Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney
When you’re facing a long-term disability, whether it’s a new condition or has affected you for your entire life, you already know that receiving a livable income is full of red tape and confusing paperwork. When you’re facing such financial difficulties, and you’re considering Social Security Disability (SSD), contact one of the attorneys from the Hankey Law Office, who can walk you through each step of the process and ensure you meet all deadlines and document requirements.
The Hankey Law Office was established in 1975 with a strict set of values: dedication to each and every one of our clients and the knowledge that we each have our own duty to protect our neighbors and fellow citizens. Our attorneys have a total combined experience of 75 years, and during that time we earned every bit of knowledge we’ve needed to become a successful firm time and time again. We know that the application process for SSD is overwhelming and complicated, which is wholly unfair to those who may already be struggling without a steady income or pricey medical visits.
If you are handling a long-term disability, our skilled legal team can help you stabilize your finances by securing the Social Security benefits you deserve. The Indianapolis Social Security Disability lawyers at Hankey Law Office have the experience you need, helping injured and disabled individuals all across the state of Indiana. We have gained the knowledge and the abilities necessary to handle even the most complex long-term disability cases. Contact us today to learn about how we can help you file your initial Social Security Disability claims, build a strong case, and even appeal rejections. You can call us at (317) 634-8565, submit an intake form on our website, or make use of our 24/7 live chat feature.
Do I Need a Social Security Disability Attorney?
Many individuals who live with a long-term disability attempt to file for Social Security benefits without the assistance of an attorney—often, this goes without a hitch. Unfortunately, the filing process for receiving these benefits is exceptionally thorough, complex, and demanding. On top of the initial application challenges, most claims are actually denied. In 2016, 2,321,583 disabled workers applied for Social Security benefits, but only 744,268 were approved. That’s only 32% of applicants. Even a deserving individual suffering from a serious disability can be rejected if they fail to file the correct forms, include the appropriate information, or send in the necessary medical documentation.
An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help you at any stage in the filing process—from your initial application all the way to, if necessary, your appeal for rejection. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you:
- File the appropriate paperwork in a timely fashion
- Gather the necessary documentation
- Identify and obtain medical records
- Argue that your medical condition constitutes a disability
- Decide how to proceed forward in the event of a rejection
- Formulate a case for your appeal
The Social Security system is flooded with applications every single day. If you submit your forms and materials with even minor errors, you could be looking at a long delay before you can start receiving your benefits. If you are considering filing for Social Security Disability benefits, you need the advice and the service of an experienced attorney.
The Benefits of Choosing Hankey Law Office
Our skilled legal team has been providing representation and advocacy for injured and disabled individuals across Indiana for years. We have developed a client-focused approach that puts you first. Our attorneys and staff members understand that anyone coming to us for help has already been through a trying process and we admire your strength. That’s why we focus on open communication, honesty, and transparency. We strive to make the legal process as quick as possible so you can get the benefits you need to move forward with your life.
Charles D. Hankey, our founding attorney, has practiced law in Indiana for over forty years. Since 1973, he has handled over 10,000 disability cases. He has assisted clients file for Social Security Disability benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income. Additionally, he has successfully appealed initial rejections, fighting to get Social Security payments for those in need.
Social Security Cases We Handle
Every long-term disability is unique. Individuals find themselves unable to work for a wide variety of medical reasons. Chronic pain plagues some, while others suffer from catastrophic injuries that leave them paralyzed. At Hankey Law Office, our Social Security Disability attorneys know that each particular care requires a customized legal approach. Over decades of combined experience, our legal team has earned the skills and knowledge necessary to take on a vast array of long-term disability issues.
We are prepared to help our clients with challenging legal situations involving:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD/ SSDI): If you’ve been in the workforce for long enough, you may be eligible for disability insurance
- Supplemental Security Income: This is available to the elderly and disabled who may have never worked and, therefore, do not qualify for SSDI
- Social Security Disability Claim Filing: We can assist you with your initial claim, from meeting deadlines to filing all the appropriate paperwork
- Social Security Disability Claim Appeal: If your first claim was denied, we can assist you with filing an appeal
- Social Security Disability/ Injury Representation: If both your initial claim and appeal were wrongly denied, you might be in a position to file a lawsuit
- Qualifying Disabilities: Take a look at the list of disabilities we have compiled that are covered under Social Security
Our skilled legal team understands how the system works. We have spent years getting to know the ins-and-outs of Social Security’s application and review process. If you are looking to obtain Social Security Disability benefits, our skilled attorneys are ready to help.
