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SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY

Social Security Disability Attorney in Grand Blanc, MI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)/
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The Andrus Law Firm PLC is a well-respected law firm based in Grand Blanc, MI, specializing in Social Security Disability benefits for those dealing with physical or mental impairments. Led by an experienced Social Security attorney, they are committed to making sure you understand all your rights and will answer all of your questions. The Andrus Law Firm PLC will stand by your side every step of the way.

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At Andrus Law Firm PLC., we prioritize our clients' well-being above anything else. We understand the importance of providing comprehensive and compassionate Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability representation. We are dedicated to fighting for our clients' rights and making sure they receive the compensation they deserve. Our free case review allows us to review the circumstances of your situation and determine whether or not we can help. If you're ready to get started, give us a call today.

 

9 Tips for Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

  • Who Qualifies for Disability?
    The Social Security Administration’s impairment listing manual (called the blue book) lists a number of impairments, both physical and mental, that will automatically qualify an individual for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), provided the individual’s condition meets the specified criteria for a listing. Below is a partial list: · Musculoskeletal problems, such as back injuries · Cardiovascular conditions, such as heart failure or coronary artery disease · Sensory and speech issues, such as vision and hearing loss · Respiratory illnesses, such as COPD or asthma · Neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy · Mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, or retardation · Immune system disorders, such as HIV/AIDS, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis · Various syndromes, such as Sjogren’s Syndrome and Marfan Syndrome · Skin disorders, such as dermatitis · Digestive tract problems, such as liver disease or IBD · Kidney disease and genitourinary problems · Cancer · Hematological disorders, such as hemolytic anemias and disorders of bone marrow failure
  • Does My Medical Condition Qualify for Disability Benefits?
    Social Security has a list of impairments that can officially qualify you for disability benefits. Any physical or mental health condition severe enough to prevent you from working can qualify for benefits. This includes all these common conditions: Autism Cancer Carpal tunnel syndrome Chronic fatigue syndrome Congestive heart failure Coronary artery disease Crohns Disease Cystic fibrosis Diabetes Headaches Hepatitis C & liver disease HIV/AIDS Interstitial cystitis Ischemic heart disease Lung impairments Lupus & fibromyalgia Mental illness Muscular dystrophy Musculoskeletal diseases Obesity Osteoarthritis Personality disorder Rheumatoid arthritis Seizures Strokes Many times people wait to apply for disability benefits, wondering if their health condition is bad enough, or whether they may ultimately return to work. But if you wait too long, you could miss out on benefits you should receive. Let me help you determine if you have a disability case or not. You can always return to work later. But it can take a long time to get your benefits approved, so the sooner you start, the better. I don’t charge any attorney fee unless you win.
  • Do I Qualify for SSDI?
    To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security. You can earn up to a maximum of four credits per year. The amount of earnings required for a credit increases each year as general wage levels rise. Family members who qualify for benefits on your work record do not need work credits. The number of work credits you need for disability benefits depends on your age when you became disabled. Generally you need 20 credits earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you became disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.
  • What are the SSDI Qualification Requirements?
    SSDI Qualification Requirements: 1. Are you working and making more than the limit? If you are making more than a certain amount each month you are not disabled. 2. Do you have medical evidence that qualifies you for a disability? Your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities (walking, sitting, concentrating) for at least one year. If your medical condition is not severe enough, you are not disabled. 3. Is your medical condition on the Social Security List of Impairments? The List of Impairments describes medical conditions that are so severe they are automatically disabling as defined by law. If your medical condition is not on the list, it is reviewed to determine if it is as severe as a condition that is on the list. Feel free to contact our office to discuss your particular case. 4. Can you do the work you did before? Your medical condition must prevent you from being able to do the work you did before. If not, you are not disabled. 5. Can you do any other type of work? Your medical condition must prevent you from doing other work so as to make a living. Your medical condition, age, education, past work experience and skills are evaluated. If you can do other work, you are not disabled. If you cannot do other work, you could file disability. As a Michigan disability attorney who has handled over a thousand Social Security disability claims in the last twelve years, Mr. Andrus has learned that his most important job is providing personal attention to each of his clients. Mr. Andrus’s experience in Social Security disability law will help you get the best results possible. He has represented claimants with a wide variety of impairments, and has a large number of satisfied Michigan Social Security disability clients. We accept Michigan Social Security claimants at all stages and help Greater Tri-Cities and Flint disability claimants who have: · Not yet applied for Social Security disability benefits · Received a denial of their initial applications · Had their Requests for Reconsideration denied · A disability hearing coming up soon · Appealed to the Appeals Council · Appealed to the U.S. District Court We understand that the Social Security disability process can be frustrating, and we work hard to insulate our clients from its challenges. We pride ourselves on delivering compassionate, knowledgeable, and effective service.
