People are often confused on what governmental programs are available to them if they can no longer work. The Social Security Administration offers two programs which provide financial assistance to the disabled. These programs are called Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). SSDI is offered to people who have worked and paid in enough in taxes to earn work credits. In stark contrast, SSI is a poverty based program for individuals who have not earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, and live below the poverty level.

Under both programs, Social Security requires that a person meet the criteria of being disabled with a severe impairment that has lasted over 12 months and is permanent in nature. The Social Security Administration will determine if a person applying for either of these programs meets a defined medical criteria of impairments, which is called a “listing.” If the disabled person does not meet a “listing,” the Administration then determines if the person can return to any of the prior employment they have had over the past 15 years, or if their job skills would allow them to transfer to another job with their impairment. If they determine the person cannot return to their prior employment and does not have transferable skills for other employment, they must then examine the person’s age, education, and the physical or mental limitations the person presently has and decide if there are any jobs that exist in the economy in significant numbers that the disabled person can do. If no jobs can be found to exist, then the Administration must find a person disabled.

Many people attempt to navigate through these complicated regulations without an attorney. What they are often unaware of is that if you have applied for benefits and been denied twice, a person may request a hearing in front of a Judge, and hire a disability attorney to assist them. Attorneys are paid only on a contingency fee basis, which means that your attorney will be paid only if they win your case, and will be paid out of the past due benefits you will be awarded if you win your case.

At the office of BASILIERE, THOMPSON, BISSETT, CASTONIA & SWARDENSKI LLP, we have been practicing in the area of Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Social Security Income (SSI) for over 25 years. Your attorney will prepare documents and provide evidence and arguments on your behalf to the Judge at your trial. She will also prepare you for giving testimony at the hearing. Please contact us if you seek representation in the area of Social Security Disability (SSDI).

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