Applying for St. Cloud Social Security Disability Benefits
If you live and work in the St. Cloud, Minnesota area and you count on the fact that Social Security Disability benefits will be there for you if you should ever need them, you might want to think twice. The fact of the matter is that between 60 and 70 percent of initial disability claims are denied each year by the Social Security Administration.
These applicants must then fight for the benefits they are rightfully entitled through the strenuous process of a disability appeal. While it is possible to win such a fight, your chances of coming out on top are greatly increased with proper legal representation.
St. Cloud is the county seat of Stearns County in the State of Minnesota. The St. Cloud metropolitan area is the third-largest in the state. The city seems to be doing surprisingly well considering the recent economic crisis in the United States. While the national unemployment rate was at an average of 9.10 percent, St. Cloud’s unemployment rate was at 7.10 and dropping. The median household income for the city is approximately $36,000 while the cost of living index is less than two percent higher than the national average.
There are approximately 3.3 million individuals who live in the State of Minnesota. It is estimated that approximately 113,000 of these Minnesota residents currently receive Social Security Disability benefits. St. Cloud is home to approximately 67,000 of Minnesota’s residents.
If an individual wishes to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits in the St. Cloud area, he or she must suffer from a long-term disability that is expected to last for 12 months or longer and the disability must prevent the individual from performing any type of gainful work activity whatsoever. The challenge is proving the extent of an applicant’s disability to the Social Security Administration when trying to obtain Social Security Disability benefits.
For individuals who live in St. Cloud, it takes an average of approximately two years to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits. While the initial application process only takes three to six months to complete, only about 30 to 40 percent of applicants are approved during the initial application process. The remaining 60 to 70 percent of applicants must endure a disability appeal in order to obtain the benefits they need.
This usually means waiting for a hearing before an administrative law judge. For St. Cloud disability applicants, the office in charge of scheduling these hearings is the Minneapolis ODAR Office. It takes this office an average of 534 days just to schedule a disability hearing.
It then takes another two to three months for an applicant to be notified regarding the status of the hearing outcome. Once approved, your monthly benefit amount will be based upon your past relevant work experience.
Hiring a St. Cloud Disability Attorney
Unless you want to wait two to three years to begin receiving Social Security Disability benefits, you should consult with a St. Cloud Social Security Disability attorney prior to filing your initial Social Security Disability claim. By working with a St. Cloud Social Security Disability lawyer, you can ensure that your claim forms are filled out and submitted properly and that you have provided the SSA with the medical evidence that they will need in order to approve your claim for disability benefits.
If your application for benefits is denied, it is crucial that you work with a St. Cloud Social Security attorney during the appeal process. Statistics have shown that applicants who work with an attorney are more likely to win an appeal than applicants who choose to represent themselves. A St. Cloud Social Security lawyer will help you gather the evidence necessary to prove your case to the administrative law judge who will be overseeing your hearing and will prepare you for your hearing on a personal level.
Fortunately, it does not have to be expensive to retain legal representation. St. Cloud Social Security attorneys work on a contingency basis, collecting only 25 percent of the back pay that you are awarded by the Social Security Administration up to a limit of $6,000. If you do not win your Social Security Disability case, your St. Cloud disability attorney does not collect a fee. Not only does this make hiring a lawyer affordable and easy, it also ensures that the lawyer has a personal interest in winning your case.