  • What I will do to help you WIN?
    When you come to the Andrus Law Firm, PLC for your first appointment, we will take plenty of time to discuss your case with you and answer all of your questions. Before you leave, we will give you written materials explaining the Social Security disability process. We will analyze what you must prove to win disability benefits. Then we will gather the evidence needed to present the strongest possible case, including the necessary medical data and opinions for your case. We will keep you informed as your case progresses. Before your Social Security disability hearing, we will get together to review our planned presentation of your case. At that meeting, we will discuss with you your testimony and the questions we plan to ask you. We also will explain in detail what you can expect at the hearing, including what questions the Social Security administrative law judge is likely to ask you, so you will feel fully prepared. We will be at your side at the hearing and through each step of this often complicated and lengthy process. Our most important job is providing personal attention to each of our clients.
  • Why Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer?
    The Disability Process is Long and Confusing. Darrin Andrus Can Help. Put An Expert On Your Side · According to the Social Security Administration, it is extremely difficult to obtain social security disability benefits without an attorney. · A social security disability lawyer can help you complete the forms the Social Security Administration sends you. · Your disability lawyer can also work with your doctors to get the reports needed to establish your entitlement to social security disability benefits and work with vocational experts to provide documentation and/or testimony regarding the feasibility of your ability to return to work. · If you need to go to a hearing in Michigan, your social security attorney will prepare you and be with you at the hearing to help you testify. · Been denied? A social security disability lawyer can help.
  • How Much Does an SSDI Lawyer Cost?
    By law, there is no fee unless you are awarded benefits. The legal fee is taken out of back payments and can be no more than 25% of your back pay, up to a maximum of $6,000 (subject to possible future changes by Congress).
  • Why Choose Darrin Andrus as Your Disability Attorney?
    · No fee unless we win your case · All appointments are FREE · $1,000,000s recovered in benefits · Social Security Disability is our focus · Over 20 years experience · Personal attention – you won’t get shuffled around a big office Bigger isn’t always better. The appeal and prestige of a regional or national firm can be enticing, but at the end of the day, your case is going to be heard in a local Michigan hearing office. Mr. Andrus represents clients every day in local Michigan hearing offices. He has the passion and experience needed to prepare and successfully present your case.
  • How do I apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?
    An application can now be completed online at www.ssa.gov. Or you can apply at any Social Security office as soon as you become disabled. You may file by phone, mail or by visiting the nearest office. Note that, while you may receive back benefits from the date you became disabled, they are limited to one year before the date you filed for benefits. I can also do your application for you for FREE at my office by appointment.
  • Who decides if I am Disabled?
    After helping you complete your application, the Social Security office will review it to see if you meet the basic requirements for disability benefits. They will look at whether you have worked long enough and recently enough, your age and, if you are applying for benefits as a family member, and your relationship to the worker. The office then will send your application to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office in your state. The DDS will decide whether you are disabled under the Social Security law. The rules for determining disability are different from the disability rules in other government and private programs.
  • WHEN A CLAIM IS APPROVED---Can I get medicare if I’m Disabled?
    Social Security will automatically enroll you in Medicare after you get disability benefits for two years. Medicare has two parts: hospital insurance and medical insurance. Hospital insurance helps you pay hospital bills and some follow-up care. The taxes you paid while you were working financed this coverage, so it’s free. The other part of Medicare, medical insurance, helps pay doctors’ bills and other services. You will pay a monthly premium for this coverage if you want it. Most people have both parts of Medicare.
  • How long will my benefits continue?
    In general, your benefits will continue as long as you are disabled. However, we will review your case periodically to see if you are still disabled. The frequency of the reviews depends on the expectation of recovery. If medical improvement is “expected,” your case normally will be reviewed within six to 18 months. If medical improvement is “possible,” your case normally will be reviewed no sooner than three years. If medical improvement is “not expected,” your case normally will be reviewed no sooner than seven years.
  • What can cause benefits to stop?
