TOP 10 SIGNS YOU WILL WIN DISABILITY BENEFITS
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS YOU WILL WIN YOUR SSDI & SSI BENEFITS?
Signs you will win SSDI and SSI benefits can be hard to find. But, this article can help you if you want to predict your results in the Social Security appeal process.
If you are filing an application for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI), then you already know how frustrating the process can be. After you apply for benefits, you will usually wait four to six months to get an initial decision. If your application is denied, then you must appeal the SSA’s decision. Likewise, if you are denied again, then you must request a hearing. Waiting for a hearing date can take up to a year and when it occurs will depend on where you live in the country.
During the two years that it takes to get a hearing, you will be wondering what the SSA will decide. Are there any clues that can give you an answer? The answer is yes.
If you are looking for clues that you will win your SSDI and SSI benefits, please read below about the 10 signs that show you will win your benefits. These signs will give you a good idea as to whether or not you will eventually win your benefits.
Below are the 10 promising signs that you will win SSDI and SSI benefits.
SIGN #1. YOU HAVE ENOUGH WORK CREDITS TO QUALIFY FOR SSDI BENEFITS
SSDI benefits are only available to those who have earned enough work credits. You earn work credits by paying Social Security taxes. If you earn enough work credits, then you qualify to apply for benefits. In 2023, workers gained one work credit for every $1,640 that came from company wages or self employment.
Your work credits determine if you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). To have enough work credits you must have worked 5 years out of the last 10 years. The number of work credits you need for SSDI benefits is dependent on your age and the onset date of your disability. Normally, you will need 40 work credits and 20 of them must be earned in the last 10 years. However, a young worker can qualify for SSDI benefits without earning so many work credits. For example:
- If you are less than 24 years old, then you will need 6 credits in the 3 year period which ends when your disability began.
- Between the ages of 24 and 31, you will need work credits which are equal to half the time you worked between age 21 and the date your disability began. For example, if you were 30 when your disability began, then you will need 4 years of work history and 16 credits.
- If you are between 31 to 42 years old, then you will require a a minimum of 20 work credits.
- When you are older than 42, the number of work credits you will need is based on a sliding scale and adds two credits every two years to the 20 work credit requirement. For example, a person who is 50 years old will require 28 credits to qualify for benefits.
SIGN #2. YOUR MEDICAL CONDITIONS PREVENT YOU FROM WORKING FOR OVER ONE YEAR
If you cannot work for at least one year because of your medical conditions, then you may have a chance winning SSDI and SSI benefits. Unfortunately, if you medical condition is going to last less than 12 months, you will not qualify for benefits. For example, if you break your arm and your leg in a car accident, you may not be able to work for a few months. But it is likely that both limbs will heal within a 12 week period of time. Even if it takes your leg longer to heal, it will still heal prior to one year. Therefore, you could return to work when your are healthy again and it will be long before the one year time frame.
SSA benefits pay for ongoing disability that prevents you from working for the rest of your life. Unless you have private insurance or state disability benefits, there isn’t a benefit program that will pay you on a monthly basis for short term disability.
If you see a treating doctor on a regular basis and they are an expert, then that is a good sign you will win benefits. Receiving regular treatment from a doctor provides the medical evidence you need to win benefits. It is also a sign that your condition is chronic, not temporary. You have a better chance of winning SSDI and SSI benefits if you have a condition that is not going to improve. For example, if you have Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or Liver Cancer, you should win benefits. These are examples of chronic medical conditions that are not likely to improve.
SIGN #3. SUBSTANTIAL MEDICAL EVIDENCE SHOWS YOU HAVE A SEVERE MEDICAL CONDITION
You must have medical evidence that supports your application for SSDI and SSI benefits. Learn more here about the importance of medical evidence in your SSDI case. The Social Security Administration will use your medical records to assess whether your medical conditions prevent you from working.
