No one likes to think of himself or herself as “disabled.” As Americans we share a strong work ethic and natural desire to support ourselves and our families.
Sometimes, however, an unexpected illness or injury gets in the way of our plans. Sometimes it is possible to fight through the pain and medical limitations and, of course, sometimes it is not possible.
If you suffer from a medical or mental health issues that prevents you from working, you have the well deserved right to ask for help from the Social Security Administration. Unlike the more familiar retirement program which pays older citizens once they have reached a certain age, SSA’s disability program serves men and women who have not yet reached retirement age.
At Ginsberg Law Offices, our average client is between 50 and 60 years old, and most of our clients have worked with diligence for many years, paying thousands of dollars of Social Security taxes into their SSA accounts.
Collecting Disability is not an Automatic Process
Many of our newly disabled clients are shocked and even a little angry to discover that collecting disability benefits is not an automatic process. In fact, it would not be inaccurate to report that Social Security makes the disability application process confusing, time consuming and frustrating.
Disability claimants do not get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to collecting payments from the tax dollars they have paid in. Instead, you as the person claiming disability, must prove that you cannot work at any job. With limited exception, it does not really matter what type of work you have done in the past, or how much you earned doing that work, as far as Social Security is concerned, if you have the capacity to sit in a corner somewhere, packing ink pens in a box for minimum wage, you are NOT disabled.
You have to prove that your medical condition is so severe that even a simple, sit-down, dead end, “warm body” type of job would not be possible.
How do you Prove that You are Disabled?
Social Security has created a maze of rules that their claims adjusters and judges must follow in order to decide whether you are disabled. Lawyers like me have entered this area of practice to help clients like you to navigate through this confusing set of rules and regulations.
If you are asking yourself – “why should recovering disability benefits be so difficult?” I completely agree and understand your frustration. There ought to be a better way but, at least at this point, there is not.
- Back in 2004, I published a “how to” book about the disability process to help first time applicants properly fill out SSA’s claim form 1. If there is a time when you might be able to cut through the red tape yourself, it would be at the initial application stage of your claim. Beyond that, however, the odds of winning just aren’t that good if you don’t have a lawyer.
Far too many deserving claimants simply take Social Security’s “no” for an answer and do not appeal to fight for their rightful benefits. I urge you not to just give up because Social Security has sent you a boilerplate denial notice.
What does a Lawyer like Jonathan Ginsberg Actually Do when Representing a disability Claimant?
As your Atlanta based disability lawyer, my main task is to translate your claim file – the medical records, personnel files from work, statements from friends and family, and assessments from doctors – into Social Security’s language. Specifically, Social Security mostly looks for evidence that addresses your capacity to work. Your doctor, on the other hand, produces records that discuss you treatment progress. I am able to win your case if I can bridge that gap and identify significant work limitations that may be hiding in your claims file.
I also bring to my representation experience and knowledge about the disability hearing process and about the judges who preside over cases in the Atlanta metro area and in the northern half of Georgia. Social Security hearings are scheduled on the hour – judges expect claimants (and their lawyers) to be prepared, to present targeted testimony, to highlight specific pages of evidence and to make clear and convincing oral arguments. I am always thoroughly prepared for my hearings and you can be sure that the evidence supporting your claim will be presented respectfully and professionally.
How does a Lawyer like Jonathan Ginsberg get paid?
Obviously if you are applying for Social Security disability you do not have the funds to write a check to a lawyer. Many of my clients have more than enough trouble finding the funds to visit the doctor.
Disability lawyers are allowed by State Bar rules to represent Social Security clients under a contingency fee contract. Contingency means that I only get paid if I win and it allows deserving claimants to hire experienced counsel without having to come out of pocket for fees. I readily accept Social Security cases under a “no fee unless we win” contract. If we win, you agree to pay me up to 25% of past due benefits, with a cap of $6,000. Many of my clients recover more than $24,000, which means that they actually pay less than 25%.
- I must also tell you that I do not accept every case that comes across my desk. Within the last 18 months or so, the judges before whom I appear have noticeably heightened their demands for evidence. Despite what you may have heard, it is still possible to recover disability benefits but the days when we could walk in with a few medical records and credible testimony only are over.
OK – What is my Next Step?
If you would like me to look at your claim for possible representation, I am happy to do so – at no charge and with no strings attached. Fill out this basic case evaluation form and either my secretary Mya or I will call you to spend a few minutes listening to you. If I think that your claim fits the profile of a case I can win, we will proceed and get busy immediately. If I feel that your case is not quite developed enough, I’ll give you my suggestions about what you may be able to do to improve your chances and even a referral to another lawyer if that is appropriate.
No matter how you decided to proceed, I hope that you find this web site and my YouTube channel useful. As always if you have any questions about the process, shoot me an email or call me on the phone – my number is 770-393-4985.