How Can I File for Social Security Disability Benefits?
The Social Security program exists to give financial aid to US residents who need extra support. Many people rely on Social Security retirement payments after they quit working. Disabled people who are forced to leave their jobs for more than a year can use Social Security benefits to maintain their financial stability. Social Security runs very much like an insurance company—if you pay into the system long enough, you can rely on benefits when you need them most. Individuals can qualify for SSDI if they have paid into the system for a long enough time period, usually through their work. Others who struggle with poverty could qualify for SSI if they are disabled, even if they haven’t contributed enough to Social Security to be eligible for SSD benefits.
To file for Social Security benefits, you’ll need lots of information including medical records, tax returns, and documentation concerning your employment. A knowledgeable lawyer can be useful during this step. One missing form or misfiled paperwork can cause costly delays or result in an outright rejection Applicants also have to be sure that their diagnosis matches up with the Social Security program’s definition of disability. Since this step can be particularly tricky, you will need an experienced attorney to help you review your materials and make your case. Filing for benefits without an attorney’s assistance can be exceptionally risky. At Hankey Law Office, our dedicated legal team can help you protect your rights and safeguard your future.
Long-Term Disability in the US
Social Security is a program run by the federal government designed to provide financial assistance to those who need it. Many people immediately think about retirement benefits when they hear the words “Social Security,” but the system also supports US citizens suffering from long-term disabilities. You may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if your medical conditions keep you from working. Today, millions of Americans rely on SSD and SSI benefits to make ends meet.
According to the 2017 Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program from the Social Security Administration (SSA), 10,059,166 people were receiving Social Security disability benefits in December 2017. Of this total, 86.4 percent were disabled workers, 11.0 percent were disabled adult children, and 2.6 percent were disabled widow(er)s.
The SSA reported that disabled beneficiaries between 18 years of age and 64 years of age in current-payment status accounted for 4.6 percent of the population of the same age group in the United States in 2017. Indiana was one of nine states in which the percentage was between 5 and 5.9 percent, while Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, and West Virginia were the six states in which 7 percent or more of the population was in current-payment status.
According to the SSA, there were 11,651,686 total disabled beneficiaries and nondisabled dependents, which marked the fourth straight decrease after a high of 12,156,191 in 2013. Of the total disabled beneficiaries and nondisabled dependents, 8,695,475 were workers, 126,154 were spouses, 1,418,446 were children under 18 years of age, 47,920 were students between 18 years of age and 19 years of age, 258,286 were widow(er)s, 319,162 were retired workers, 662,986 were deceased workers, and 123,257 were disabled workers.
According to the SSA, the average monthly benefits for certain groups were as follows:
- 319,162 children of retired workers – $696.37
- 662,986 children of deceased workers – $876.97
- 662,986 children of disabled workers – $493.13
- 108,514 beneficiaries under 25 years of age – $676.48
- 129,200 beneficiaries 25 years of age to 29 years of age – $720.34
- 126,585 beneficiaries 30 years of age to 34 years of age – $749.24
- 120,839 beneficiaries 35 years of age to 39 years of age -$761.70
- 111,520 beneficiaries 40 years of age to 44 years of age – $785.97
- 116,548 beneficiaries 45 years of age to 49 years of age – $806.94
- 115,741 beneficiaries 50 years of age to 54 years of age – $829.33
- 105,002 beneficiaries 55 years of age to 59 years of age – $842.29
- 74,752 beneficiaries 60 years of age to 64 years of age – $845.98
- 96,704 beneficiaries 65 years of age or older – $845.17
According to the SSA, the 10,059,166 total beneficiaries included 8,695,475 workers, 258,286 widow(er)s, and 1,105,405 adult children. The average monthly benefit was $1,196.87 for workers, $729.44 for widow(er)s, and $782.03 for adult children. The total monthly benefits were $10,407,363,000 for workers, $188,404,000 for widow(er)s, and $864,459,000 for adult children.
