May 22, 2014

Is My Initial Consultation Really Free?

Your initial consultation with our office is free, and there are many reasons why.  When you call our office to initially discuss your claim, you will probably have many questions.  So will we.  We will need to talk to you to get an idea of whether you qualify for one of Social Security’s disability programs.  Also, during this first interaction with you we can get pertinent information that will give us a better “feel” for how we can help you.  Some of the questions we will probably ask you include, but are not limited to:

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  1.  Are you still working?  It is possible to qualify for Social Security disability benefits even if you are working, but there are limits on the number of hours you can work and the amount of monthly gross income you can earn.
  2. When is the last time you worked?  What is your household income?  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two disability programs: eligibility for Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI) is based on the number of work credits you have earned in the past ten years; Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is based on your household income and financial resources.
  3. What medical conditions do you have that keep you from being able to work?  These conditions can be mental, physical, or a combination of both; Social Security typically requires medical evidence showing that you have been diagnosed with these conditions and are receiving treatment for them.

There are many other factors involved in a Social Security disability claim, including your age, education, and prior work experience.  You may wonder why these things are important.  The SSA determines your ability to work based on many things.  In some cases, Social Security takes into account the fact that there are fewer job opportunities in the economy for people over the age of fifty.  Similarly, sometimes the SSA considers that a claimant with a limited education has a narrower range of job skills than someone with a high school or college degree.  Finally, part of Social Security’s disability analysis includes determining whether your disability still allows you to return to any of the jobs you have had in the past fifteen years or whether your past work gave you “transferrable skills” that would allow you to find another kind of job.

These examples are only a few of the topics we try to cover in our initial consultation.  Specific facts surrounding your life usually do matter in obtaining Social Security disability benefits.  We do not charge for the initial consultation because in addition to answering your questions about Social Security disability, we also use that time to gather important information we need to help you make an informed decision about proceeding with your claim.

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