Rhode Island & Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyers
The idea of Social Security is a simple and noble one: you work hard all your life and pay into a system all along the way so that you’ll have a safety net when you’re older — or in case you’re ever injured. Unfortunately, as far too many Americans have learned first hand, the system doesn’t always work as it should.
Every single day in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, hardworking people with legitimate injuries are surprised to find their Social Security Disability claims denied. Often, it’s hard to understand the rationale for a denial. It isn’t uncommon for claims to be dismissed on a technicality or without any reason at all. That’s called a wrongful denial, and it happens all the time.
So what can you do when it seems that the system you trusted (and poured your hard-earned money into) has turned its back on you? Don’t give up. There is hope.
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At Bottaro Law Firm, LLC, we’ve spent more than a decade helping the people of Rhode Island and Massachusetts claim the compensation they’re owed under the law. The Social Security system is massive and labyrinthine. Tackling it on your own is an uphill battle. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced RI Social Security attorney on your side.
The Rhode Island & Massachusetts Social Security Disability lawyers at Bottaro Law Firm are able to take on the Social Security system and insist that it play by the rules. We can help you at every step along the way, from filing your claim and attending administrative hearings to fighting denials and navigating the appeals process.
We understand that compensation can make a world of difference after you’ve suffered an illness or injury or become disabled. There are medical costs to cover, bills to pay, home care expenses that keep piling up… and to make matters worse, your disability might keep you out of work at the same time.
Every cent matters. Time matters too. While the complex Social Security system does not lend itself to fast action, we will do everything we can to speed up the process, advocate for your best interests, and maximize your compensation.
After all, you aren’t asking for a handout or a favor. You worked hard and paid into this system. You are entitled to benefits, and it’s our mission to help you get them.
Understanding the Difference Between SSI and SSDI
There are a lot of acronyms in the world of Social Security, and it’s easy to get confused. There are two acronyms in particular that are often discussed together, and there are a lot of misconceptions out there about when and how each applies. Before we talk about how we might be able to help you, then, let’s first briefly discuss the difference between SSI and SSDI.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI is a federal government program that provides cash assistance for certain eligible beneficiaries. It’s important to understand that SSI’s funding does not come from the Social Security system. (SSI is funded from general tax revenue instead.) Accordingly, these aren’t true “Social Security benefits,” though people often casually talk about them that way.
SSI eligibility is means-tested. In other words, it is only available to people who have little or no income. Additionally, applicants must meet other age and disability requirements. The amount of financial relief available depends on a wide range of facts, including income and quality of life.
The experienced SSI lawyers at Bottaro Law Firm, LLC can help you determine whether you’re eligible, how much you might be entitled to, and when you should apply. We can also help you battle wrongful denials.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSDI (sometimes referred to as SSD) is another federal benefits program, but it is entirely separate from the SSI system. In fact, SSDI works a lot like any other insurance program, though there are some key differences. SSDI benefits are available to disabled Americans who’ve paid into the Social Security system. If you’ve ever seen a FICA deduction on your paystub, you’ve probably paid into that system.
Unlike SSI, SSDI is not means-tested. When it comes to eligibility, your income is irrelevant. Instead, eligibility and payout are determined by your history of paying into Social Security. If you’re not sure where you stand, our Rhode Island & Massachusetts Social Security Disability lawyers can help.
Should I Seek Benefits Under SSI or SSDI? Can I Ever Apply for Both?
Eligibility for government benefits almost always depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your work history and living situation. Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to benefits under one of these programs, neither of them, or both. (Yes, it is possible in some circumstances to receive benefits under both SSI and SSDI.) An experienced RI social security attorney can help you determine which of these programs makes the most sense in your case.
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Denied? Ask Our Rhode Island & Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyers
If you have applied for SSDI benefits and have been denied, you may have a right to an appeal.
Never assume that you don’t deserve money for your injuries just because the government said “no.”
People hear “no” everyday when they shouldn’t, and our job is to turn that “no” into a “yes” when you deserve it.
