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Social Security

Social Security Disability Benefits and Supplemental Security Income

There are two Federal Programs that help if you become disabled.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured,” meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits based on financial need. The social security disability lawyers at Rizzo & Diersen can help guide you through the process. Contact any of our three convenient locations.

Social Security Law and SSI Disability Law

The lawyers at Rizzo & Diersen are experienced in all facets of Social Security Law and SSI Disability Law. In representing clients for social security disability hearings, we have found that preparation between the client and the lawyer, and preparing the file for the Administrative Law Judge are keys to getting a favorable result. In addition to representing clients before the Administrative Law Judge, the attorneys at Rizzo & Diersen are available to assist clients at all stages of the disability process. At the hearing stage, it is important for both the client and the lawyer to be well prepared and to make sure that the Judge’s file is as complete, accurate and up-to-date as possible. For a confidential consultation to discuss your Social Security Disability Case, contact the SSDI Lawyers at Rizzo & Diersen.

Denial of Social Security Disability Benefits

When a person applies for Social Security Disability benefits, there is a high likelihood that they will be denied based on their first application. Once denied, the claimant has 60 days to file a notice requesting that the denial decision be reconsidered. If they are again denied at the reconsideration stage, the next step is for the claimant to request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Again, the claimant has 60 days to make such a request. These time deadlines are very important because if the claimant is eventually approved for disability benefits, he or she may be entitled to back benefits dating back to the original date of application. These back benefits are typically paid in a lump sum. If the deadlines are not met, back benefits will most likely be denied and more importantly, the claimant may have to start the application process all over again. Since it is currently taking approximately 18 months to two years to get a formal hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge, it becomes apparent that starting a case all over is no small task and can cause years of delay for people who can be extremely sick and destitute. Furthermore, the amount of back pay awarded to a claimant can be substantial if he/she is eventually approved for benefits because of the time lag between requesting and obtaining a hearing in front of the Judge. If you have been denied SSDI or SSI benefits, contact us as soon as possible.

Preparing for Your Social Security Hearing

Since the Judges are so busy, it is very helpful if a lawyer or representative provides the Judge with a letter or brief outlining the theory of the case prior to the hearing date. This letter or brief should focus on the major medical concerns and should spell out why the lawyer believes the claimant should be approved for benefits. It is also helpful for the lawyer to point out major points in the claimant’s records so that the Judge can find the most important medical information at a glance. In addition to drafting a brief for the Judge, it is essential that the claimant’s file contains all of the pertinent, up-to-date medical information. If at all possible, the most recent records should be sent to the Judge at least 1 week prior to the hearing for review. Last, but not least, claimants should be prepared to testify at their own hearing. A good lawyer will discuss testimony with their client and assist the client in presenting their case in the most favorable light to the Judge. Such preparation makes the Judge’s job easier and will hopefully lead to a favorable decision for you. Contact us to set up an appointment at any of our three convenient locations.