Category: Info Articles
POSTED BY Tracy .
Understanding the difference between Medicare vs. Medicaid
A lot of people have a difficult time understanding the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. They are both health insurance programs run by the government. Understanding each program, as well as how the two differ, can help you find the right healthcare program for you or a loved one.
Let’s start with Medicare.
Medicare is the earned-benefit program for Americans aged 65 or older or disabled. Workers pay into Medicare throughout their working years. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is the agency in charge of both Medicare and Medicaid, but you sign up for Medicare A (Hospital) and Medicare B (Medical) through Social Security.
You can apply for Medicare online from the convenience of your home on the Social Security Administration (SSA) website. If you’re already receiving Social Security retirement benefits when you reach age 65 or are in the 25th month of receiving disability checks, you will be enrolled automatically.
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D (Prescription Drug) plans are available for purchase in the insurance marketplace. Social Security administers a program called Extra Help to assist people with low income and low resources pay for premiums, co-pays and coinsurance costs for Part D plans. If you think you may qualify, visit Extra Help. Each year, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services publishes Medicare and You, available online at their website. This publication is a user’s manual for Medicare.
Each state runs its own Medicaid program under guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medicaid offers care for the most vulnerable among us. While it does not require paying taxes while working, it does have guidelines about how much income and resources you can have to qualify. Medicaid provides coverage for older people, people with disabilities, and some families with children. Each state has its own eligibility rules and decides which services to cover. The names of the Medicaid program may vary from state to state. To learn more about each state’s Medicaid program, click here.
Sadly, disability denials are common. Statistically, initial claims have a denial rate of approximately 67%. Reconsiderations (the first step of appeals in most states) are denied at an even higher rate (up to 87%). A denial means that you’ll need to file an appeal and hope Social Security changes its mind.
At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we know what to expect and can help you present your very best case. So, whether you have read this article and think you may qualify for Social Security disability or have been denied coverage, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Consultations are always free. For more information, visit jandils.com or call us at 877.526.3457. You can also fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly.
POSTED BY devind .
Despite COVID-19’s best efforts to cancel our summer, the July 4th holiday is expected to make a bang in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
While social distancing is still just as important as ever, plans to go ahead with area celebrations are in full effect. The outdoors have proven to be a safer environment than indoors, but guidelines should still be followed.
Of course, masks and distancing from large crowds are still two key components to ensure our safety from the virus. And if you’re showing any signs of illness, STAY HOME!
So what’s going on in the MOV, and where can you catch some fireworks?
Well earlier this month, the American Legion Post 15 announced the cancellation of their annual carnival during the 4th of July celebrations in Parkersburg, West Virginia. However, the city of Parkersburg still plans to hold the fireworks display on July 4th from Fort Boreman Park.
While things might be different this year, the new location will allow those in Parkersburg and across the river in Belpre, Ohio to practice social distancing while providing a spectacular view from the hilltop of Fort Boreman.
Roughly 40 mins down Interstate 77, “America’s Largest Small Town Independence Day Celebration,” plans to push forward with some changes in place to reflect social distancing guidelines. With the carnival nixed, the celebration will be shortened to two days, starting on Friday, July 3rd.
Parades, drive-in concerts and fireworks are still on the agenda. Sidewalks will be marked to reflect social distancing during the parade. The concert stage will be located on the West Side Plaza on Academy Drive. Spectators will be able to enjoy the concert from the safety of their own vehicles, “drive-in” style.
We hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend celebrating our nation’s independence.
Be cautious. Stay safe. And have fun!
For more details on Independence Day celebrations in the MOV and where to find them, click here.
Happy 4th, everyone!!!
POSTED BY Tracy .
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
No one-size-fits-all answer exists. Every state has time limits, called statutes of limitations, and the time within which you must file a lawsuit varies according to the type of claim, even within the state. For example, in West Virginia, you have two years to act on a case involving injury and/or property damage.
For example, rules in one state might allow a plaintiff with a personal injury claim (such as a broken leg) one year from the date of injury to file suit, and a plaintiff with a breach of contract claim (such as failure to make good on a promissory note) four years from the date of breach to sue. In another state, plaintiffs could have two years for personal injury cases, and five years for breach of contract claims. In West Virginia, you have two years to act on a case involving injury and/or property damage.
