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If you're contemplating either a SSI or SSDI claim, you simply must read this


By Mike Hinshaw A recent post at Digital Journal underscores the importance of retaining a trained, experienced attorney if you're fighting for disability claims, regardless of whether it involves an SSI item or an SSDI claim:
At this moment, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is faced with the largest case backlog in history, due to the struggling economy and the corresponding rise in claims, which makes it more important than ever to handle your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim with careful attention to detail, according to Disability Group, Inc., a leading national firm of SSDI attorney representation. Because there are so many Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases that need to be reviewed by the SSA, applicants now have the opportunity to influence how quickly claims are reviewed, and increase the likelihood of claims getting approved, in two critically important steps. “So many people make the mistake of not doing two simple things,” says Patrick Ryan, Director of Operations for Disability Group, Inc. “There are two to-dos of applying for Social Security Disability Benefits, which any firm will tell any client.” The Two To-Dos of Applying for Social Security Disability
    1. Securing Medical Records
When a disability claim is first handled, either at the initial level (when there has been no decision yet) or at the reconsideration level (after a social security disability denial), it is processed by a disability examiner at Disability Determination Services. But the disability examiner at DDS is not always successful in obtaining all the necessary medical records. In fact, it is not unusual for disability examiners to make decisions on claims even if not all of the medical evidence is in the file. This will happen if a disability examiner simply has no success in getting the records from a particular doctor's office, clinic, or hospital. [copy excerpted]
    2. Respond to ALL Social Security Disability letters and notices promptly
A social security disability case can easily run into trouble if an official notice goes unanswered, especially if it requires some type of response with time constraints. In some cases, this means the difference between a denied claim and an awarded claim. In all instances, a claimant for benefits based on disability should respond promptly to notices sent by either the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) (the office of hearings and appeals), DDS (disability determination services), or the Social Security Field Office or District Office, where the claimant originally applied for benefits). Surprisingly, a very large percentage of disability claimants do not respond to notices from these offices. Failure to respond causes delays and puts your social security disability claim in jeopardy. Always respond promptly to letters and notices sent by any office connected to the Social Security Administration. “It is easy to respond quickly to notifications from the OHA and the DDS when you have representation helping you through each step of your claim,” says Patrick Ryan, Director of Operations at Disability Group, Inc.
Agreed--that sounds like very good advice. It's also good to read the whole article, if you've got time. We realize you may not have the inclination. But, if nothing else, it shows the importance of retaining a trained, experienced attorney. This stuff can be overwhelming. For a return to basics, here's a post from February:
What is the difference between Social Security disability and SSI disability?
Social Security is responsible for two major programs that provide benefits based on disability:  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is based on prior work under Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  Under SSI, payments are made on the basis of financial need. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons.  To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, the worker must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work to be "insured" for Social Security purposes.  Disability benefits are payable to blind or disabled workers, widow(er)s, or adults disabled since childhood, who are otherwise eligible.  The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program financed through general revenues.  SSI disability benefits are payable to adults or children who are disabled or blind, have limited income and resources, meet the living arrangement requirements, and are otherwise eligible.  The monthly payment varies up to the maximum federal benefit rate, which may be supplemented by the State or decreased by countable income and resources.  See Understanding Supplemental Security Income for an explanation of SSI benefit payment rates.
God bless--we understand that anybody reading this information may be in serious trouble. All we're doing is trying to help.