into the matter. Don’t assume that you cannot qualify without first seeking legal advice. You might be surprised!

If you’ve recently been injured and have lost your job, or are in danger of doing so, contact Merryl Jones, The Second Chance Lawyer, for help!

Are You Able to Work While Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits?

These days, every little bit of financial assistance helps, especially as you get on in years. Having the right benefits will ensure you can meet both your daily obligations as well as plan for a comfortable retirement. However, navigating the gray areas of Social Security disability benefits and insurance can often be a little overwhelming, so the team from Second Chance Lawyer is here to help.

As a Waco Social Security disability lawyer, Merryl Jones from Second Chance Lawyer has helped many people get the benefits they deserve. If you are still working, this does not necessarily mean you can’t also be receiving benefits; it all depends on your case.

Here are some insights into how it works.

Working & Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits

Every applicant for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is assessed on a case-by-case basis.  This is true for those who are unable to work, as well as those who are still working and also want to receive benefits. Often, you won’t be able to receive your same salary while receiving SSDI but you may be able to receive some income. Generally speaking, if you qualify for disability, it won’t be possible for you to perform work you normally would if you weren’t suffering from a disability.  This means the income you receive from employment will be less than what you’d normally get if you had no disability. If you are unable to perform work at the substantial gainful activity level, then you could qualify for benefits and still receive some income.

The Social Security Administration currently defines substantial gainful activity (SGA) for the year 2021as having the ability to perform duties and make more than $1,310 per month (or if you’re blind, $2,190 per month). These amounts vary from year to year based on national average wage index.  However, the Social Security Administration encourages recipients to return to their daily working routine if possible.  Therefore, there are some exceptions to the SGA rule. One such exception applies to SSDI recipients’ ability to use a trial work period.  It’s possible during this time to make more than the SGA amount without sacrificing your SSDI benefits.

How Does the Trial Work Period Work?

The trial work period for SSDI recipients lasts nine months and gives employees receiving benefits a chance to test out their abilities.  Thus, they can return to work while receiving pay from their employer in addition to their regular disability benefits. Any SSDI recipient with a monthly income of more than $940 is considered by the Social Security Administration to be undergoing a trial work month. Additionally, for those who are self-employed, any month where you work more than 80 hours falls into this trial-work category.

What Happens Next After Completing the Trial Work Period?

It’s important to note that the nine months that make up your trial work period don’t need to be consecutive. Once the nine months are finished, should you decide to return to work, you’ll usually be able to receive SSDI benefits any time your earnings fall below that SGA average. However, this only lasts for three years. This three-year period is referred to as the extended period of eligibility. Your SSDI benefits should only stop after your trial work period if your income is considered substantial by the Social Security Administration.

However, you may still have the option to have your benefits reinstated.  For five years after the trial period, you should not be required to file a new application if you need to stop working again and go back on disability. Additionally, if you are working and there are added expenses due to your disability that any other person wouldn’t have, these could also be calculated into the benefits you receive each month.

Can I Work & Also Receive Supplemental Security Income?

Those working who also want to receive their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will need to make certain that their earnings don’t exceed the Social Security Administration’s income limit for benefits. It’s important to note that if you’re working while also receiving SSI benefits, the average amount of your benefits will be reduced according to the wages you’re earning.

Are There Any Reporting Requirements Necessary?

If you’re working and receiving either SSDI or SSI benefits, you’ll need to report to the Social Security Administration on a regular basis to let them know your status. In addition to reporting your wages each month, you’ll also be required to report things like:

  • Any changes to duties, work hours, or pay scale
  • The start and stop date for any job
  • Whether you incur any work-related expenses due to your disability

There are a number of different ways you can report such information, either by phone or mail or by checking in with your local Social Security Administration office. For those reporting information by phone, it needs to be done no later than the sixth of the subsequent month; by mail or in-person, the tenth.

Let us be your Social Security disability lawyer

Merryl Jones who is the Second Chance Lawyer has helped thousands of deserving Central Texans win the benefits they deserve and has obtained benefits for 98% of her clients. She’s also received numerous awards, including being named a Martindale-Hubbell Top Rated Lawyer for Ethical Standards & Legal Ability and receiving the Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award for Excellence in Quality of Service. She also has been admitted to practice law in front of the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Merryl Jones and her team at Second Chance Lawyer specializes in SSDI and SSI benefits at every level. We can help you apply for benefits, as well as determine whether or not you qualify for disability. Additionally, for those who have been denied benefits for one reason or another and want to appeal their disability claim, we can help make the process painless.

To learn more about our services and how we can help you receive the benefits you deserve each month, contact us online today or call 1 (800) 749-3612.

When Should I Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer?

Before running out to hire a social security disability lawyer, there are a few things to consider. However, cost should be the least of your concern.  When it comes to costs, there are a lot of misconceptions; but most fees are set by the Social Security Administration. In fact, social security disability lawyers, Merryl Jones from Second Chance Lawyer included, receive payment only if your case is won. There are no fees required upfront.

But Why Should I Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer?

There a number of reasons why one might consider hiring a social security disability lawyer. The first being that if you plan on filing for disability, then you generally have a greater chance of your case being approved when working with an experienced lawyer. This is because the right disability lawyer will have years of expertise and understand what needs to be done from day one of the application process all the way to your final hearing.

At the hearings claimants will be required to arrive with specific paperwork to be ready which might include everything from a note from your doctor to other medical evidence supporting your disability. A reliable disability attorney will know you personally along with all of the details of your case.  They can help ensure all of the paperwork and evidence you will need to present a strong case is in order, and they will help you collect it.

The benefits of hiring a disability lawyer don’t stop there. If your case should be denied for one reason or another, and most initial claims are denied, then you will want a disability attorney to file an appeal for your disability claim. They will be able to argue on your behalf and help the court determine whether the Social Security Administration wrongly denied your right to the benefits you deserve.

Should I Call for a Disability Lawyer?

Usually, the sooner you can start collecting evidence and preparing for hearings, then the better. So, it is recommended you contact an experienced social security disability lawyer as soon as you decide to file for disability. That way you can take the time to prepare the strongest possible case, backed by all of the necessary documents and evidence collected by you and your lawyer.

Let us be your Social Security disability lawyer!

For more about filing for social security disability, contact Merryl Jones and her team at Second Chance Lawyer today online, or call 1 (800) 749-3612.

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