Experienced Injury Lawyers Serving Wisconsin
Social Security Disability And Supplemental Security Income

Wisconsin Social Security Disability Attorneys

Social Security Disability Insurance & Supplemental Security Income

Social Security disability, or SSD, is a federal program intended to provide financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to a disability or impairment. There are two distinct SSD programs available to eligible individuals: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Your ability to recover benefits through either program depends on various factors, including your work history or lack thereof, the nature of your disability, your income, your resources, and more.

If you need help filing for SSDI or SSI, if your claim has been denied and you wish to appeal, or you are having trouble obtaining your rightful benefits, call the team at Lawton & Cates. Since 1958, our Social Security disability attorneys in Madison and Jefferson have provided professional legal services to clients throughout the state of Wisconsin. Our team has extensive experience and an in-depth understanding of the SSD process, and we proudly offer highly individualized and attentive service to our clients.

For help with your Social Security disability matter, please call (608) 420-4033 or contact us online. We offer free consultations.

What Is Social Security Disability & Who Qualifies for Benefits?

As previously mentioned, there are two separate SSD programs:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI is available to individuals who are disabled and have a past history of employment that qualifies them for benefits.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI benefits provide financial assistance to elderly and disabled individuals with limited income and resources, regardless or work history.

To qualify for SSDI, you must have earned sufficient “work credits.” Work credits are based on your past employment; for every year of work, you earn a certain amount of work credits based on your taxable income. Note that you must have paid Social Security taxes to earn work credits and, therefore, be eligible for SSDI benefits. In addition to having the appropriate work credits, you must have a qualifying disability to receive SSDI.

In contrast, you do not need to have any work history to qualify for SSI. Instead, these benefits are provided to individuals who are either 65 or older, blind, or disabled and who have limited or no income and/or resources. To be eligible, your total income and resources must fall below a specified income threshold.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability

Applying for Social Security disability can be a complex process. There are several steps you must follow, and you must make sure that you do not make any mistakes, as this could jeopardize your ability to obtain benefits.

To apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you should:

When applying for SSDI, you may be required to show proof of birth (e.g., your birth certificate), proof of citizenship or lawful alien status, W-2 forms, self-employment tax forms, medical records, proof of disability, workers’ compensation documents (if applicable), and proof of military service/discharge if you served prior to 1968.

To apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you should:

  • Check the SSI eligibility requirements and ensure you are qualified
  • Gather necessary paperwork and documents
  • Determine if you are able to apply online for SSI benefits
  • If you are not able to apply online, make an appointment with the local Social Security office to apply in person by calling (800) 772-1213 or TTY (800) 325-0778 for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • You may be required to show various documents when applying for SSI, including your birth certificate or another public or religious birth record, your U.S. passport or naturalization certificate, current immigration documents, payroll stubs (if available), bank statements, vehicle titles or registrations, medical records, and more.

    Our Wisconsin SSD attorneys at Lawton & Cates can help you prepare to file for SSDI or SSI benefits. Proper preparation is key when it comes to avoiding mistakes on your application.

What to Do If Your SSD Claim Is Denied

Unfortunately, most first-time SSD applicants are denied benefits. The good news is that you have the right to appeal a denied SSDI or SSI claim. In fact, it is better to appeal a denied claim than to restart the process, as more denied claims are ultimately approved after being appealed than new claims are approved.

Appealing a denied Social Security disability claim is a complicated process; we strongly recommend that you work with an experienced attorney, like those at Lawton & Cates. People who work with attorneys are far more likely to have their denied claims reversed and to receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Our Wisconsin SSD appeals attorneys can help you navigate this process and will work to recover the fair benefits you are owed.

Below, we have provided a brief overview of the Social Security disability appeals process:

  • Step One: Request a Reconsideration: The first step in the SSD appeals process is requesting a reconsideration by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Once you have submitted your request, a third party not originally involved in your case will review all of the evidence you submitted and look at new evidence (if available) and decide on your case.
  • Step Two: Request a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge: If your claim is denied again after the reconsideration, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The hearing is not a trial, but it does operate in much the same way. You can request to have the hearing in person or via video conferencing.
  • Step Three: Request a Review by the Appeals Council: If you do not agree with the ALJ’s decision, you may request a review by the SSA’s Appeals Council. The Appeals Council may deny your request if it determines the ALJ acted in accordance with Social Security laws, or it may return your case to the ALJ. The Appeals Council can also decide on your case itself.
  • Step Four: Appeal Your Case in Federal Court: Your last course of action if you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision is to request a review by the federal court. Federal courts only review Social Security disability claims cases in rare circumstances; we encourage you to contact a member of our team to learn more.
  • Our Social Security disability attorneys at Lawton & Cates have extensive experience navigating the SSD appeals process. We have helped clients successfully achieve reversals of claim denials and are prepared to walk you through your options.

How Lawton & Cates Can Help

Our firm helps clients at all stages of the Social Security disability process, from initial filings to attending appeal hearings before administrative law judges and the Appeals Council. When you put our team on your side, you put yourself in the best possible position when it comes to successfully navigating the SSD system.

Our SSD attorneys in Wisconsin, including Madison and Jefferson, can help you with the following and more:

  • Determining whether Social Security Disability Insurance and SSI are options for you
  • Applying the statutes and administrative rules involved in Social Security claims
  • Understanding concepts like “date last insured,” “Medical-Vocational Guidelines,” and “the Listings”
  • Gathering evidence, including medical records, records from your employer, and opinions from your physicians
  • Understanding how SSDI and SSI interact with each other and other benefits you might receive, like Long Term-Disability Insurance, Income Continuation, or workers’ compensation benefits
  • Presenting your case at all levels of appeal
It's Not Just a Case, It's Your Life.

We are here to guide you through the process of obtaining SSDI or SSI benefits and are happy to answer any questions you may have. To request a free initial consultation, please call (608) 420-4033 or contact us online using our simple and secure submission form.

Client Testimonials

    Lawton & Cates has been the most supportive and helpful!

    - Rachel

    Everyone was so very kind to me... We were all made to feel welcome, made to feel supported, and made to feel like we belong there. That was very important to me since I was pretty stressed out a lot of the time.

    - Susie

    We had a very positive experience with Lawton and Cates in Madison, Wisconsin.

    - Scott

    Lawton & Cates is one of the best and very well-known law firms in Madison, Wisconsin. They deal in all legal aspects of personal injury and accidents.

    - Aston

    Very informative and helpful and quick to respond. I would recommend them to anybody needing advice on disability or SSI.

    - Oliver

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