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Social Security Disability – What You Need to Know: Legal Brief Interview Featuring Virginia Disability Attorney Brian Gillette

When you’re disabled, the world can feel like a pretty unfriendly place. Whether you’ve suffered an injury or been diagnosed with an illness, on top of feeling pretty awful, you can wind up feeling pretty isolated. Though once upon a time you might have cursed your early morning alarm, nowadays you’d feel pretty grateful for the physical ability to work and provide for yourself and your family.

With mounting medical bills, more and more effort needed just to receive the basic level of daily care you need, and the assorted needs of the rest of your family, it is pretty scary to be disabled. Social Security benefits are in place to help people just like you, but that’s not to say that it’s easy to get those benefits established.

If you’re finally at the point where you feel like it’s time to apply for Social Security benefits, you’re not alone. Millions of people all across the country apply for Social Security benefits – and many get denied, one, two, and even more times. Some people think that it’s fairly simple; you’re disabled, you prove it, you get benefits.

The truth is that it’s not that easy. Lots of deserving people make some pretty common mistakes and wind up getting denied for benefits. They waste time and energy at a pretty critical point—when their medical bills and the needs of their family are mounting—and they often only come and ask for help after they’re feeling completely overwhelmed and hopeless. That’s not the way it should be!

There are benefits out there for disabled people, but you have to overcome a series of obstacles to get them established. You know what they say—if you’re going to walk through a minefield, follow someone who has been through it before! You don’t have to re-create the wheel; you just have to find a good source of Social Security disability information to help make sure that you don’t waste a single opportunity when it comes time to apply for the benefits you need and deserve.

I’m disabled and I’m looking to apply for Social Security benefits, but I’m not sure where to start! What should I do first?

Your first step should always be to gather information! You’re asking the right questions, and you’re in the right place, so you’re already ahead of the game.

I’m Brian Gillette, and I practice Social Security disability law. I’ve built my practice on providing people like you with the information they need to get their Social Security disability questions answered. Regardless of whether you choose to hire an attorney or go at it alone, I want to make sure that you have access to up to date information specific to disability law so you can make the best choices possible about your claim.

Recently, I was interviewed on a local radio show, the Legal Brief, and I answered some of the most common questions that I get regarding Social Security disability cases. I think you’d definitely benefit from giving it a quick listen; it’ll help answer some of your questions, and give you some guidance for how to begin to move forward.

Just fill out this form to be redirected to the page that includes the full audio recording of the interview—I think it’ll really help!


What kinds of topics are covered in your Social Security disability interview?

I tried to hit on some of the most important topics associated with Social Security disability cases. In the interview, I discuss:

  • The difference between disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental security income benefits (SSI);
  • How the claims process works (like what happens if/when your claim is initially denied);
  • What happens in the appeals process (and your likelihood of success at each stage of the process);
  • How it works when you hire an attorney to represent you (and how much it costs);
  • How much you might be entitled to receive from Social Security disability;
  • How long the entire process might take, from start to finish;
  • Whether you can receive Social Security disability and also receive benefits under Medicare or Medicaid; and more!

It’s a LOT! It was definitely a whirlwind of an interview, but we hit all the most important points, which is why I think it’s such a great starting point for someone who is considering pursuing Social Security disability benefits. I know it’s a difficult and emotional process, especially when you find that you’re denied for benefits over and over again, but two things are key in a Social Security disability case: persistence, and knowledge of the process!

Why can’t I just go ahead and apply for disability benefits? It sounds like a pretty long process, so I may as well start now. I’m sure I’ll be fine; I’m really disabled!

Well, yes—it is best to start early, because the application process can take some time. By waiting too long to apply you can also miss out on benefits and make your claim harder to prove. (More on that in the interview, too.) But you’ll want to make sure that your application for benefits is as strong as possible. Wasting time with the wrong application, or submitting a poorly supported claim is counterproductive. You’ll want to gather as much information and supporting evidence as you can now, so that your claim is taken more seriously, processed more quickly, and, ultimately, winds up getting you access to much-needed benefits that much sooner. Time is definitely of the essence in these cases.

Start now, not by listening to the interview! Use this time to gather the information you’ll need to make sure that you are well informed and your claim is strong.

I have seen plenty of people with solid, documentable disabilities get denied. In these types of cases, persistence and planning really pay off. But many people don’t file an appeal in the right amount of time, and wind up all the way back at square one!

Fill out this form, listen to my interview, and learn as much as you can BEFORE you apply for disability benefits.



But I’m REALLY disabled! Can’t I just get a hearing quickly?

In some extreme and specific cases (i.e., terminal illness, homelessness), an expedited hearing is possible—but that’s the rare exception! Usually, it’s a long, drawn out process even if you’re disabled and deserving. It’s not so much that it’s hard, but that there are a number of procedural hoops you have to jump through first, and you have to play your hand perfectly. If you’ve done one of any number of things wrong, you may find that your claim is denied. In order to keep it moving along in spite of an earlier denial, you’ll have to have some familiarity with the process.

Know your rights. Know your options. Know the places where mistakes tend to happen, and definitely know how to avoid them (or fix them if you’ve already made them earlier in the process). Remember that you’ve got a limited number of opportunities to have your claim granted.

My request for Social Security disability was already denied. Is it too late for me to listen to the interview?

No! Better late than never, that’s for sure! If you’re planning on re-applying for benefits, or if you’re ready to appeal a recent denial, you’ll definitely want to listen to the interview. It can help you figure out where you might have gone wrong so that you can begin to correct your mistakes now, before you re-apply and make the same ones all over again.

Many, many people get denied on their first attempt, so if you were denied, don’t feel badly. Just take the time now to make your appeal or re-application as strong as possible. Visit your physicians, follow their instructions, have a serious discussion with them about your plan of care moving forward—and, of course, listen to the interview! It’s not too late, and you don’t want to waste your opportunity.

Don’t give up without giving it your best effort. You owe it to yourself and your family to seek out all the benefits available to you. Life is harder when you’re disabled, and you’ll need a little extra help making sure that both your needs and those of your family are met. Though it may seem like filing for benefits is an easy thing, when it comes to Social Security disability, it’s really anything but. A successful claim takes careful planning and preparation, and it’s definitely best to make your claim when you’ve got all your ducks in a row, so that you have the greatest chance of success from the earliest possible point.

Learn what everyone ought to know about Social Security disability! Listen to my Legal Brief Interview today, BEFORE it’s too late!

The best first step you can take is to listen to the interview! It’s short, but packed full of up to date, disability specific information you’ll need to know, with or without an attorney, to be successful. Fill out this form now to listen tot he interview, or to schedule an appointment with our office (it’s free!) give us a call at 1 (855) 873-2604.

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