Of the 8,695,000 disabled workers in 2017, 1.6 percent were under 30 years of age, 2.7 percent were between 30 years of age and 34 years of age, 4.5 percent were between 35 years of age and 39 years of age, 5.9 percent were between 40 years of age and 44 years of age, 9.2 percent were between 45 years of age and 49 years of age, 15.0 percent were between 50 years of age and 54 years of age, 24.5 percent were between 55 years of age and 59 years of age, and 36.5 percent were between 60 years of age or older.
The SSA reported that benefits were awarded to 715,921 disabled workers in 2017, and the most common impairment was diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (36.7 percent). The next most common impairments were mental disorders (15.2 percent), neoplasms (11.2 percent), diseases of the circulatory system (10.3 percent), and diseases of the nervous system and sense organs (8.9 percent), with 17.8 percent being other impairments.
According to the SSA, there were 1,171,070 awards to disabled beneficiaries and nondisabled dependents in 2017. Of this total, 715,921 were workers, 36,095 were spouses, 217,868 were children under 18 years of age, 105,088 were students between 18 years of age and 19 years of age, 28,450 were widow(er)s, 30,854 were retired workers, 18,616 were deceased workers, and 18,178 were disabled workers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your case is unique and will come with a specific set of questions related to your circumstances, which an attorney will help you answer. The following are a few of the questions that clients frequently ask when they consider filing for SSD.
How is “disability” defined?
All applications for SSD benefits are reviewed by Disability Examiners. These examiners are government employees of state agencies, and review your application before delivering a decision on your eligibility. A designated Disability Examiner is assigned to your case and can be contacted by your attorney.
“Disability” is defined very narrowly by the Social Security Administration (SSA). To be disabled, you must a) not be able to perform your previous occupation, b) not be able to adjust to other types of work because of your medical condition, and c) have a medical condition that will last for at least one year and/or result in death.
The kinds of medical conditions that normally qualify for benefits are those that are long-lasting and serious. Some applicants experience intermittent health complications that are physically or intellectually debilitating for shorter periods of time. Such applications are less likely to qualify for SSD benefits. Disabilities that meet the 12-month minimum are most likely to qualify.
The ability to find and keep a job is a key element of the SSA’s definition of disability. You may not be able to work at your previous occupation, but if the SSA finds other occupations in which your disability would not be a serious impediment, you are unlikely to receive SSD benefits.
What if I have multiple impairments? Will the benefits I receive increase?
You are required by law to inform the SSA of any changes in your condition that may impact your eligibility. A new impairment should be reported to the SSA. An additional condition will not increase the amount of benefits you receive. But, if your initial condition begins to improve, reporting a new life-threatening or serious medical condition could enable you to remain eligible for benefits. Therefore, it is a good idea to report any and all eligible medical conditions to the SSA, so that you can continue to receive income to cover medical, living, and other expenses.
Why might my application be denied?
There are several reasons your application might be denied, including:
- Lack of Medical Evidence – If you do not regularly see a doctor for your condition, you are less likely to be eligible for benefits due to the lack of paperwork and documentation of your impairment. In this situation, the SSA is likely to hire a doctor to examine your condition. These examinations are brief and may not accurately demonstrate your disability to the SSA, making eligibility unlikely.
- Non-Eligible Medical Condition – If your disability will not last for at least 12 months, you are unlikely to receive benefits. If your condition is due to a drug or alcohol addiction, or because you do not follow through with prescriptions, you are also unlikely to be eligible.
- Lack of Work History Documentation – Ample documentation of your work history will enable you to demonstrate both that your disability prevents you from performing your occupation, and that you are insured and paying into SSDI. Your work history also determines the amount of benefits you receive based on your past income.
If you feel your application to SSD has been wrongfully denied, contact the attorneys at Hankey Law Office to start the process of appeal with the SSA.
If you or someone close to you lives with a long-term disability, you may be eligible to receive benefits through the Social Security program. At Hankey Law Office, our dedicated Social Security Disability attorneys can help you safeguard your future and acquire the benefits you are legally due. Contact us today to learn how we can be of service in your specific situation. Feel free to call us anytime at (317) 634-8565. You can also fill out the intake form on our website or use our live chat option.