Are you or a loved one applying for Social Security for the first time?
Or was your disability claim denied?
If you or a loved one can no longer work for at least a year due to a medical condition or disability, then you may be entitled to receive disability benefits under Social Security. These benefits are available to all Montana citizens, but it takes expert legal guidance to ensure that you meet the qualifications and cut through the bureaucratic red tape.
Get the help you need to receive your maximum Social Security disability benefits. Murphy Law Firm attorneys Charla Tadlock, Matthew J. Murphy, and Tom Murphy are experienced Social Security attorneys in Great Falls, MT. Our knowledgeable and compassionate team offers Social Security disability assistance as well as injured client representation in Montana.
Why hire Murphy Law Firm?
- We put our clients first
- We ONLY represent the injured
- Compassionate, aggressive and personal legal representation
- Licensed attorneys with extensive legal knowledge
- 75+ years of combined experience
- We’ve recovered millions of dollars in settlements for our clients
- Contingency fee (you don’t pay unless we win)
- Free consultation
Attorney Thomas J. Murphy
Founder of Murphy Law Firm
Montana’s legal system is complex and difficult to navigate. From the start, we’ll work hard to prove the facts of your case. We’ll thoroughly investigate the accident to prove liability, and to calculate your present and future damages. Let our family help yours by fighting for the compensation you deserve.
Murphy Law Firm has successfully represented thousands of Montanans, including complex Social Security disability claims.
What is Social Security Disability?
Social Security is a federal program that most people believe only provides retirement benefits. Actually, there is a complex disability component to the program. Whether you are filing for the first time or have had your claim denied, we are on your side.
Types of Social Security Benefits
Social Security Disability (SSD)
SSD (or SSDI) is part of the federal Social Security program that provides monthly disability payments. This program is available to workers who have not reached full retirement age, but are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA).
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI is also part of the Social Security program. However, the Supplemental Security Income program is income-based, meaning it only pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources.
SSD and SSI Qualifications & Eligibility
To qualify for Social Security benefits (SSD or SSI), you first must prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you are disabled under the SSA rules. Non-disability qualifications also apply. The application and decision process is complex. Our firm recommends hiring a Great Falls Social Security attorney for these cases.
Social Security Denials
Although approximately 75 percent of disability applications are initially denied, the majority of these claims are eventually approved. Most claims are approved through a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
We do not recommend that you attend a hearing without experienced representation by your side. Having an experienced Great Falls disability lawyer on your side greatly increases the chances of your claim being approved.
Social Security Disability FAQ
What conditions automatically qualify you for SSDI?
Applying for Social Security disability benefits isn’t an easy process and claims are commonly denied. However, there are some medical conditions and injuries that qualify for expedited approval by the SSA. Proof of a confirmed diagnosis of one of the conditions found on the Compassionate Allowances List may make you automatically eligible for disability benefits.
The full list is quite extensive, but here are a few of the most common conditions:
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Huntington Disease
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Parkinsonism Dementia Complex
- Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
- Endomyocardial Fibrosis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Atrophy
In addition, many types of cancers are included on the Compassionate Allowances List—including leukemia (blood cancer), bladder cancer, breast cancer, gallbladder cancer, head and neck cancers, large and small intestine cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, brain cancer, bone cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, thyroid cancer and others.
What is the difference between SSD and SSI?
Both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal disability programs run by the SSA to provide financial support for disabled individuals. The main distinction between these 2 programs is the financial eligibility requirements.
SSD benefits are available to disabled workers who have accumulated enough work credits to qualify. You earn work credits based on how much you earn and how long you work. This ensures that only those who have paid into Social Security are able to receive the benefits of SSD. The older you are, the more work credits you need to be eligible for benefits.
SSI benefits, on the other hand, is a need-based (or “means-tested”) program that has nothing to do with your work history, but rather your financial need. In order to qualify for SSI, you must meet the SSI income requirements.
What is the average monthly Social Security disability payment?
On average, the monthly SSDI payment in October 2020 was $1,438.04, and it ranged from $800 to $1,800. (source)
However, it’s important to note that disability benefits can vary greatly depending on the average lifetime earnings of the applicant prior to the disability. The final monthly payment can also fluctuate depending on your application and whether you are receiving additional forms of compensation such as SSI or workers’ compensation, which is why it’s important to seek help from a professional disability attorney.
Do you pay taxes on disability checks?
Generally, no. In most cases, SSD and SSI payments are not taxable income. There are only a couple of exceptions when disability benefits may be taxed:
- Supplemental income limits. If you or your spouse receive SSD benefits in addition to another source of income, then your disability benefits may be partially taxed. If you earn between $25,000 and $34,000 as an individual (or a combined income of over $32,000 if married), then 50 percent of your SSD benefits will be taxed. If you earn over $34,000 as an individual (or $44,000 as a couple), then up to 85 percent of your disability benefits could be taxed.
- Lump sum back payments or death benefits. If you receive “back payments” in a lump sum for a period during which you were disabled but not receiving Social Security benefits, or a one-time death payment as the survivor of a worker receiving SSD benefits who has passed away, then these payments may be taxed for that year.
How do I make sure I get approved for disability?
It’s true that a majority of Social Security disability claims are denied at first. Many of these denials are because the applicant doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria or due to a simple administrative error. By consulting with an experienced disability lawyer near you, you can greatly improve the odds that your claim will be approved.
In addition, here are 5 tips to increase your chances of getting Social Security disability:
- Make sure that your application is complete and well-documented
- Request and gather all of your medical records and paperwork
- Start a journal to document and date all interactions with healthcare providers
- Maintain a good relationship with your doctor and follow their treatment recommendations
- Closely monitor the status of your claim and stay in touch with your claims representative
Why Hire a Montana Disability Attorney?
Winning your case provides you with peace of mind in terms of financial support and medical care. Given the importance of these benefits, we strongly advise you hire a Social Security attorney to guide you through the disability process. We will fight for you!
If you need help and advice securing your benefits, seek effective legal help as soon as possible.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for helping me on my case. Matt I want to thank you the most for all of your incredible hard work. Thanks again.”