The SSA usually denies claims because those who apply fail to submit medical evidence. The SSA uses their “blue book,” also called the “listing” to determine if your medical condition is severe. They will look to see if your medical condition meets or equals their listing. If your condition does not meet or equal the listing rules, then you can still qualify for benefits by proving your residual functional capacity (RFC) prevent you from working.
In order to win benefits, you should medical evidence from your treating doctor that supports your SSDI claim. Additionally, the following medical records will support your case:
- Progress notes from your doctor
- Diagnostic reports
- X-rays, CT scans, and MRI’s
- Medical reports from experts on your conditions
- Hospital stay records
- Outpatient records of mental health treatment
If you have these record and support from your treating doctor, that is a good sign that you will win benefits.
SIGN #4. YOU ARE OVER 50 YEARS OLD
The older you are, the easier it is for you to win SSDI and SSI benefits. The reason for this is the SSA can apply the Medical-Vocational Guidelines to your case.
If you are over 50 years old, the rules state that even if you can perform sedentary, unskilled work, then (as long as it was not your past work), you would win benefits. SSA’s rules show that the older a person becomes, the less likely they are to be hired by employers. They also recognize that it is more difficult to learn new skills and change jobs as you age. Learn more here about how being over 50 years old is helpful to win your benefits.
For example, maybe you worked doing a physical labor job, like construction. Now, due to a herniated disc in your back, you can no longer do that job. If you are younger than 50, then the SSA might decide you can get an office job. Even if you don’t know how to do an office job, the SSA will believe you could learn how to do it. However, if you are older than 50, the SSA does not expect you to learn a new career.
SIGN #5. YOU CAN PROVE THAT YOU CANNOT DO YOUR PRIOR WORK
Another sign that you will win benefits is being able to prove you can no longer do your past job. If you have records from your former employer that proves you cannot work, you should submit that to the SSA. For example, attendance records that show you missed work on a weekly basis are good evidence. Additionally, you could submit records from your former employer showing that you had to take extra breaks at work. Or, that you were fired from your job due to poor performance or lack of attendance because of your medical conditions.
Remember, in order to prove your medical conditions prevent you from working, you must show that you have been off work for at least 12 months.
If you have medical evidence from your doctor and records from your former employer which show you cannot work a 40 hour work week, then you will have a better chance of winning SSDI and SSI benefits.
SIGN #6. YOU CAN PROVE THAT YOU CANNOT PERFORM SEDENTARY WORK
Sedentary work is the simplest form of work. When you think about your work, if you have a desk job, then you have a sedentary job. Sedentary work requires lifting less than 10 pounds. It also requires you to be able to sit for six hours out of an 8 hour day. If you can prove that you cannot do sedentary work, then you have also shown you are not able to perform light and medium work. Because those types of of job are harder to do, as they require more physical strength.
For example, depending on your ability to lift, sit, stand, walk, carry, and bend, the SSA will determine you can work in one or more of the following types of jobs:
- Very heavy
Sedentary work is the easiest to perform, because it is seated. Light jobs require standing on your feet and some lifting. As an example, it requires the ability to lift up to 20 pounds. For light work, think cashier. Medium work requires heavier lifting. For an example of medium work, think janitor. An example of heavy or very heavy work is the job of coal miner or oil field worker. These individuals must lift up to or over 100 pounds and perform labor on a daily basis.
When the SSA considers your benefit application, they determine your physical residual functional capacity (RFC). To determine your RFC, the SSA uses your medical evidence to define your physical limits in terms of lifting, sitting, standing, etc.. If your physical limits show you are no longer able to perform your previous job (and your education or age prevents you from doing a different job), this is one of the best signs you will win benefits.
SIGN #7. YOU CAN PROVE YOU ARE LIMITED TO UNSKILLED WORK
If you don’t have a college degree, then that is another sign you will win SSDI and SSI benefits. A lower level of education means you may not be able to work in a skilled position. For example, being a plumber is a skilled job. Because it takes years of school and experience to become a plumber. That means the job requires skills that you cannot learn from doing any other kind of job.