    There are two things that can cause Social Security to decide that you are no longer disabled and to stop your benefits. 1. Your benefits will stop if you work at a level considered to be “substantial.” Usually, average earnings of $800 or more a month are considered substantial. 2. Your disability benefits also will stop if it is determined that your medical condition has improved to the point that you are no longer disabled. You must promptly report any improvement in your condition, your return to work and certain other events as long as you are receiving benefits.
  • Can I refer a friend or family member to your office?
    We have a long history of referrals from past clients. This is how many of our current clients find us. We also receive referrals from long-term disability insurers, unions, medical professionals, social workers, other attorneys, disabled claimants, and family members.
  • Is a case consultation FREE?
    Free consultation Your initial consultation is FREE of any charge or obligation and can be held in our office, by telephone, or via e-mail – whichever is most convenient for you. And we can meet either at our office in Grand Blanc, Michigan, or by appointment, at the Flint Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. If you decide to retain us, you will not be charged an attorney’s fee unless you are awarded disability benefits. If you think we can we can help you with your Social Security disability claim, please complete the FREE Case Review form below or contact our office directly.
  • Who is eligible to collect Social Security benefits?
    If you have worked and paid social security taxes into the system, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits. If you have stopped working, your are typically eligible for 5 years after you’ve stopped working. Therefore, if you must apply as quickly as possible after you stop working to make sure time doesn’t run out for you to prove your disability before your insured status lapses.
  • Does My Medical Condition Qualify for Disability Benefits?
    Social Security has a list of impairments that can officially qualify you for disability benefits. Any physical or mental health condition severe enough to prevent you from working can qualify for benefits. This includes all these common conditions: Autism Cancer Carpal tunnel syndrome Chronic fatigue syndrome Congestive heart failure Coronary artery disease Crohns Disease Cystic fibrosis Diabetes Headaches Hepatitis C & liver disease HIV/AIDS Interstitial cystitis Ischemic heart disease Lung impairments Lupus & fibromyalgia Mental illness Muscular dystrophy Musculoskeletal diseases Obesity Osteoarthritis Personality disorder Rheumatoid arthritis Seizures Strokes Many times people wait to apply for disability benefits, wondering if their health condition is bad enough, or whether they may ultimately return to work. But if you wait too long, you could miss out on benefits you should receive. Let me help you determine if you have a disability case or not. You can always return to work later. But it can take a long time to get your benefits approved, so the sooner you start, the better. I don’t charge any attorney fee unless you win.
  • Do I need help early in the disability process?
    Yes, getting professional help can significantly increase your chances of winning your case. We can help you gather evidence, complete forms, work with disability adjudicators, and walk you through the entire process – even if you haven’t been denied.
  • Steps for applying for disability benefits online
    Gather the names of your conditions, doctors, tests, medications, and work history before logging into the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov. Gather job related information for 15 years prior to when you became disabled. Make sure to write down your re-entry number or have them email it to you in case you have problems during the application process.
  • When should I apply for Social Security benefits?
    If you are no longer able to work because of a severe impairment or combination of impairments that is expect to last for at least 12 months or end in death, you should file a claim for disability benefits. We can help you determine the best time to file and help you understand the process.
  • How long does it take to get Medicare after my claim is approved?
    There is a two year waiting period for Medicare benefits. Medicare benefits will normally begin within 24-months of your onset date.
  • Is there a waiting period for disability benefits?
    Yes, there is a five-month waiting period for SSDI benefits. The waiting period will affect when you will be entitled to your first SSDI benefit check if you are found disabled.
  • Can I get benefits for my children?
    If you have worked and paid social security taxes into the system, your children may qualify for benefits on your record. Typically, your children would be eligible for 1/2 of your PIA or personal insured amount.
  • Expediting the Social Security Disability Application Process
    In certain circumstances your claim for benefits can be expedited. One reason may be if you have a terminal illness. If you have a terminal illness, notify our office immediately and we will help you get the documentation necessary to turn in to SSA. Another circumstance that may speed up your case is if you are in a dire need situation. Some examples of a dire need situation would be home foreclosure, bankruptcy, etc. Social Security also has a class of conditions called “Compassionate Allowances” the list of qualifying conditions can be found at https://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm
  • How do I determine when my disability began?
    There are many variables that can factor into determining the proper “onset” date in a disability case. If you’ve worked five out of the last ten years, we can meet with you and help you determine the most advantageous date to maximize your past-due benefits and document any issues necessary to support the date we choose. This is important because SSA can potentially pay you up to 12 months of benefits prior to your application date. That’s why we suggest consulting us before filing your claim and let us determine the best “onset” date for you and not leaving it up to SSA to “pick a date” for you.
