What You Should Know About Social Security Disability Benefits?
What Is Social Security Disability Insurance?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides benefits to those who can no longer work due to a disability. It is in place to help those who can’t work to replace some of their lost income. All workers in the United States who pay Social Security taxes while they are working are eligible for benefits.
How Is Disability Defined?
To receive disability benefits, a person must meet the definition of disability under the Social Security Act, which says a person is disabled if he/she:
- Can’t work due to a severe medical condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or result in death;
- Has a medical condition that prevents them from doing work that they did in the past; and
- Has a medical condition that prevents them from adjusting to other work.
Am I Able to Own a Home and Other Assets if I Have SSDI?
Individuals who apply for SSDI are able to do so because they have worked and paid into the system before their disability occurred. Therefore, there are no asset limits. They can own a home or buy a home while receiving SSDI benefits if they choose. In fact, an individual may qualify for a mortgage in Lake Oswego, OR based upon the amount they receive through their Social Security Disability Benefits.
Likewise, an individual may buy a car or own other assets while receiving SSDI. It also doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank. You can have $100 or $10,000 in your bank account; you’ll still receive the SSDI benefits that you are entitled to.
It gets a bit trickier if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in addition to SSDI benefits. SSI is a federal income paid for by general taxes, not social security tax. If receiving SSI, you can’t have over $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 if you’re married).
If you are unclear on any of the rules surrounding what your asset limits, if any, might be then contact an SSDI attorney in Lake Oswego, OR.
How Much Money Can I Expect To Receive In SSDI Benefits?
The amount you receive each month will be based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. The amount you receive has nothing to do with the severity of your disability or the value of your assets.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a complex formula in order to calculate benefits for each person. The maximum benefit in 2020 was just over $3,000 per month, but most people receive anywhere from $800 to $1,800 per month. However, if you are receiving disability payments from other sources, your payment may be reduced.
It’s best to consult with a disability attorney if you think that you are not getting all of the benefits that you may be entitled to.
What Is The Disability Process In Oregon?
Applications for SSDI in Lake Oswego, OR and the entire state of Oregon start at the SSA like the rest of the country. However, once the SSA determines that an Oregonian meets the basic eligibility criteria to receive SSDI, the agency sends the claimant’s file to Oregon’s Disability Determination Services (DDS). Oregon’s DDS approves 40% of the applications for disability that it reviews.
While that approval rate is slightly better than the approval rate of the country as a whole, it still means that you have a higher chance of having your SSDI application rejected than approved.
Why Hire An SSDI Attorney In Lake Oswego, OR?
If you are a resident of Oregon, it’s in your best interest to hire a disability lawyer to assist you with your SSDI claim. The most important reason to hire an attorney to help with your disability case is that your chances of being approved for benefits are significantly increased.
Will you be approved for benefits if you apply on your own? Of course, it’s possible. However, statistics show that, everything else being equal, your SSDI application is more likely to get approved if you’re represented by a disability lawyer.
Why is that? From the initial application to the hearing, and beyond, disability attorneys understand how to best present your case for benefits. For example your lawyer can offer advice on:
- The alleged onset date of disability.
- How to present facts that will be most persuasive.
- How your condition meets one of the listed impairments that Social Security considers to be a disability.
Beyond that, if your initial application is rejected, your SSDI attorney will spring into action and immediately request an appeal. You only have 60 days to file the appropriate paperwork for an appeal and the SSA is not very forgiving if you miss a deadline.
Your disability lawyer will collect relevant medical evidence, obtain opinions from your doctors, draft a detailed brief to the court, and prepare you to answer questions at the hearing in a clear and calm manner. Your disability lawyer will also elicit testimony from you at the hearing and may cross-examine the vocational or medical experts to help demonstrate that you’re unable to work.
Should your case go to the next stage of appeal, your lawyer can craft sophisticated legal arguments to show that Social Security wrongly denied your case.
Your lawyer will not stop fighting for your rights until you get the benefits you deserve.
I’ve Already Submitted MY SSDI Application. Is It Too Late To Hire A Disability Lawyer?
No matter where you are in the process, it’s never too late to seek the services of a disability lawyer in Lake Oswego, OR to help with your claim.
Certainly, the sooner you contact an attorney, the better it is. But if you’ve already submitted an application and have been denied, an attorney can help you with the appeals process. If you were denied at your first appeal, then you can contact an attorney to help you with the second appeal. There’s no such thing as “too late” when it comes to making sure you get the benefits you deserve, even if you have a hearing scheduled already.
How Is An SSDI Attorney Paid?
When you hire a disability lawyer, you won’t have to pay anything upfront. In fact, the SSA has set up regulations on how a disability lawyer is paid. Basically, if you are not awarded disability benefits, then your lawyer will not get paid.
If you are awarded benefits, then the SSA has laws on how much the lawyer can charge. For example, your lawyer can charge up to 25% of the back pay you received, not to exceed $6,000. So, if you are awarded $20,000 in back pay, then your attorney would receive 25% of that amount, or $5,000. However, if you were to receive $40,000 in back pay, then your lawyer would get $6,000.
Many people choose to hire an attorney before they start their disability application.
When you have a lawyer working with you from early on, you may be able to garner an approval earlier and get awarded the benefits that you need. Complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page to have your claim reviewed by an attorney or advocate that takes cases in your area!