How to Get Disability Benefits in Michigan
On the other side of your application for Social Security Disability benefits is financial relief and greater stability after you can’t work due to serious health problems.
Benefits provide monthly checks and eligibility for Medicare health plans, easing your stress and letting you focus on your own well-being.
At our law firm, we talk to people every day asking how to get disability benefits in Michigan.
It’s not as simple as telling Social Security that you’re ailing and can’t work.
In fact, over a recent 10-year period, Social Security denied, on average, 79 percent of the people who filed initial applications for benefits nationwide.
That means most people will need to file appeals of those denials in order to get Social Security Disability benefits ultimately.
Even that isn’t easy. Only 2 percent of people win benefits in the first round of appeals. After all appeal levels are exhausted, however, the overall denial rate drops down to 66 percent, with approvals at about 33 percent.
Those still aren’t highly encouraging odds. But there is something you can do about it.
Many denials result from avoidable mistakes or lack of follow-through in this admittedly tedious process. But an experienced Michigan disability lawyer can improve your individual chances of winning benefits.
If you have to go to a hearing in front of a disability judge, for example, one government study found that your chances of being awarded benefits are almost three times greater if you bring a representative with you.
The Michigan disability benefits lawyers at Levine Benjamin Law Firm have helped thousands of people through this process for decades.
In this blog post, we’ll look at what it takes to get Social Security Disability benefits in Michigan.
Getting Social Security Disability Benefits in Michigan: First, You Have to Apply.
As soon as you realize you can’t work, and the reason is your health, you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits.
The application you put together needs to prove to Social Security that you can’t work because of your medical conditions—and you won’t be able to return to work soon.
Keep in mind that disability benefits are for people who haven’t yet reached retirement age. They’re meant to provide assistance when you can’t work but can’t start receiving Social Security retirement benefits, either.
This is what applying for Social Security Disability benefits in Michigan involves:
- Collecting documentation of your health problems, which come from your doctors and records of your medical treatment.
- Gathering statements from people who know you about how your medical conditions have changed your everyday functioning.
- Describing the jobs you’ve held going back several years, including the duties and demands of each job.
- Providing other basic information about yourself, such as age, education and past income.
- Filling out pages of Social Security Disability forms.
Putting together this application can feel like a project. It can even feel like a second job—just when you’re trying to tell Social Security you can’t sustain your first job.
But an experienced Michigan disability benefits lawyer can help with all of this and make sure your application is done right.
You don’t have to do everything yourself. And you don’t have to pay a disability attorney until you win benefits.
Getting Disability Benefits in Michigan: Next, You’ll Probably Have to Appeal.
Submitting a thorough, error-free disability benefits application can improve your chances of getting into the 21 percent of applicants who get approved for benefits right away.
But even when you put in a solid application, you still may be denied.
Your denial notice from Social Security, however, can provide ideas on how to update the information you send in when you appeal the denial.
CAUTION: Once you get a denial notice, you have about 60 days to start your appeal, so move quickly.
These are the steps to appealing a Social Security Disability denial in Michigan:
- Ask for a reconsideration. Your first step is asking Social Security to take a second look. But you get to update the medical evidence and other information you provided.
- Go to a disability hearing. The tough reality is that few people get approved on reconsideration. But at a disability hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ), you get the chance to explain why you need disability benefits in a direct conversation with an important decision-maker at Social Security. The approval rate is better with disability hearings than reconsiderations. This is when you’re really going to want a Michigan disability lawyer to help you.
- Ask for an Appeals Council review. The Appeals Council is a group within Social Security that reviews whether disability judges made mistakes in their decisions. To show potential errors by your judge, you again will want to work with a disability attorney.
- File a lawsuit in federal court. The Appeals Council is the highest you can go within the Social Security system. If you still haven’t been awarded benefits, your next step is suing Social Security in federal court. You don’t have to physically appear in court. It’s all done with paperwork, but you need a disability lawyer licensed to practice before federal judges.
If all of this sounds impossible, you should know that about 485,000 people receive Social Security Disability benefits in Michigan, according to numbers from the government.
So while many are denied, many also successfully secure these game-changing benefits when they’re no longer able to bring in a paycheck.
If you want to figure out what it will take for you to get Social Security Disability benefits, you can get a free evaluation of your claim from our disability law firm.
When you’re ready to go after and get disability benefits in Michigan, talk to the Michigan disability benefits lawyers at Levine Benjamin.