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Social Security Disability

Why Do You Need a Charleston Social Security Disability Attorney?

Applying for Social Security Disability can be a long and confusing process if you do it on your own. The way the system is structured, most people do not make an informed choice to apply for disability, most people who apply do so because it’s the only choice they have. You need a navigator, a Social Security Disability Attorney serving Charleston.

What is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?

SSDI is a program that will pay you disability payments if you have earned enough work credits to qualify. If you have not worked enough in the last 10 years, you will not qualify for this program, and you have to determine if you qualify for SSI. If you have worked some, but not full-time, you may have enough work credits to get a small check (which you may be able to supplement with SSI).

SSI is a program for those who have not worked at all and those who have not worked enough to meet the monthly minimum payment for SSI. Your assets have to be very limited in order to qualify. There is also a maximum monthly amount that you can get. We also handle Children's SSI cases which involve different criteria than adult cases, so please check with us on the details involved in these cases.

Steps Involved in the Social Security Disability Application Process:

Step 1:
  • Initial Application
  • You apply: (1) online; (2) in person; or (3) by phone
  • Note: We can help you apply for SSDI online, but you cannot apply for SSI online.
Step 2:
  • First Denial - You have 60 days in which to appeal and Request Reconsideration.
Step 3:
  • Request for Reconsideration
  • You complete a Request for Reconsideration and a Disability Report - Appeal.
Step 4:
  • Second Denial - You have 60 days in which to appeal and Request a Hearing.
Step 5:
  • Request for Hearing
  • You complete a Request for Hearing and a Disability Report - Appeal.
Step 6:
  • Hearing
  • You will appear before an ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) for the SSA, and he or she will take your testimony and the testimony of a VE (Vocational Expert). In general, a Hearing will last about an hour, and you usually will not know the result until you receive the Decision (much later).
After the Hearing
  1. You will get a Notice of Decision - it will either be Fully Favorable, Partially Favorable or Unfavorable. It generally takes about 90-120 days after the Hearing.
  2. You will then have 60 days to appeal (to the Appeals Council), if you disagree with the Decision. Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer serving Charleston about this decision.
  3. Once your appeal is completed, you will have to wait to get the Decision of the Appeals Council. It generally takes about a year.
  4. You will get a Decision from the Appeals Council - they will either uphold the Decision of the ALJ, reverse parts of the Decision of the ALJ or reverse the Decision of the ALJ completely. Most likely, your appeal will be denied, however if it is allowed, it generally means you get another Hearing.
  5. If you disagree with the Appeals Council (in which they uphold the Decision of the ALJ), you can file a case in the US District Court (basically federal court), BUT Be Aware: This is not like filing a completely new lawsuit, it is really more of a review. It is also highly recommended that you consult with a Social Security attorney serving Charleston before you file a case in federal court.
In Summary:

You're more likely to win your case by getting a Charleston Social Security Disability Lawyer involved in your case early in the process (or at least by the time you get your second denial letter) for the greatest likelihood of success. If you go to the Hearing without an attorney, and then try to get an attorney for the appeal, you may not find an attorney who will represent you, and your likelihood of success at this stage of the process is much less that it would have been had you hired an attorney early in the process.

One call is all it takes to get your Social Security Disability case on the right track today.

Client Reviews
“Attorney Trey Merck did a great job for me when I was going thru probate on my brother, He kept me well informed and explained things. I didn't have to pay upfront.. Everything went smoothly. He is a very nice person and I would definitely use his services again if I need to.” - Jackie
"Mr Merck helped me through the long process of medical disability. He was kind, patient, helpful, compassionate .... a very kind human being. He always went above and beyond to help me. I was so grateful for meeting him during g a difficult time in my life. I would highly recommend him to anyone." - Jody
"Trey Merck was kind and patient as he worked with me in a personal injury claim that involved myself and my husband, who died prior to settlement. He gently guided me through a process that could have been impossible for me to untangle alone. He had great organizational skills and was always available when needed.. He possess a quiet confidence that puts you at ease and assures you that he is being thorough.. I highly recommend him." - Debbie