Consider consulting a lawyer if you might have a claim or someone might have a claim against you; the rules can be complex.
How Does the Statute of Limitations Work?
All states have passed statutes of limitations, which set strict deadlines for the filing of different kinds of lawsuits in the state’s civil court system. Most states have a statute of limitations that specifically applies to personal injury cases (or to lawsuits alleging negligence). Whatever statute of limitations applies to your potential case, if the deadline has passed and you try to file a lawsuit anyway, your case will almost certainly be dismissed. There are exceptions that could effectively extend the filing deadline, but they’re fairly rare.
In a personal injury case, the statute of limitations usually begins running on the day you were injured. For example, in a car accident case, it’s the date on which the crash occurred.
Coronavirus and Your Case
The COVID-19 outbreak is having a severe impact on the operations of civil courts across the country, forcing courts to prioritize criminal matters over less urgent civil cases. Some courts are tolling – stopping temporarily – civil statute of limitations periods during the coronavirus pandemic to help reduce case backlog.
Personal Injury cases have always been complex, but now more than every you may need legal advice. Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, is here for you. Learn more about us at jandils.com or call us at 877.526.3457. You can also fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly.
POSTED BY devind .
To mask, or not to mask.
It’s been roughly 6 months since the Coronavirus started making headlines in the US, and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. Many of us downplayed it at first. Then it got serious. People scrambled to find N-95 masks to protect themselves from the virus.
Then we were told to stop buying masks – only first responders and healthcare workers needed that protection, and supplies were running thin.
Now the message has changed. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend everyone should at the very least, wear a cloth mask while in public places.
Simply put, the use of a mask is just one of the steps in a series of small adjustments we can make to protect ourselves – along with following proper social distancing guidelines. According to WHO, masks help reduce the spread of infection when both healthy AND infected persons wear them simultaneously.
However, the use of a mask alone is not enough to prevent the spread. Continuing to follow proper hand hygiene, social distancing and other infection prevention is critical in preventing the spread of the virus.
Equally as important, is knowing exactly when and how to wear each type of mask.
How to Safely Wear a Cloth Mask.
How to Wear a Medical Mask.
Medical Masks Vs. Fabric Masks – Who wears what and when?
For a deeper dive into the proper use of masks, check out WHO’s advice on wearing masks.
POSTED BY Tracy .
How to Answer Questions at a Social Security Disability Hearing.
How should you answer the Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ’s) questions at a disability hearing, and how many questions can you expect to be asked? Sometimes the judge will not ask the disability claimant any questions; at other times the ALJ will ask several questions. But since most hearings will normally be concluded under an hour (some hearings can actually be as short as 15 minutes), you can count on not having to answer questions for an extended time period.
The prospect of answering an ALJ’s questions at a disability hearing can be daunting, no matter how well prepared you are. However, there are some important guidelines you should follow that will make the process go more smoothly and increase the chance of a successful claim.
Answer the Question.
Believe it or not, one of the most common mistakes a disability claimant can make during a hearing is failing to answer the question asked by the ALJ. To avoid this, pay attention to what the ALJ has specifically asked you, and try to answer only that question in a sentence or two. It may be helpful to take notes on a piece of paper or, if you didn’t understand or hear the question, ask the ALJ to restate or explain the question for you.
Don’t Ramble or Go Off Subject.
For most claimants, the hearing process is a nerve-racking experience. If, like many of us, you are prone to ramble on when under pressure, it’s important that you be especially prepared to provide succinct answers to the ALJ’s questions. When a claimant answers questions with long-winded explanations that stray from the ALJ’s question, the ALJ may stop listening and miss important statements you make, or he or she may become irritated and interrupt you.
It may be helpful to practice answering questions with your attorney or a friend. If you find yourself digressing from the topic of the question, stop, take a deep breath and refocus your answer. If you have an attorney, he or she should either practice the questions with you or provide you with a copy of the questions you are likely to face well before the hearing date, giving you plenty of time to familiarize yourself.
Be Specific About Your Symptoms and Limitations.
Specific answers give an ALJ a clear picture of your impairment. For example, if you suffer from back problems and the ALJ asks you to describe the pain, use descriptive words like “burning,” “tingling,” “aching,” “shooting” or “dull.” Also clearly describe the location of any pain. This will help paint a picture in the ALJ’s mind about your disability and how it affects you. It will also help the ALJ know if your symptoms are consistent with the recognized symptoms of your medical condition, which can help your credibility.