  • Will I need to get a medical opinion from my doctor?
    Though not required, a supportive medical opinion from your doctor can sometimes help your case. The ALJ will determine how much weight to give that opinion based on a number of factors such as: the specialty of the doctor, the length of the treating relationship, how consistent the opinion is with other evidence in your file, and other factors. At Southeastern Disability, we have a library of specialized forms that you can take to your doctor to get completed.
  • What if I have no income while I am waiting for my disability?
    A request for an expedited hearing or an “on-the-record” decision based upon a “dire need” situation such as an impending foreclosure or loss of shelter, diagnosis of a new terminal medical condition, or other emergency situations can be submitted to SSA. However, such “dire need” requests are usually rarely granted. Contact our office if you feel like your condition may qualify for special consideration.
  • How long does it take to get a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge?
    Depending on where you live, it can take between six months and one year to see a judge.
  • How long does a disability hearing last?
    An average hearing usually takes approximately 30 minutes from start to finish. For well documented cases with strong medical evidence, the hearing is usually short with a limited amount of questions. For more complex cases with, for example, conflicting or inconsistent medical evidence, the hearing can last over an hour. In some rare circumstances, the Judge may request additional information or schedule a medical exam after the hearing.
  • Is there any way to speed up the hearing process?
    Your representative can request an “on-the-record” decision if your case is strong enough. However, your representative may charge for his/ her time preparing the request. You can also submit a “dire need” request based on medical or financial hardship. It is at SSA’s discretion as to whether the request will be honored.
  • Will you go with me to my disability hearing?
    Yes, we will be with you at your disability hearing. We will also meet with you prior to your hearing to gather evidence and discuss your case.
  • How do I know what records I need to have at my disability hearing?
    Before your hearing we will consult with you to determine what providers you’ve seen, what tests you’ve had performed, and what specific records need requested. Generally, you should have all of the records of your medical treatment for 12 months prior to your alleged onset date in the record before your hearing.
  • Will I need to get a medical opinion from my doctor?
    Though not required, a supportive medical opinion from your doctor can sometimes help your case. The ALJ will determine how much weight to give that opinion based on a number of factors such as: the specialty of the doctor, the length of the treating relationship, how consistent the opinion is with other evidence in your file, and other factors.
  • What if I can’t get all of my records before my hearing?
    If you are unable to secure all of the relevant records prior to your hearing, you must notify our office and we will notify the Administrative Law Judge, in writing, five days in advance of your hearing. Otherwise, the Judge may not consider records submitted after your hearing. The Administrative Law Judge will rule separately on whether to admit the records into evidence after your hearing.
  • What happens if I cannot attend my hearing?
    If you do not attend your hearing, for whatever reason, you will be asked to explain why or “show cause” as to why you failed to appear. If the Administrative Law Judge feels that you have a valid reason for missing your hearing, he/she may reschedule your hearing for a later date. If the judge does not find your reason for not appearing at your hearing to be sufficient, he will dismiss your case and you will have to appeal or start over and file a new claim.
  • What should I bring to my hearing?
    You are required to have a valid picture ID such as a state ID card, driver’s license or some other form of official identification. In addition, you should have a printout of your prescription medications, prescriptions for any canes, crutches, walkers, glasses, or any medical devices you use
  • How long does it take to get a decision after my hearing has been held?
    It usually takes 4-10 weeks after your hearing for a decision to be issued. After the hearing the Judge will review your records, testimony, and any additional evidence or arguments, and issue a decision. Once he/she issues a decision, your case will go over to a decision writing unit for processing and writing a formal decision.
  • Trying to conceal work attempts at your disability hearing
    Social Security has access to your earnings record. If your employer reported wages to the state, then you should expect that Social Security knows about it. Sometimes a work attempt can show that you want to work but due to your disabilities cannot sustain a work effort. Talk to an expert that can help you determine the best way to handle work attempts after your onset date.
  • Unexplained gaps in your earnings record
    At a Social Security hearing, the judge will probably ask about gaps in your earnings history. Being unable to adequately explain these gaps can hurt your case. The judge doesn’t know if you were: incarcerated, working “under the table”, caring for for children or an elderly parent etc.. Be prepared to explain gaps in your earnings record for 15 years prior to your onset date.
