If you believe you are entitled to benefits through Supplemental Security Income, now is the time to seek legal guidance. While this program can provide life-changing financial support, many claims are denied upon a first application. A skilled social security attorney could assist when denials happen.
Having an experienced SSI lawyer on your side could be the key difference between your claim being approved or denied. Put your trust in seasoned legal counsel to secure vital benefits for you and your family through this government program.
What is SSI?
Many people confuse Supplemental Security Income with the standard benefits that come from the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are significant differences between the two social programs, even though they both rely on the same application. Supplemental Security Income—commonly known as SSI—is a federal program that provides monthly payments to certain individuals with limited income.
SSI benefits are not available for everyone. These assistance dollars are primarily intended for those who are disabled, blind, or have reached the age of 65. However, these are not the only requirements for receiving these benefits. There are also strict means tests that must be met. Anyone with too many assets or a significant income will not qualify.
While these benefits are extremely helpful, they are not guaranteed to last forever. There are various reasons why SSI might eventually be cut off for an individual who previously benefited. Each year, the SSA will reevaluate whether a person receiving benefits through this program has excess countable income that puts them above the eligible income threshold.
Benefits could also be cut off for anyone that is no longer disabled, since these payments are not limited to those with permanent conditions. It is not uncommon for some claimants to ultimately recover to a degree where they can return to the workforce.
Can SSI Denials Be Appealed?
There is a process for appealing a denial for SSI benefits. It is important to note that the qualifications for coverage are strictly enforced, which makes it essential to seek the guidance of an SSI attorney early on in the process.
There is a limited amount of time to appeal a denial, so it is important to avoid any delays. An applicant has 60 days from receiving notice of the denial to begin the appeals process. The first step of the appellate process is known as reconsideration. During this phase, a different person at the SSA will review the file to determine if the case was wrongly decided.
Unfortunately, reconsideration often leads to the same result as the initial decision. The appellate process does not end there, however, as the next step involves a hearing before an administrative law judge. Also known as an ALJ, the administrative law judge will oversee a hearing where it is possible for a proactive lawyer to offer additional evidence in support of an SSI claim.
The final two steps in the appeals process include a hearing, first at the Appeals Council and finally in front of a federal court. The Appeals Council does not have an obligation to hear an appeal but will choose to take some cases each year. The last avenue for an appeal involves filing a federal lawsuit outside of the SSA.
Call an SSI Attorney Right Away
There is a lot on the line when it comes to SSI benefits. Most applicants have serious financial challenges, and these benefits could provide life-changing support when they need it the most.
The reality is that not every SSI claim will be granted. However, the right legal counsel could help throughout the entire process. A committed SSI lawyer could review your application to ensure all the requirements are met and necessary documentation is provided prior to an initial submission. No matter where you live in the U.S., a dedicated team of legal professionals are prepared to help with your case. Reach out today to give yourself your best chance at obtaining these crucial funds.