The SSA uses the Dictionary of Occupational titles to define different types of jobs. Jobs are either unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled. The following rules apply:
- Unskilled work can be learned on the job in a short period of time, which is less than 30 days. You don’t need to go to school to learn how to do a job that requires no skills.
- Semi-skilled work requires some skills, but it doesn’t involve complex work duties. Skills for these jobs can be taught within 3-6 months.
- Skilled work requires going to school or experience. For example, to become a lawyer, you must have a college degree and then go to law school for 3 years. Years of school give you the knowledge you need to practice law. However, even after school, you still need to practice law in order to obtain further skills. That is why jobs like being a lawyer are skilled.
If your case goes to a hearing with an SSA judge, then your education level will be crucial to whether or not you can perform other work. Skills from one job, may transfer to another job. If you do not have skills, then you can only perform unskilled work. In that case, you may no longer be able to perform any work.
SIGN #8. YOU CAN PROVE YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO SUSTAIN A 40 HOUR WORK WEEK
There are times, even if you are over 50 years old, that the SSA will find you are still capable of working. This happens even if you can show that you cannot perform your past jobs. The SSA may find you can do a physically easier or mental less complex job. If that is the case, then the only way for you to win benefits is to prove you cannot sustain work for 40 hours a week.
The way to prove you cannot sustain work 40 hours a week is to show that you will be “off task.” For example, if your doctor requires you to lie down two hours a day to elevate your legs because of a heart condition, then you cannot work at any job. Likewise, if you have a mental condition or pain that prevents you from doing simple tasks, you cannot sustain a job.
Other options are proving you need extra breaks during the day. These would be in addition to normal breaks. For example, if you have Crohn’s disease, you may need time away from your job to use the bathroom multiple times a day. Most employers will not give you multiple breaks on an ongoing basis.
SIGN #9. SIGNS YOU WON YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY HEARING
Once you reach the hearing level of your SSD case, there are signs that tell you if you won your Social Security hearing. Below, please find the most important signs of winning at the hearing level:
- The judge issues a bench decision at the SSDI hearing. This means the judge tells you and your attorney at the hearing (from the bench) that you have won your case. Normally, this does not happen. But, if it does, you can expect a quick written decision.
- The judge asks few questions of you or your attorney and instead, goes straight to vocational expert testimony. This is also a good sign that you will win your case. It means the judge believes your medical evidence and only wants to ask the VE if there is any work that you can perform.
- You get a judge that has a high award rate. This means that the judge is more likely to approve your case if the evidence shows you cannot work. Unfortunately, there are a few judges who have extremely low grant rates. These judges are few and far between, but they may approve only 10% of their cases. With judges like these, there is very little you can do to win your benefits.
It is important to note that there is no guarantee that you will win your case, even if all of the above signs are positive for you. The decision as to an award of benefits is ultimately up to the judge. If you do not win your case, you can appeal the decision to the Appeals Council. Learn more here about filing an appeal of the hearing decision to the Appeals Council and Federal Court.
SIGN #10. YOU HIRE A SOCIAL SECURITY ATTORNEY
Since most claims are denied, you should work with a Social Security lawyer who is an expert in winning SSD benefits from the SSA. An attorney can walk you through the application process. They can also help you collect the medical evidence the SSA wants to see.
Because the claim process can take months, your Social Security attorney might be able to make the process go faster with the SSA. If the SSA denies your claim, your attorney will file an appeal with the SSA.
There is evidence that hiring an attorney with experience in Social Security matters makes it three times more likely that you will receive benefits. Obviously, a law firm that practices Social Security law on a daily basis can help you win benefits. For the past 30 years, Cannon Disability Law has helped their clients win benefits. We offer a free review of your case and charge no attorney fee unless you win. Give us a call today to see if we can help you win benefits.
WHEN WILL YOU KNOW THAT YOU HAVE BEEN APPROVED FOR BENEFITS?
