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  • Lawyer for applying SSDI?

    After working for about 20 years, I am in a process of the retirement based on my disability: C-5/6 complete with some recent complications. I stopped working 2 weeks ago and am in FMLA (medical leave). So, I am still getting paid from my remaining vacation & sick day. I have never considered a lawyer for applying the SSDI, but a LTD insurance company mentioned/suggested the service from an attorney's office. As a C-5/6 complete, does anyone see any necessity of the service from an attorney to apply (and get) the SSDI?

    Another question would be if I can apply for the SSDI at this point (when I still get paid) or if I should wait until I spend all the vacation & sick days.

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    I didn't use a lawyer, but I also never worked while disabled. That's a complication to the application process that may justify professional help. "Planning" for SSDI as a "retirement" method, after having successfully proven yourself capable of working with your disability, for 20 years, and applying while still employed, is going to be a different. Yes, you need to be unemployed (filing while still employed is instant reject) and "why" needs to be some new reason. "I am ready to retire" isn't a qualifying change on its own. Something needs to be medically different this year, vs last year, and documented. If you've got a good doctor on your side, willing to put in writing that your disability has changed/progressed over time and now commands SSDI benefits, then I think you'll be fine, but getting a lawyers advice doesn't sound totally crazy, so long as it isn't too costly.
    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

    "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

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    • #3
      I wouldn't seek out legal advice unless you are denied. SCI/D is one of the conditions that pretty much guarantees you will qualify for SSDI approval. If you are denied, then get some legal help.

      (KLD)
      The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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      • #4
        Thanks Oddity and SCI-Nurse for your input.
        I decided to apply the SSDI by myself without a lawyer. One of reasons is there are several papers I need to sign to work with a lawyer, which I don't like to do. Another reason is that it seems the applying process is not too complicated as SCI-Nurse mentioned.
        I find this page for the time of the application. I still can apply the SSDI while I am on the FMLA.
        https://www.disabilityadvisor.com/long-term-disability/

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        • #5
          JK, there is nothing complicated about the application process and you will not need a lawyer unless you find your application denied more than twice. The first denial is SOP. They do that to everyone and it cuts their costs because many people feel discouraged enough to not appeal. I found it also helped, on the first appeal, to go into the local SSA office to submit my M.D. documentation. When the clerk saw me and i spoke about the simplest obstacles to my returning to work , she had not difficulty understanding.

          You will have a long wait anyway between application and gettin your first check, though at that time you will get back pay. Plan on at least 6 months of savings.

          A lawyer will only do exactly what you do.

          On the other hand... I took a friend with me who is a lawyer, not because she represented me, but because it added an "I'm serious" factor. I do not thing that was necessary, but it made me feel .. invulnerable. Like Supergirl.

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          • #6
            There are SSDI and Medicare advisers funded by SS Admin to consult and assist with this. I used one that I found through my local bureau of vocational rehab.
            T3 complete since Sept 2015.

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            • #7
              I have a similar question so I thought t might be better to address it here instead of another tread.
              I plan to be leaving my job soon because of the requirement of the job is getting more difficult to perform.
              I am a c/6 55yrs and worked at this job for the last 17yrs. I do have other income from passively trading stocks and other investments. Now what i have read that passive income should not apply.
              Has others had any problems with this issue.

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              • #8
                Rainman, as long as you are not working when you apply you will have automatic eligibility as a result of your injury. I used to have a copy of SSDI disability determination manual. If you are a full time chair user as a result of SCI you are eligible - no need for lawyers, no appeals required.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ancientgimp View Post
                  Rainman, as long as you are not working when you apply you will have automatic eligibility as a result of your injury. I used to have a copy of SSDI disability determination manual. If you are a full time chair user as a result of SCI you are eligible - no need for lawyers, no appeals required.
                  Thank you!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JK View Post
                    After working for about 20 years, I am in a process of the retirement based on my disability: C-5/6 complete with some recent complications. I stopped working 2 weeks ago and am in FMLA (medical leave). So, I am still getting paid from my remaining vacation & sick day. I have never considered a lawyer for applying the SSDI, but a LTD insurance company mentioned/suggested the service from an attorney's office. As a C-5/6 complete, does anyone see any necessity of the service from an attorney to apply (and get) the SSDI?

