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What is SSDI?
SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance and is a federal insurance program run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The program exists to protect workers who become disabled and are unable to work for 12 or more months.
How do I qualify for SSDI?
If you have worked for a long enough period of time and paid Social Security (FICA) taxes then you are eligible for SSDI. The SSDI benefits you can claim are related to the number of years worked and your average salary.
What is the difference between having a licensed attorney or an advocate or representative handle my claim?
A licensed attorney has a legal responsibility to zealously represent you and your claim. An advocate or representative has no such obligation. Furthermore, you have legally binding attorney-client privilege with a licensed attorney who will be handling your sensitive medical records, and no such protection with an "advocate" or "representative". Finally, licensed attorneys are members of state bar associations, not fly-by-night operators who are here today and gone tomorrow.
Why should I use an attorney for my SSDI claim?
Simply put, having a licensed attorney by your side through the SSDI process increases the chance of winning your claim. Analysis of filings from Freedom of Information Act requests placed the win rate for those represented at hearing by an attorney at 72% (vs. 37% for those who represented themselves or had no representation at hearing).
Source: Ortiz Law Firm, Analysis of filings from 2010-2011 Freedom of Information Act requests.