Is there a sign that you have won your benefits? If you have just applied for benefits and your case is granted, then you will receive your decision in the mail. If your case is not granted, then you will also receive a denial in the mail. The denial will have an explanation of why you were denied benefits. Over 90% of cases are denied at the initial level. If your case goes to hearing, then you will also receive a decision in the mail. Your attorney receives the decision at the same time you do.
Unfortunately, the SSA does not give any sign as to what they are going to do in any given case. Denials don’t arrive any faster than a win. Also, if the SSA sends you to see one of their doctors, that is not a sign that you will win your case. But, it is a sign that they are trying to get more information about your health. Learn more here about the an exam with one of the SSA’s doctors.
The best way to know if you will win your case is to look at the medical evidence in your case. If you treating doctor supports you and you have not been working for over one year, then you have a good sign that you will win your case. However, some conditions are compassionate allowances. These medical conditions automatically qualify you for SSDI benefits. You can see a list of the conditions that automatically qualify for benefits here.
WHAT WE DO TO HELP YOU WIN SSD AND SSI BENEFITS
You do not need to apply for Social Security benefits by yourself. You can always call our law firm and we will help you win benefits. There is no charge to call us. Cannon Disability can help you file your SSDI and SSI application. Also, we can help you appeal every SSA denial. For example, our attorneys and staff can:
- Send you the paperwork you need to become our client
- Help you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits
- Inform the SSA that they should automatically pay your benefits under the Compassionate Allowance Rules
- Appeal if you receive an initial denial from Disability Determination Services
- Help you confirm your Consultative Examination
- Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Prepare you to be a good witness at your SSA hearing
- Represent you at your hearing and question the expert witnesses
- Read more about job experts here
- Learn more about medical expert testimony here
- Request review of an SSA decision with the Appeals Council
- Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court
If you file your application for benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. Once you submit your application online, the SSA sends you an application summary in the mail. You must sign the summary and mail it back. If you don’t send it back, the SSA will not process your application. Sign it and send it back as soon as you can.
WE OFFER A FREE REVIEW OF YOUR BENEFITS
If you need help filing for benefits, then reach out to Cannon Disability Law. Taking the first step by calling us. All you need to do is reach out to our legal team.
Additionally, we offer a free review of your case. What that means is that you can call us and explain your situation. At that point, we will look at the merits of your case for free and let you know if you have a chance to win benefits. We do not charge you for our review of your case.
In the past 30 years, we have won over $100 million in SSDI and SSI benefits for our clients. We are experts at what we do and we will put our knowledge to work for you. Hire us to be your Social Security legal team.
We help clients win benefits in many states, including Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and California. Find out more about your benefits and how to apply in your state here:
- California SSDI and SSI benefits
- Colorado SSDI and SSI benefit information
- Idaho SSDI and SSI benefits
- Nevada SSDI and SSI benefits
- Utah SSDI and SSI benefits
No matter where you live, we want to be your legal team. Hire the best Social Security legal team with no money down. Also, there will be no attorney fee unless we win your case. Contact us today. We will do our best to help you win SSDI and SSI benefits for your medical conditions. We know that not being able to work and running through your savings is hard to take. Therefore, we will also due our best to win your benefits as quickly as possible.
YOU ONLY PAY ATTORNEY FEES IF YOU WIN YOUR BENEFITS
The SSA has capped attorney fees in Social Security cases at 25% of your past due or back benefit or $7200, which ever amount is less. This is the most your attorney can charge you if your case is won at the hearing level or below.
For example, if your attorney wins your SSDI case and your back benefit is $10,000, then the attorney fee will be 25% of the back benefit, or $2500. In such a case, you would not pay the $7200 cap. Instead, the attorney fee is 25% of the back benefit, which is less than the cap. This is what happens in most SSDI and SSI cases.