You must also be specific when describing your limitations. For example, if the ALJ asks you how long you can sit, don’t say “for just a little while”; state “30 minutes,” or “one hour,” or however long it is you can sit without pain. If the ALJ asks whether you can drive and you are in fact able to drive short distances (for example, to your doctor’s office), a good answer would be “I can drive to my doctor’s office, which is about three miles away.”
Be Ready to Explain Gaps in Your Medical History.
Sometimes, a disability claimant will have periods of time during which he or she received little or no medical treatment. An ALJ will question a claimant about these gaps in care. Be prepared to give an honest answer as to why you didn’t seek treatment. If you were without insurance, state this. If your symptoms briefly improved during that time, it is better to state and explain this than to give an untruthful answer, as once you lose credibility with the judge, you risk losing your disability claim.
Be Prepared to Explain “Bad” Facts.
Medical records sometimes contain “bad” facts. “Bad” facts can hurt your case if they are not handled properly. For example, one common problem with people who suffer from chronic pain is overreliance on pain medication. In these cases, medical records may state that the claimant suffers from narcotic dependency or is suspected of abusing pain medication. Here, the worst thing a claimant can do is to deny the problem or try to blame the medical provider. The best answer is the truthful one – for example, that there was a problem with pain medication, and you are receiving (or plan to get) treatment for the dependency, or that you switched or reduced medications to minimize the possibility of addiction.
Paint a Picture of Your Daily Living.
ALJs often ask disability claimants how their lives have changed since the onset of your impairment. A detailed and descriptive answer to this question can be quite helpful in winning your claim, especially if the ALJ is on the fence about how to decide your case. For example, if you used to go to church every weekend, garden, walk the dog or play cards with friends, and you can no longer enjoy these activities, tell this to the ALJ. You should also describe how your disability has affected activities like reading books or newspapers or watching television. Chronic pain frequently interferes with concentration to the extent that people are no longer able to do even sedentary activities. This is important information for an ALJ to know as it gives insight into how you would probably function in a work setting.
Whether you need help in your day-to-day life is also important information for the ALJ. If you require assistance from a family member or friend with grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, bill paying or any other activity of daily living, describe the assistance you receive, how often you receive help, and why you need the assistance. For example, if your disability has affected your memory, focus or concentration, you may need help handling your finances. This information would be vital to the ALJ because it would indicate that you would have extreme difficulty performing many types of jobs.
It can also be helpful to ask a family member who assists you to be a witness at your hearing or write a letter on your behalf. Ask your attorney.
Don’t Be Embarrassed.
Regardless of your impairment, the ALJ and the vocational expert will discuss information that is highly personal at a disability hearing. Frequently, disability claimants feel understandably embarrassed by symptoms of their disease, tests, procedures, or by treatments they have undergone. Embarrassment is especially common with people who suffer from mental illness or who have impairments that can stem from lifestyle choices, such as HIV or certain types of hepatitis.
However, it is important to remember that ALJs hear hundreds of testimonies a year from disability claimants with every imaginable disability, and that the ALJ’s only role is to decide whether you meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) definition of disability. Try to set aside any embarrassment so that you can provide the ALJ with accurate answers so that he or she can determine your claim fairly.
Be Honest and Don’t Exaggerate.
The most important way to answer an ALJ’s question is with honesty. Some claimants feel that if they make their symptoms sound worse than they really are, they will have a better chance at winning their claim. However, exaggerating your disability usually has the opposite impact. Remember that ALJs hear hundreds of cases a year. They are well trained in recognizing when a claimant is magnifying the truth. If the ALJ believes you are exaggerating your symptoms, you will lose credibility with the ALJ, and if an ALJ doesn’t believe you, you will likely lose your claim for disability benefits.
For example, if the ALJ asks you to rate your pain on a scale of one to ten on an average day, it would be unwise to answer that your daily pain is at a ten. Daily pain that’s a five, six, or seven is more believable. However, if there are times when your pain escalates, you should state this (you can say there are times it goes up to a nine or ten) but provide an explanation as to what worsens your symptoms (for example, sitting too long, walking upstairs, cleaning or grocery shopping). Also, when describing your symptoms or pain, avoid phrases like “all the time,” “always,” “every day,” or “constantly” unless they are absolutely accurate.