Beware, though: time limits apply. Do not delay or you may risk losing your right to an appeal. We will work with your doctors and the Social Security Administration to ensure that we make a compelling case to the government.
Remember, we only earn our attorney’s fee if we are successful in getting you your benefits. You don’t have to pay anything upfront for our services.
Call us to today to set up a free consultation with an experienced RI Social Security attorney — no risk, no obligation. Let us help.
Social Security Disability FAQs
Learn More about Filing for SSI and SSDI Benefits in These FAQ Answers from MA and RI Social Security Disability Attorney Mike Bottaro
1. Does the government really wrongfully deny people’s SSI and SSDI claims?
Yes. While you might expect the government to process all Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims appropriately (especially when you’ve paid your taxes all your life), the reality is that people in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and across the country have their claims wrongfully denied all of the time. As a result, if you are thinking about filing for SSI or SSDI – or if you have already had your claim denied – it is well worth it to hire an experienced attorney who can help give you the best chance at succeeding with your claim.
2. What are some of the most common reasons why SSI and SSDI claims are denied?
There are a number of different reasons why we see people’s SSI and SSDI claims denied. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Inadequate medical documentation. In order to file a successful claim for SSI or SSDI (or both), you will need to submit medical records demonstrating the nature, extent, and effects of your injury or disability. For example, to collect benefits under SSDI, you need to be able to show that your injury or disability is severe enough that it will last at least a year. If you don’t have the medical records to support your claim (even if you truly have a debilitating injury), your claim will almost certainly be denied.
- Inadequate justification for not following a prescribed therapy plan. The Social Security Administration (SSA) can also deny benefits to individuals who fail to follow their doctors’ prescribed therapy plans. However, there are a number of exceptions (such as not having the money you need to pay for treatment), and it is important to adequately explain any deviations from your prescribed therapy in order to avoid a wrongful denial.
3. How long does a typical SSI or SSDI claim take?
Because each case is unique, there is no “typical” length of time that you can expect to wait before you receive a benefits award or find out that your claim has been denied. However, as a general rule, most claimants who follow all of the necessary procedures and file all of the correct documentation will typically get an answer within roughly three to five months.
Once the SSA approves your application, you can start receiving payments in as little as 30 days.
4. If I receive a denial notice, does this mean my SSI or SSDI claim is over?
No, absolutely not. If the SSA denies your claim, you can still seek to collect the benefits to which you are entitled by filing a formal appeal.
5. How long do I have to file my appeal?
If your social security disability claim has been denied, you have 60 days from the date of denial to file your appeal. This is a strict deadline; and, remember, the sooner you file your appeal, the sooner you can collect the benefits you deserve. To make sure our team has plenty of time to prepare your case for appeal, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible.
Importantly, even if you lose your claim on appeal, you can still ask for another review. You have multiple opportunities to collect benefits – the key to collecting maximum benefits as quickly as possible is to have the right legal representation on your side.
6. How much will it cost to hire an attorney to assist with my claim?
When you choose The Bottaro Law Firm, you do not have to pay anything up front. In fact, you do not have to pay anything during your claim. We handle SSI and SSDI claims on a contingency-fee basis, which means that you only pay if we are successful in helping you secure government benefits. Unlike other firms, we also guarantee that your legal fees will not be higher than your benefits award.
7. How can I learn more about filing for SSI or SSDI benefits in Massachusetts or Rhode Island?
For answers to more common questions about filing for SSI and SSDI benefits, you can review the Social Security Administration’s online FAQs. The SSA’s website provides answers to a number of additional questions, like “How do people qualify for survivor’s benefits?” and, “Are there special rules if I am self-employed?”
Alternatively, you can contact The Bottaro Law Firm, LLC and request a free, no-obligation consultation. Our firm has an extensive history of clients with SSI and SSDI claims and appeals; and, if you need to file for disability benefits, you can count on our experienced legal team to make sure that you collect the benefits you deserve.