The process of receiving benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be extremely frustrating. Not only do you have your impairment to worry about, but odds are your first claim for SSDI will be rejected. After all, 3 out of every 4 people are rejected on their first attempt to receive benefits. You do, however, have the right to appeal the federal government’s decision if you are denied SSDI. Before you start to worry about the cost of getting help for this process, be aware that there may be free help at your disposal.
City or county social services office
While an internet search may be faster, your local social services office may have the best information about organizations in your area that provide services to people who are suffering from disabilities.
Pro bono legal help
Websites like www.probono.net and www.legal-aid.org are tremendous resources for finding free or low-cost legal help specific to your region. Since many law offices that donate a percentage of their time to providing free legal help also are trained in navigating the SSDI process, you may be able to get some expert advice for the cost of a trip to the office building.
Another great way to learn about assistance that may be available to you is to search through the 211 health and human services referral information by simply dialing 211 on your phone or visiting www.211.org. While not all parts of the country have their local resources listed through 211, if your area does participate, you may be able to very quickly identify organizations that can help you through the SSDI process.
If you’re worried about cost of hiring a disability attorney, it’s also important to keep in mind that there are laws that regulate what can be charged in these situations. Generally you will pay very little – if any – money up-front to have your case reviewed and the total fee is normally the lesser of 25% of your disability back pay or $6,000. These fees are usually only paid if you win your appeal. Make sure you understand the fee structure – and have it in writing – before agreeing to receive counsel.
As with many issues, it’s wise to find out what low-cost help might be available to you before you spend any money. Even if you don’t qualify for free help, in the area of SSDI claims your costs are kept relatively low by federal laws. In other words, if you are dealing with a disability, you normally won’t have to worry too much about the cost of getting SSDI help.