In another example, if you attorney wins your SSDI case and your back benefit is $100,000, the attorney fee is not $25,000, which is 25% of the back benefit. Instead, the attorney fee would be $7200. Because $7200 is the most your attorney can charge you after winning your case at the hearing level or below. That is true even if 25% is higher than the $7200 cap.
Additionally, your attorney can only charge an attorney fee if they win your case. In other words, if you do not win your benefits, then you do not pay an attorney fee. This means that your attorney has worked for up to two years on your case for free. So, if you don’t get benefits, then your attorney doesn’t get paid. Obviously, your attorney has a good reason to win your case. Because the attorney fee is only paid when you win your benefits. Learn more here about attorney fees.
IS IT WORTH THE ATTORNEY FEE TO HIRE AN SSD LAWYER?
It isn’t easy to get Social Security benefits and the application process can be frustrating for most people. But, having an attorney throughout this appeal process can relieve stress. It is our belief that when you have a law firm with experience handling your Social Security case, the SSA makes sure that they follow their own procedures.
Additionally, when you have an attorney with legal experience, they will have access to Social Security’s decisions throughout the process. They can also submit medical evidence that may be missing from your case.
There is evidence that hiring an attorney with the proper experience raises your chances of winning your SSDI and SSI benefits by 30%. It is also smart to hire an attorney to help you at your hearing. After all, you are the star witness at your hearing. If you hire an attorney with experience, they can prepare you to be a good witness at your hearing. Learn more about how to prepare for your hearing here.
WHAT WILL IT COST YOU IF YOU DON’T HIRE THE RIGHT LAWYER?
What will it cost you if you don’t hire a lawyer with the legal experience to win your case? If you win your benefits, you will be paid monthly benefits for the rest of your life. For example, if you win benefits at 50 years old, then you will be paid monthly for the next 17 years. You may also win two of years of past due benefits. That means 19 years of payments to the average 50 year old.
Nineteen years is is 228 months. At $1200 a month (which is a lower than average benefit amount), that is $273,600. Additionally, you will win a higher retirement benefit after the age of 67. Let’s say the average higher retirement benefit is $300 a month and you live to be 90 years old. That is another $82,800.
It costs 25% of your back benefit OR $7200 from your back benefit to pay your attorney. You pay whatever is less and only if you win. Let’s pretend you pay the maximum fee of $7200. If you win your case, then your attorney has just won you $356,400, plus early Medicare benefits. You attorney will be paid $7200 and you will be paid $349,200.
All attorneys charge the same amount. So, you can go it alone and not hire an attorney, but chances are you will lose $356,400. Or, you can hire an attorney with no experience and still pay $7200. Finally, you can hire an attorney with over 30 years of experience and still pay $7200 and win $349,200. The choice is yours. But, we hope you can see that the cost of a lawyer with 30 years of experience is “worth it.”
HIRE US FOR OUR YEARS OF LEGAL EXPERIENCE
The SSA benefits application and appeal process can be long and complex. Hire Cannon Disability Law to give you legal advice and walk you through the application process. In the past 30 years, we have won millions of dollars in ongoing and past due due benefits for our clients.
If you want to win SSDI and SSI benefits, then hire an attorney with the legal experience to win your case. You only pay us an attorney fee when you win benefits. If you don’t win, you don’t pay an attorney fee. Look at the signs that you will win your case, but also hire an attorney to increase your chances of winning benefits. For help, contact us today.
If you want to learn more about our lawyers and staff, then read our About Us page. For example, you can learn about Andria Summers, who has 21 experience working at Cannon Disability Law. She can also help you with your Medicare advantage plan. She has also won thousands of SSDI and SSI cases.
Additionally, Dianna Cannon has been helping her clients win benefits for over thirty years. Ms. Cannon has years of Federal Court experience. She has also taught law school and written a book on SSDI benefits. Brett Bunkall also has years of legal experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSD benefits. We are Social Security law experts. You can trust us to help you win your benefits. We will do everything we can to make the difficult process of winning benefits as easy as possible for you.