  • Exaggerating your symptoms
    One way to quickly damage your credibility is to exaggerate your symptoms. Disability examiners have seen thousands of cases just like yours. Although every case is “unique”, adjudicators will often flag cases where the is not a medically determinable impairment or test results that could “reasonably” cause the limitations that you allege. Get expert help to help you navigate the forms and questionnaires that can “make or break” your case.
  • Using illegal drugs or trying to hide your substance abuse
    Self-medicating is not a good option in treating your pain, depression, etc..Using illegal drugs immediately damages your credibility. Failed drug tests for cocaine, methamphetamine, or other illegal substances point more towards recreational drug abuse than towards…
  • Not getting necessary care and testing
    Not being able to afford medical care is understandable if you have no medical insurance or income. Social Security can only decide cases based on medical evidence. A lack of treatment in or testing in your record does not help your case. People with severe conditions go to the emergency room despite lack of funds…
  • Being ”non-compliant” with prescribed medications or treatments
    If your medical providers have counseled you to stop smoking due to your worsening COPD or you end up at the ER due to not taking your seizure medications…
  • Living like you’re “retired” and not disabled
    There is difference between being “disabled” and “retired”. If you spend your days hunting and fishing then you appear to be asking Social Security to subsidize your “early retirement”…
  • Not getting prescriptions for assistive devices
    If you come to your disability hearing with a cane, crutches, walker, in a wheelchair the first question the judge will ask is “who prescribed that for you?”
  • Being treated by doctors who keep poor records
    Often doctors use software that automatically fills information about your conditions or symptoms. Some doctors keep poorly written “handwritten” notes that are difficult to read and are not machine readable…
  • Trying to “minimize” your limitations when describing your conditions
    A disability hearing is not a job interview or a job application. Failing to adequately show that your symptoms are severe can cause the judge. You should be honest and truthful in describing your symptoms. Too slight or too severe of symptoms can raise red flags in your case…
  • Caring for elderly parents or grandchildren
    Many adults take time off from work to care for elderly parents or to babysit grandchildren. This is commendable and often times it is necessary to care for family members. However, a judge will not pay you disability for spending the day caring for an elderly family member. If you are cooking, cleaning, bathing, and caring for others, proving you are disabled is extremely difficult.
  • Collecting unemployment while claiming to be “disabled”
    When you apply for state unemployment benefits, you are attesting that you are ready to go to work…
  • Getting medical opinions from hostile or unqualified providers
    A “bad” medical opinion is worse than no medical opinion. Forcing a medical provider to complete a medical opinion form is a bad idea. Often, they will complete it in such a way as to show you are not disabled at all. And, if your doctor completes a form in a negative way, you still must submit it to Social Security for consideration. This can have a catastrophic effect on your case.
  • Living with a “disabled” spouse and claiming they do all of the cooking, cleaning, and household chores
    In a disability hearing the judge will often ask if you have a disabled spouse. If you do, the judge will assume that you are doing the household chores or your disabled spouse is doing the household chores. It is best to…
  • Filing for benefits before your conditions become “severe”
    Filing early and often is the worst thing you can do…
  • Offering too much information at your disability hearing
    Some people have a habit of providing too much information at their disability hearing. When given the opportunity to speak, they may overshare and that can lead to trouble. Now, while outright lying is never in your best interest, disclosing unsolicited information could damage your case. The following four situations, while not grounds for automatic denial, have the potential to damage your claim. If any apply to you, it’s best to keep them under wraps unless directly questioned by the ALJ: Prior denied claims example. “I’ve filed seven times since 1987 and Social Security won’t listen to me…” Prior criminal history example. “Ive been locked up for fraud and false statements” Drug and alcohol issues example. “I’ve been drinking a 12-pack a day and using methamphetamine since 2013” Family members receiving disability example. “My wife and my 3 kids all receive SSI so I decided to quit working and try to get my disability too.” Three other job-related arguments to avoid making when testifying before the ALJ: “There are no jobs available.” This implies that if there were jobs, you would be able to work and therefore not in need of disability. “I can’t do my old job anymore.” Again, this implies that you are able to work a job, but just not able to work one outside of your field. If you are under 50, Social Security presumes you can be re-trained to do “other work”. Other work could by any unskilled work that exists in the “national economy”. “There is no way for me to get to work without a car or license.” Unless you have a medically determinable impairment that restricts your ability to drive or your doctor has prohibited you from driving, no ALJ will consider this a valid excuse for disability.
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