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COVID & DISABILITY BENEFITS

Over 1 million people have died of Covid-19 in the United States. Worldwide, that figure is currently over 6 million deaths. The impact on everyone cannot be overstated. In addition to losing lives, good health, and jobs, people had trouble managing stress.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has a disproportionately higher effect on the disability community. Individuals with disabilities are often immunocompromised. They are more vulnerable to this virus. Additionally, Covid-19 has impacted the SSA and how they conduct business.

For the past two years, SSA hearings have been held over the phone. While most claimants have been grateful for the opportunity to be heard, the judges were not able to see the claimants. Even when video hearings were held, the equipment often failed. This still made it difficult for the claimant to be seen. It is now possible that SSA may continue to limit in person hearings.

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HOW COVID IMPACTED DISABILITY BENEFITS

In some cases, phone hearing created problems. For example, if you had tremors, the judge could not see them. Judges were also not able to assess other disabling impairments in person. Likewise, many people found it difficult to not see the judge. Equipment failures are common. However, the SSA did their best to continue hearings and process claims.

As work and schools closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Congress tried to relieve the financial burden of lockdown. This relief came in the form of a stimulus check.

Before the pandemic, applications for disability benefits already had a backlog. Now, there is a bigger backlog. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offices had to close to slow the spread of COVID-19. Offices are starting to reopen over the next three months. But, they are still not up to speed.

DO NOT FAIL TO APPLY FOR BENEFITS DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC

Applying online is the simplest way to apply for benefits. Apply on the Social Security website. It is what we recommend that you do during the Covid pandemic. Even if you do not have all of the information that you need to apply at you fingertips. You can still start the application online.

If you know your address, Social Security number, birthdate, and other general information, you can start your application. Approximately three pages into the application, even if you don’t know more information, the SSA will give you a re-entry number.

This number allows you to come back into the application at a later time. Therefore, you can finish the rest of the application when you have all of the information you need. For example, it gives you time to collect your doctors’ addresses.

Why should you start the application if you don’t have everything you need? Because every day you wait to begin your application is a day you lose money. You are only entitled to benefits based upon the day that you apply for them.

COVID AND APPLICATION DELAYS

The coronavirus makes the SSA application process slower. You can still apply for benefits online at the Social Security website. However, Though the application process is slower, it has not stopped.  Do not wait until after the Social Security Administration offices open to apply for benefits. Go online and apply. Your benefits are tied to your application date.

During the height of the pandemic, the SSA extended deadlines. They sent out letters extending deadlines for requests for information and evidence. The SSA did take adverse action if claimants did not respond to their request or provide evidence.

They also did not make a decision in many cases, because they did have all of the medical evidence. Likewise, cases were slowed down because workers were not available. Also, consultative examinations, which are done in person, were cancelled or postponed.

WHAT IS A FREE CONSULTATION?

Prior to Covid and during the pandemic, Cannon Disability offered a free consultation. But, what does this mean?

For most people who want to become clients, it means we will talk to you about your case over the phone. We will not charge you to examine the merits of your case, including questions about unemployment benefits. Most lawyers do charge an attorney fee to review your case. We do not.

Please understand, however, that providing a free consultation is not the same thing as accepting representation. We examine the merits of your case based upon the facts you give us.

Sometimes, we will request that you send us medical records or a copy of your SSA paperwork. We do this so we can understand the details of your case. Even if we ask for more information, it does not mean we accept representation or that we are your attorney.

You will know if you hire our legal team because we will send you our contract and other SSA paperwork to fill out. Return your paperwork to us as soon as possible. If you need help with this due to Covid, contact us.

If you do not sign and send the paperwork back, then we are not representing you. We will send you a pre-paid envelope to send the paperwork back to us. Or, we will accept electronically signed paperwork.

CANNON DISABILITY LAW WORKS ON A CONTINGENCY FEE BASIS

If you are seeking Social Security Disability benefits during Covid, you should hire an attorney. An attorney can help you apply for disability benefits. Studies show that you are three times more likely to win benefits if you hire an attorney.

In order to hire Cannon Disability, all you need to do is call or contact us. We offer a free consultation over the phone. And, it doesn’t cost anything to call us.

Better yet, it also doesn’t cost you any upfront money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This is a contingency fee. It means if we win your SSD case, you pay the attorney fee out of your back benefits. If you do not win, there is no attorney fee to pay.

The attorney fee has a cap or a limit. The SSA sets the limit of the attorney fee at 25% of the back benefit or the attorney fee cap, whatever is less.

WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF YOUR CLAIM?

The costs of a disability claim did not change during Covid. If there are costs in your case, then you pay those. But typically those costs are less than $100. Once we win your case, the attorney fee comes from your back benefit.

But, to hire most lawyers, you have to pay money upfront. We don’t work like that. You don’t have a job. So, the only way to pay us, is for us to win your case. That is our goal. We will also try to win your past due disability benefits. Likewise, if you have a prior application to reopen, we will do that too. Call today. See what we can do for you.

Additionally, we represent clients in many states. For example, we have clients in Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Colorado and California. Find out more about Nevada disability benefits here.

Learn more about Utah disability benefits here. We have information about California disability benefits here. No matter where you live, we will answer your questions about Covid and your disability case. We want to be your disability legal team. If you have questions about  benefits, give us a call today.

CANNON DISABILITY’S REPRESENTATIVES

If you want to learn more about the representatives at Cannon Disability Law, then read our About Us page. There you will find more information about our representatives. For example, Andria Summers can help you with your Medicare plan. Likewise, she has also won thousands of disability cases.

Dianna Cannon has many years of experience representing disability claimants. She has been an attorney for thirty years. Brett Bunkall also has significant experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSD benefits. We are experts. You can trust us to help you receive disability benefits.

We did not shut our offices down during Covid. We did work from home, but we kept doing hearings over the phone. Additionally, we helped our clients apply and continued to appeal cases.

WIN DISABILITY BENEFITS DESPITE COVID

In the past 30 years, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI cases for our clients. Also, we help our clients optimize their benefits. For example, it is our goal to win your ongoing monthly disability benefits. However, it is also our goal to win any past due disability benefits you should receive.

There are many people who have long-haul Covid. Researchers think that 10% to 30% of patients who had COVID infections might suffer from long haul COVID. This is also known as “post-COVID syndrome.” Long-haulers report shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness on standing, and neurocognitive impairments (brain fog). Social Security requires you must be unable to work for 12 months in order to receive benefits.

Some claimants have been awarded Social Security disability benefits based on Covid-19 symptoms. But the majority of those awards have been for people with complications from being put on ventilators. Most of the time, SSA grants claims for other conditions.

We have all lost people we know and love during the Covid-19 pandemic. The impact of the virus is going to last for a long time to come. It isn’t over yet, but people are returning to their normal schedules. More people are receiving vaccinations.

Likewise, many have had Covid and recovered. Hopefully, the delay in cases will end and the SSA can return to processing and hearing cases in person. If you need during Covid, contact us today.

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