Because the Social Security Disability application and appeals process can be difficult, especially when a claimant may be suffering from multiple medical impairments, it is crucial to hire an attorney that specializes in Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) claims.
Aline Gaba, attorney and founding partner of the San Diego Disability Law Group (SDDLG) recently participated in a webinar for the San Diego County Bar Association. In this webinar, she discussed the role of Social Security Disability Attorneys in helping their clients, along with the differences between SSDI and SSI claims. One particularly valuable focus included how medical evidence helps in achieving successful SSDI and SSI claim outcomes.
You can watch the discussion touching on the points above through the recorded 23-minute webinar published here: https://www.sdcba.org/index.cfm?pg=ssi
Below, we will review some of the main points from the webinar. If you still have questions, please feel free to call the San Diego Disability Law Group at (619) 338-9000 or contact us via email and we will do our best to get your questions answered as quickly as possible.
SSI Claims vs SSDI Claims
It is important to know the difference between a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim and a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim.
SSI is a needs based program for individuals who have a severe impairment that prevents them from being able to sustain gainful employment. There are different financial requirements depending on your marital status; however, SSI does not require any work history or qualifying quarters. As such, an individual may qualify for SSI if they have never worked a day in their life so long as they meet the financial and medical requirements for SSI. For this reason, SSI benefits are usually much lower than SSDI benefits.
SSDI also requires a severe impairment that prevents substantial gainful employment; however, you must also have sufficient qualifying quarters. In other words, you must have sufficient work history as well as a medically determinable impairment in order to be eligible for SSDI. Because SSDI is based on your earnings, these benefits are usually much higher than SSI benefits.
Why Hire an SSDI/SSI Attorney?
What does an SSDI attorney really do, and is hiring one actually necessary? A Social Security Disability attorney, like Ms. Gaba, has many years of knowledge and experience in dealing with the processes and procedures of the Social Security Administration (SSA). You could say that we are fluent in the language that the SSA speaks, which makes us uniquely qualified to address the many problems and pitfalls that may arise during the application and appeals process.
Attorneys who specialize in Social Security Disability, like Ms. Gaba, are well versed in the SSDI and SSI application and appeals process. We analyze each case from start to finish, including status of the claim, pending appeals, and hundreds to thousands of pages of medical records. Over the course of this long process, we work closely with and get to know our clients so that we can develop a comprehensive strategy to give them the best chance of winning their claim.
The Use of Medical Evidence in an SSDI/SSI Claim
It is important to note that the role of medical evidence is critical to the successful outcome of the SSDI/SSI claims process. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney, like Ms. Gaba, will review your entire medical file and ensure that the SSA has all of the necessary and relevant information. Your SSDI attorney will identify and request any missing records, ask your doctors for opinion letters, and work with you to gather any additional evidence that would support your claim.
In the webinar, Ms. Gaba also discusses the impact of the current Coronavirus pandemic situation on the processing of disability claims. Due to COVID-19 related business closures, the backlog of cases waiting to be processed by SSA quickly increased early on. However, the SSA has recently pushed though cases at a more rapid pace, which helped in reducing the claim processing delay. In addition, all of the San Diego Social Security hearings are currently being held telephonically instead of in person to comply with the related health requirements and to prevent further delays in processing claims.
SDDLG Can Help With Social Security Disability Claims
Many claimants find the Social Security Disability process daunting and discouraging due to the high rate of denials and the obscure nature of dealing with a large bureaucracy such as the SSA. However, you don’t have to go through the process alone. Please contact the San Diego Social Security Disability lawyers for a free consultation.