If you have multiple impairments, be particularly careful about accuracy in your descriptions of your symptoms. If you allege that all of your impairments are extremely severe and you exaggerate pain for one impairment, the judge may note that you have a tendency to exaggerate pain, and this can undermine the validity of other, truly severe impairments whose diagnoses rely wholly or partly on self-reported pain.
Representation at Your Hearing
Having an experienced disability lawyer can help you answer the questions in a way that will help support your disability claim rather than possibly undermine it. A disability advocate can provide you with pre-hearing preparation, which will help you avoid answering the judge’s questions in a way that may hurt your case and can allay any fears you may have. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, a disability representative can answer many of the judge’s questions that arise at a disability hearing.
At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we are experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate. For more information about our award-winning firm, visit jandils.com or call us at 877.526.3457. You can also fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly.
POSTED BY Tracy .
The “Other” Side Effects of the Coronavirus.
After months of staying at home and social distancing, most of us are longing for the day we can safely work and play together. As a nation, we are struggling with health vs. economics. But if there is one silver lining in all of this, it has been seeing so many people selflessly “loving thy neighbors.” From our frontline workers, and grocery clerks to those stepping up to buy food and necessities for our most vulnerable.
However, there are and always will be bad players – opportunists. Beyond wearing masks and washing hands, be aware of the following:
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the United States, phone scammers have seized the opportunity to prey on consumers.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received reports of scam text-message campaigns and robocalls offering free home testing kits, promoting bogus cures, selling healthcare, and preying on virus-related fears.
All of us need to remain vigilant. The following tips could help protect you from coronavirus scams:
- Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
- Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
- Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
- Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding. Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
- Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren’t hacked.
- Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating.
We want to be clear that Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, is by no means forecasting and/or fearmongering. However, based on the historical experience of other epidemics, there may be reason to be wary of profiteering by pharmaceutical companies if and when a vaccine emerges. We are all anxious for a breakthrough, but it must be available to everyone and it must be safe.
The impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented. The economic fallout continues, and, in many instances, employers simply have no choice but to conduct mass layoffs due to the lack of business/revenue. While difficult for most, these employers have legitimate reasons for doing so.
Sadly, there will always be a small subset of employers that will take advantage of the situation – those that don’t necessarily need to conduct layoffs. However, they will still lay off protected class employees (over 40). In this scenario, there is no legitimate business need driving the termination but an opportunity to let go of older employees who often have higher salaries. Or the employer is concerned that older employees may trigger additional costs in terms of insurance or paid time off because of their susceptibility to COVID-19.
The question is, how do courts make this call? The answer to this question centers on how an employee can prove that the employer’s reasons were just a mask for illegal behavior.
This is a difficult time for employees and companies around the country. Most of them will do everything they can to work together and pull through this as best as possible. If, however, you are an older employee and find yourself laid off as part of a targeted reduction in force, then you may want to consult with an experienced employment lawyer.
At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we do not practice employment law, however we are advocates of peoples’ rights. Please take care of yourself. If you need us, we continue to be working. There is a lot of focus on the pandemic, but our clients need their benefits perhaps now more than ever. Areas of practice include Personal Injury, Social Security benefits and Veterans disability. To learn more about our firm, visit jandils.com or call us at 877.526.3457.
POSTED BY devind .
School is out… for… the summer!
Although, it feels like schools let out months ago after being forced to move online due to the pandemic.
2020 has brought everlasting change for many of us, and our 2020 May Golden Apple Award winner has found something positive through the struggles.
Chad Rinard, the Principal at Marietta High School has been in education for twenty years, and says this year’s virtual graduation was one of the most rewarding moments of his career.
“For the first time in my high school administrative experience, it was neat to see graduation with a personal connection with the families. We saw hugs and salutes, because this is the first time that we had family members hand the diploma to the graduates.” – Chad
Chad is known by his colleagues to be tough, but empathetic with an open door policy that has been helpful throughout COVID-19.
Rinard will officially be presented with his Jan Dils Golden Apple Award and a gift from Baker & Baker Jewelers in the coming weeks.
If you have a teacher who you would like to nominate, visit the Jan Dils Golden Apple section of WTAP.com to submit your nomination.
