It’s a sad fact, but getting the Social Security Disability benefits (SSD) you qualify for – and deserve – is hard. In Michigan, the Social Security Administration denies more than 60 percent of first-time SSD claims. That means the odds are against you even before you start.
If you’re disabled and can’t work, you need SSD benefits now, not later. That’s why your best bet for getting benefits is to have help from an experienced Michigan SSD attorney. The SSD claim process can take months, even for first-time claims that get approved. Having your claim incorrectly denied means waiting even longer while you appeal to get the benefits the law says you should receive.
To give yourself the best chance of a successful first-time claim, or to get help after your claim has been denied by the Social Security Administration, let Michigan SSD lawyers, J.B. Bieske and Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law, put their decades of combined experience to work for you. Give us a call, or contact us online, to find out how we can get started helping you today.
Every Social Security Disability claim begins with an initial application. You can apply for SSD benefits by phone, in person at your nearest Social Security office, or by using a computer to work on your application online. Before applying, you will want to gather up your medical records and information about your work history so you have all the information you’ll need.
The application for SSD benefits is the most important step in getting the help you need as soon as possible. It’s very important that your application be complete and accurate. It’s also very important that it puts your claim in the best possible light based on the strongest evidence of disability in your medical and work history. That can be tough when the application can require you to complete over 70 pages of documents. In some cases, the government will use just one answer from the many, confusing forms to deny your claim.
Once you have submitted your SSD benefits application, the Social Security Administration will go through five steps in considering your claim. At each step, if the government concludes you’re not disabled, then the process stops and your claim will be denied.
In its five-step process, the Social Security Administration considers whether:
As experienced Michigan SSD attorneys, J.B. Bieske and Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law, have represented thousands of SSD applicants just like you – and won. We can quickly and correctly prepare your Social Security Disability benefits application, including getting required information from your doctors, so you don’t have to deal with the burden of paperwork and wondering if you’ve done everything you can to get your full benefits.
If your Michigan SSD benefits application is denied, your next step is to have the claim heard by an administrative law judge, also known as an ALJ. If you reach that stage and haven’t yet hired a skilled Michigan SSD lawyer, we believe that it’s very important that you do so.
These hearings are relatively informal compared to things that normally go on in a courtroom, so there’s no need to be nervous about the ALJ hearing. You still have to be ready and prepared, however.
During the hearing you can expect to answer questions from the ALJ and your attorney. A lot of these will have to do with your medical condition and how it limits the sorts of activities that you can do, including your ability to do your job. There may also be testimony from others, such as medical experts who can talk about your condition. Being at the hearing gives the ALJ the benefit of your own testimony about your condition, in person and in an informal atmosphere. You won’t be cross-examined by an attorney, and nobody will be arguing against your case. It’s all about letting the ALJ know about your situation, so he or she can make an informed decision about whether you qualify for SSD benefits.
Every case is different, but your Michigan SSD attorney can tell you more about what to expect, and what you can do to make sure you’re well-prepared for the ALJ hearing. And it’s why we think it’s very important to have skilled representation by a Michigan SSD attorney at the ALJ hearing stage of your claim. Your attorney can help you prepare and make sure you have the best chance of getting all your important information in front of the ALJ in the best possible way.
What happens after your ALJ hearing? After a period of time, you’ll receive the ALJ’s decision. If the ALJ finds in your favor, you’ll have to decide if you were awarded all the benefits you’re entitled to. If not, or if the ALJ rules against awarding benefits on your claim, you can appeal the ALJ’s decision to what is called the Appeals Council.
The Appeals Council can decide not to review your case, at which point your administrative proceedings are finished. You can then sue in federal court for your benefits, if you choose. If the Appeals Council takes up your case, it will review everything that’s happened so far and issue a decision. That decision then marks the end of the administrative proceedings, and you can go to court if you still don’t have the benefits you deserve.
With over 46 years of combined experience, J.B. Bieske and Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law, handle only Michigan SSD cases – it’s all we do, every day. Since 2007, we’ve won over 85 percent of our client’s cases, often at the very first stage of the claims process. We pride ourselves on winning SSD claims early and without ever having to go to court. That means our clients get help when they need it – now, not months or years down the road. Remember, you don’t pay us anything until we win your Michigan SSD benefits claim.
We have local offices throughout Southeastern Michigan – in Macomb Township, Livonia, Novi, Troy, Downriver, and Detroit. From anywhere in Southeastern Michigan, it’s easy to meet with us in one of our local offices, and if you can’t do that for any reason, we’re always happy to talk with you by phone. We’ll let you know whether you can expect to receive Social Security Disability benefits, and what we can do to help you with your claim. Just call us at (800) 331-3530, or use our convenient online contact form.