                    Another question would be if I can apply for the SSDI at this point (when I still get paid) or if I should wait until I spend all the vacation & sick days.

                    Thanks in advance.
                    By chance do you work for a state government agency? Sounds similar to the process I am anticipating.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I will update my status.
                      First of all, Sorry landrover for this late response. No, I didn't work for a state agency.

                      I applied SSDI on April. Since I also applied a LTD, I had some copy of my medical records and a doctor's statement submitted to the LTD.
                      There were many questions on the online application, but most questions were about myself. So, I think I had to provide all the information even if I hired a lawyer. It means the work I needed to do was fairly same regardless of hiring a lawyer.

                      After finishing the online submission, which took me about a week, I visited a local SS office and submitted the doctor's statement and medical records. During the online application, they asked me to provide a family, friends, or anyone who knows my disability. I wrote one of my care givers name and she received a form to fill out and she mailed it to the SS office.

                      After that, I just waited for about 2 months and my case was approved in June.

                      Unfortunate part is that the LTD denied my claim because they didn't see why I stopped working after working for 20+ years although my doctors wrote strong statements even twice. So, I just gave my case to a lawyer. It may take time, but well... time will tell.

                      Difficult part is the medicare. As we know, medicare doesn't start for the next 2 years and I have to pay for a COBRA plan by myself and this is expensive.

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                      • #12
                        "Unfortunate part is that the LTD denied my claim because they didn't see why I stopped working after working for 20+ years although my doctors wrote strong statements even twice. So, I just gave my case to a lawyer. It may take time, but well... time will tell."


                        This has been my main question/concern. I've worked for 16 years to date following my injury, so I've wondered how I would be eligible for disability retirement with the same condition that I've shown I can work with, unless there were complications. Did your doctor address new complications?

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                        • #13
                          For the last one year, I have had femur fracture, cellulitis, UTI, low bone density on my legs, fatigue etc, but the insurance company thinks none of these prevent me working. I think they just tried to find any reason not to pay. A lawyer asked me if my job performance was degraded. Despite all difficulties, I am a person who usually don't miss my tasks. You may try not too hard and may need to lower your job performance, but I am not sure if it helps.

                          As you may agree, doctors do not have many things to do for SCI. But it may be useful to visit doctors and you may continuously say how much you are tired although there is nothing that dr. can do. It could be on doctor's records and could be used during the claim.
                          Last edited by JK; 08-09-2019, 05:35 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Something to think about for sure. I’m 44 years old, so health permitting, I plan to continue for a while.

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                            • #15
                              Unfortunately those issues are acute and treatable conditions, not long term disabilities. I think you need a doctor to address your actual long term disability progression into a 'can't work' state. Treatable complications are not really LTD progression. They can be related, to be sure, but could you really imagine an LTD benefit award for a broken leg? Or a UTI? Those are things able bodied people work with all the time, and will go away. Focus on the progression of the actual LTD with a doctor, and your lawyer, not the short term treatable complications, IMO.

                              Originally posted by JK View Post
                              For the last one year, I have had femur fracture, cellulitis, UTI, low bone density on my legs, fatigue etc, but the insurance company thinks none of these prevent me working. I think they just tried to find any reason not to pay. A lawyer asked me if my job performance was degraded. Despite all difficulties, I am a person who usually don't miss my tasks. You may try not too hard and may need to lower your job performance, but I am not sure if it helps.

                              As you may agree, doctors do not have many things to do for SCI. But it may be useful to visit doctors and you may continuously say how much you are tired although there is nothing that dr. can do. It could be on doctor's records and could be used during the claim.
                              "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

                              "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

                              "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

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