POSTED BY Tracy .
Social Security disability hearings can be stressful. You have waited so long for a judge to hear your case, and now you don’t know whether you will win or lose your claim for benefits.
The hearing itself is used to identify how disabling your condition is and help to establish if your condition is too disabling to work.
Although most Social Security hearings are similar, there can be slight variations depending on the judge’s preference. The first thing to know is that your disability hearing will be nothing like the trials you might have seen on TV. Disability hearings are held in small conference rooms, and most Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) don’t wear judge’s robes. Social Security hearings aren’t open to the public, so if you bring along a friend or family member, they’ll have to remain in the waiting room. Those present at the hearing will include you, your legal representative (if you have one), the ALJ, a hearing assistant (who will record or type a record of the proceedings), and possibly one or two expert witnesses hired by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The Judge Will Question the Claimant.
After identifying each person in the room, the judge will read a basic statement of facts regarding your Social Security disability application. Most judges will then directly question the claimant.
These questions generally revolve around your medical condition(s) and treatment, your past employment and, most importantly, the limitations that your disability imposes. Keep in mind that your hearing isn’t “you vs. them” – the judge isn’t trying to prove that you’re not disabled. He or she is simply trying to get all of the necessary facts to make a decision on whether or not you’re entitled to disability benefits. It’s important that you answer the judge’s questions honestly – don’t exaggerate, but don’t leave anything out either. Try to provide specific examples of how your disability impacts your ability to do everyday activities.
The Judge Will Let Your Attorney Speak on Your Behalf.
Following your testimony, the judge will usually give your representative a chance to speak on your behalf or ask you any additional questions. If your disability attorney has planned to ask you questions, you will know this in advance. If there are expert witnesses present, the judge will then ask them for their opinions.
Medical experts (usually doctors) will testify regarding your disabling conditions, and vocational experts (often job placement professionals) will provide input as to your ability to sustain employment.
At the end of the hearing, the judge may ask you a few more questions, and will then ask you if you would like to say anything else.
How Long After the Disability Hearing Should I Receive a Decision?
Once your disability hearing has been conducted, your claim will remain at your local Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) until the ALJ has made a decision. You will generally receive a written decision within 4 –12 weeks.
Why Hire a Social Security Attorney?
One advantage of hiring a qualified Social Security disability attorney is to prepare you as to what you can expect at your Social Security hearing. The hearing process is generally straightforward, but it can be intimidating. Being able to anticipate what will happen and what kinds of questions you might be asked at your disability hearing can be reassuring and increase your chances of winning.
At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we have helped countless clients navigate the complex SSA system. Our attorneys are experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate. By contacting us, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. There is no fee unless you win. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 877.526.3457. Or if you’d prefer, please fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly.
POSTED BY Tracy .
How Might Coronavirus Affect Your Personal Injury Case?
In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has taken many of the things that seemed to loom largest in our lives and pushed them far into the background. In ordinary times, a personal injury case can feel like the center of your world, with much of your attention focused on getting a fair settlement or otherwise making sure your case reaches a favorable conclusion. Under the extraordinary circumstances that the coronavirus has ushered in, you might not think about your injury claim until you have to. But when the time comes, here are some things to keep in mind.
You Could Feel Increased Pressure to Settle.
With so many people facing so much financial uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic and necessary containment efforts, if your personal injury case hasn’t settled yet, you might be tempted to jump at the defendant’s (or the insurance company’s) most recent settlement offer in the hope of obtaining a quick and crucial cash infusion.
But if you can afford to wait, and perhaps find alternate sources of income, it could pay off in the long run.
Pressure to settle might not necessarily be internal. While you could be fortunate enough to find your financial situation largely unchanged amidst the coronavirus pandemic, in these uncertain times the at-fault party’s insurance company could be even more motivated than usual to minimize their financial commitment to paying out claims. So, you might find the insurer hounding you to settle while not necessarily putting a fair dollar value on your injury claim.
The Defendant’s Financial Picture May Suddenly Be Bleak.
