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SSD Benefits in Michigan

Frequently Asked Questions About Michigan Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability benefits can make all the difference when someone has a long-term disability that puts them out of work. Nobody wants to get sick or seriously hurt in an accident, but when it happens, it turns your life upside down. You’ve got your illness or injury to deal with, medical bills, and the worry of lost income from not being able to work.

That’s when Social Security Disability benefits can help. But SSD can be confusing and hard to get. Figuring out how to apply, whether you’re eligible for benefits, and what benefits you’re entitled to, all add to the confusion and turmoil you’re already suffering.

To help, we’ve put together answers to some of the most common questions that come up when you’re in need of SSD benefits but confused about what to do.

For detailed answers about your specific SSD benefits claim, talk to one of our Michigan SSD lawyers. J.B. Bieske and Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law, have over 46 years of combined experience helping thousands of people just like you get their SSD benefits. We can answer any question you might have, and let you know how we can help.

SSD Benefits

Q: Is it true I should expect my claim to be denied when I first apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?

A: No! You will often hear that most claims are denied when first filed. While that’s true in general, it doesn’t have to be that way in your case. We can make a critical difference for you – and help make your first step toward benefits the right one. We handle only Social Security Disability claims, and with our long experience helping applicants at every stage of the benefits claim process, we know how to prepare your claim without the mistakes too many first-time applicants make. It’s hard enough navigating the SSD benefits process on your own, without worrying about making common mistakes that we can help you avoid.

We’re here for you – you don’t have to do it by yourself. You can give yourself the best chance of having your claim approved the first time around by having experienced and professional help from Michigan SSD attorneys, J.B. Bieske and Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law.

Q: Do I qualify for Michigan SSD?

A: At heart, that boils down to two basic questions. First, you must be eligible to receive SSD benefits because you have worked long enough in a job covered by Social Security, and you paid Social Security taxes on your earnings. Second, you must qualify for SSD benefits because you have an impairment that will, or is expected to, keep you from working for at least a year. The impairment can be a medical condition – such as a terminal or other serious illness – or a disabling injury, which prevents you from working full-time. Some of the rules about this can be different depending on how old you are and the specific type of impairment you have.

Q: Does my past work experience matter when determining whether I qualify for SSD?

A: Yes, because your eligibility depends on whether your disability prevents you from doing “past relevant work.” That’s work you’ve done in the past 15 years, which lasted long enough for you to learn to do it, and which was “substantial gainful activity.”

The Social Security Administration may look at a variety of factors to get a clear idea about how your disability keeps you from doing your past relevant work. These factors can include:

  • Your own explanation why you can’t do the same job anymore
  • How physically demanding the work is, such as
    • whether you had to lift and carry things
    • whether you had to do difficult movements, like climbing, crawling, or bending
    • how much you had to sit, stand, and walking during a typical workday
    • whether the job required a lot of movement in general
  • Whether tolerating stress was part of your earlier work
  • Details of your work background
    • your job title and responsibilities
    • whether your work was full-time or part-time
    • who you worked for, and for how long
    • whether you worked long enough to learn the job
    • how much you earned from the job
    • your reasons for leaving the job
    • whether your disability caused poor performance on the job
    • whether your disability caused any changes in your job, such as your responsibilities or schedule

Q: What is the process for claiming Michigan SSD benefits?

A: The Michigan SSD benefits claim process can involve several stages, depending upon the success or failure of your initial benefits application.

The process starts with your disability application. The application form can span up to 70 pages, and it sets the stage for everything that happens later regarding your benefits claim. Although the application can seem confusing, it’s critical that it be completed fully and accurately. You must avoid giving mistaken or incomplete answers that can then be used against you to deny your claim, either at the start or later in the appeals process.

If your initial claim for benefits is denied you can request a hearing.  While awaiting the hearing date JB Bieske and Jennifer Alfonsi will do all of their power to obtain a favorable on-record decision in your case.  This can happen at any time prior to the hearing date.  We have won thousands of cases in this manner.  If we do have to appear at a hearing, despite our best efforts, we still have an excellent chance of winning your claim. In the disability hearing before the ALJ, you’ll have a chance to talk to the ALJ and answer questions about your disability. The ALJ will use that opportunity to gather information before making the decision whether you should receive SSD benefits.

If the ALJ denies your benefits claim, then you have the option to seek review from what is called the Appeals Council. If you don’t get relief there, then the next step is to take your claim to federal court.

Based on our 46 years of combined experience representing Michigan SSD benefit claimants, your best chance for getting benefits as quickly as possible – based on your initial application – is to have help from a skilled and dedicated SSD lawyer from the start. Our Michigan SSD attorneys, J.B. Bieske and Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law, represent only SSD applicants. It’s all we do. Our experience and hard work has resulted in an 85% success rate for our clients since 2007. We achieve that by putting together SSD applications that give our clients the best possible first step toward getting the benefits they deserve.

Q: What happens after I’m awarded SSD benefits? Can I lose my benefits later?

A: After you receive an award of SSD benefits, it’s likely the Social Security Administration will review your case periodically to make sure you still qualify for benefits. This is known as the continuing disability review. Most cases are reviewed every three years. When your case is reviewed, you will be asked to provide information about whether your condition has gotten better or worse since your application was approved, whether you’ve had any new education or training since then, and what medical treatment you’re currently receiving. If the SSA finds that you are no longer eligible for benefits, you must quickly appeal that decision. This is because you will continue getting benefits during your appeal if you file your appeal within ten days.

Talk to one of our experienced Michigan SSD lawyers now to get answers to all your questions.

We know that if you’re disabled and can’t work, you need SSD benefits now, not later. That’s why your best bet for getting the benefits you need is to have help from an experienced Michigan SSD attorney.

Together, J.B. Bieske and Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law, have over 46 years of combined experience handling Michigan SSD cases. We work hard every day to help our clients get the SSD benefits they deserve, as quickly as possible. And we work on a contingency fee basis, so you pay nothing until we get you the benefits you deserve.

It’s easy to visit with us about your Michigan Social Security Disability benefits claim in a free initial consultation. We have local offices throughout Southeastern Michigan – in Macomb Township, Livonia, Novi, Troy, Downriver, and Detroit. If you can’t meet with us in person, 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 at (800) 331-3530, or use our convenient online contact form.

J.B. Bieske & Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law

19991 Hall Road, Suite 202
Macomb, MI 48044
Phone: 586-977-8100
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