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SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY AND UNEMPLOYEMENT BENEFITS IN UTAH

In a series of unfortunate cases in which the attorneys did not understand the Social Security law on “inability to work,” the Utah courts have ruled that claiming Social Security Disability Benefits and unemployment benefits are inconsistent. The ruling is based on the assertion in an application for unemployment benefits that a person can work, and the assertion in a Disability Benefits application that a person cannot work. Receiving both can result in the State of Utah claiming back the unemployment benefits.

HOW DO I FILE A SOCIAL SECURITY CLAIM?

There are three ways:

  1. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.  This entails a long wait, and often a call back from the agency. They will make an appointment for you to complete the application on the phone, or to complete the application at a Social Security office. 
  2. Go into a Social Security office “near” you. There may not be one near you.  It is also best to have an appointment.
  3. File online at https://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/. Before you start, have a list of all your medical providers, with address, phone, and years seen.  This will make the process much easier. 

APPEALING A DENIAL ON YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY OR SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME CLAIM

First, do not panic. Social Security wrongfully denies a high percentage of the cases. The people who make these decisions have no medical knowledge and have are just trying to move the cases. In our practice, we have some 70% of their decisions reversed.

DO NOT WAIT. It is easy to put the denial letter on the coffee table or on the kitchen table, and then just try to get through the day. The process can be overwhelming. However, you only have a limited time to appeal. You should be on the phone first thing to a Social Security attorney to get help in appealing your case.

Compassionate Allowances

Sometimes, you really don’t need an attorney for Social Security Benefits. The Social Security Compassionate Allowances program is a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children.  You can find the list here: https://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm

How Do I Choose A Lawyer?

The choice of an attorney to represent you on one of the most important events in your life can be scary. Many of us don’t know what factors to consider in making the decision. Here are some suggestions.

WHY SHOULD I HIRE AN ATTORNEY?

Is it possible to obtain Social Security/SSI benefits without an attorney? Yes, it certainly is. However, this is perhaps the most important financial decision a person will make in their life. For benefits that could total hundreds of thousands of dollars over a life time, it is prudent to obtain the help a trained, experienced Social Security attorney.

COMPASSIONATE ALLOWANCES

Sometimes, you really don’t need an attorney for Social Security and SSI benefits. Social Security has a specific program called “compassionate allowances.” They identify certain diseases and medical conditions which may be automatically approved. Generally, these are certain types of cancer, brain disorders, and rare disorders affecting children. The disorders on the list are updated. The public can even submit impairments to be considered.

For a current list, see . https://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm

CONTINUING DISABILITY REVIEW

Social Security will periodically review your case to determine if you continued to be disabled. This is called a continuing disability review (CDR). This will typically occur at least once every three years.

It is important that you respond to the letters they send. Many cases are denied during the review simply because the forms have not been returned. You must ensure you advise Social Security of all providers you have seen since you were granted benefits, or since your last review.