For example, let’s say you’ve brought a slip and fall lawsuit against your local gym. You’ve agreed to terms on a settlement agreement, but you’ve yet to receive a settlement check. Or assume that same lawsuit went to trial, you received a judgment in your favor, but you haven’t been able to collect because the defendant is appealing the verdict. In the meantime, in the wake of the coronavirus, the gym has closed and its owners eventually decide to file for bankruptcy. Now you’ve likely become just one in a potentially long line of creditors, and whether or not you actually receive your settlement check or court judgment – or some portion of what you’re owed – is very much an open question.
Your Noncritical Healthcare May Have to Wait.
While the coronavirus outbreak has hit certain parts of the country harder than others, hospitals and other healthcare facilities across the U.S. are preparing to treat potentially unprecedented numbers of patients. That means your local medical center may prioritize coronavirus-related care and delay the provision of noncritical care.
Maybe you’ve got a follow-up appointment scheduled with your primary care provider to see if your car accident injuries are fully healed, or you’ve been receiving physical therapy twice a week. These and many other routine kinds of medical services might not be available these days.
All of this means that if you’re still receiving necessary medical care for injuries caused by the accident that led to your personal injury case, but you’re unable to get that care, you’re probably not going to reach what’s known as “maximum medical improvement” (MMI). Until you’re at MMI, the complete picture of your losses isn’t clear, and neither is the fair value of your injury case. That’s one more reason why, if you can afford to put off settling your injury claim, it’s probably in your best interest to wait.
It’s Anything but Business as Usual in the Court System.
Nationwide, many businesses have reduced hours, limited interaction with customers, or closed their doors completely in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The civil court systems in every state are taking similar steps, and any given courthouse’s status can change quickly.
It’s true that most personal injury cases settle, but if you’ve filed a personal injury lawsuit in court, chances are you’ve got at least one upcoming hearing or conference on the court calendar (whether it’s a status conference, mandatory settlement conference, summary judgment hearing, or some other procedural step on the road to a civil trial). Be prepared for significant delays in the court-based timeline of your personal injury case.
And even if the court is ready to move forward with an important procedural step in your personal injury lawsuit, you might not be. No matter how tangentially your circumstances seem to relate to the coronavirus, if there’s ever been a time for our civil courts to demonstrate leniency and compassion, it’s now.
If you have question, don’t hesitate to contact Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, about asking the court for a continuance, or about any other coronavirus-related concerns you have. Visit jandils.com or call us at 877.526.3457. You can also fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly.
POSTED BY Tracy .
It used to be that to file for disability – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – the claimant needed to call the Social Security Administration (SSA), request an application, and then wait to be interviewed.
Today, there are more convenient options:
- Complete your application online.
- Call the SSA’s toll-free telephone number 800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call at TTY 800-325-0778.
- Call or visit your local Social Security office. Note that If you want to apply in person, call and make an appointment before you visit your local office – especially with the COVID-19 crisis.
If you wish to help another person apply for disability benefits, we recommend you read Helping Someone Apply Online.
What Information Will Be Needed?
- Your Social Security number.
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of doctors, caseworkers, hospitals and clinics that have treated you, and the dates of your visits.
- Names and dosages of all the medications you are currently taking.
- Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworkers that you already have in your possession.
- Your work history information for the past 15 years, including locations, job titles, dates of employment, hours worked per week/month, and rate of pay.
- If you were self-employed, a copy of your federal tax return.
If you apply online, it may also be a good idea to call your Social Security office simply to confirm that your electronic application was actually received. Not everything that is transmitted online actually arrives at its proper destination.
Be Prepared to Appeal
Completing the necessary steps to file for disability is only the beginning. Getting an initial answer on a Social Security or SSI disability claim can easily take a number of months. And at the end of that time, most claimants will find that their case for benefits has been denied. Nationwide, seven out of 10 disability cases are turned down at the initial application stage. What this means for most disability claimants is that they will need to file one or more appeals for SSI or SSDI. The majority of claims will need to be heard by an Administrative Law Judge, which can take, on average, 1-2 years after you initially file your application.
We’re Here to Help
At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we have helped countless clients navigate the complex SSA system. Having an attorney is your best chance to receive the benefits you need and deserve. For an overview of “How Long Will the Social Security Process Take,” you might find this video helpful.
Our attorneys are experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate. But don’t just take our word for it. Take a moment to read our reviews. Also, your first consultation is always free. Contact us at 877.526.3457 or jandils.com. Or if you’d prefer to contact us online, please fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly.