If you’re considering claiming short-term disability benefits, then you might need a lawyer. Short-term disability is structured differently than the long-term classification.
Without the help of a short-term disability attorney, you jeopardize the possibility of securing the benefits, and you might even bring some problems that were previously not an issue.
In this article, we will cover what you need to know before hiring an attorney, as well as some questions you can ask to gauge if they are a good fit for you.
So if you’d like to prepare for the benefits that you deserve, keep reading.
This Will Disqualify You From SDI
In many cases, employees can lose their ability to receive SDI benefits. Benefits will not be provided to somebody who:
As you can see, it can be quite easy to disqualify yourself from SDI, especially if you are not aware of these factors.
SDI Payment Amounts
The bi-weekly payment amount is directly related to how much you earned within the base period. You will get about 70% of the average wage amount that was paid by the employer during the quarter of the base period in which you made the most money.
If you worked several jobs during that period, your average wages would consist of wages from both jobs. However, the maximum amount per week is $1,300. SDI payments cannot be taxed, except for individuals who can’t receive benefits due to the disability.
The website for EDD has a weekly charge of SDI benefit quantities that are based on the money you made in the best quarter of your base working period.
Other Benefits Will Affect Your Benefit
PTO, holiday pay, or the paid sick time you receive while getting SDI will be subtracted, as will any wages from part-time work.
You can ask EDD to implement the SDI with your PTO or sick pay. If they agree, the employer will pay you enough PTO and sick time so that when you combine it with SDI, you will be receiving as much as you would from regular wages.
On the application form, you must select the integrated benefits option for the type of payment you will be receiving from the employer.
Not to mention, you might get PTO and sick time for the first week of disability since SDI only starts to pay out on the eighth day.
Paid vacation benefits do not affect SDI payments. If you are approved for Social Security benefits, the state might subtract your benefits from disability from your final SDI payment.
Questions to Ask Your Short-Term Disability Attorney
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s cover some important questions that you must ask your short-term disability attorney. Without these questions, you jeopardize the authenticity and capability of your lawyer, thus minimizing the likelihood of yourself being accepted for benefits.
Will You Draft an OTR Request?
In scenarios in which there is evidence of disability without a doubt, a short-term disability attorney can draft an OTR request to ask for approval without hearings.
While this is time-consuming and does not apply to all cases, your lawyer should be willing to submit a request if they believe it will be a success.
Do You Have Specialized Training?
The industry of disability law is not generalized. You should avoid hiring a broad attorney to handle your claim.
Most disability lawyers should be members of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives, which pushes them to continued education. They should also be trained in disability law.
Are You Licensed?
Even though Social Security accepts non-lawyer advocates to represent applicants, there are many benefits to being represented by a licensed person.
In particular, attorneys will be more likely to understand the regulations and case law. Non-attorney lawyers often charge the same fees for sub-par services, so it’s up to you.
Do You Arrange Examinations?
Like the OTR request, examinations with a doctor do not apply to each case. They typically cost several hundreds of dollars, and a lawyer who arranges a consultative examination for each client would be broke in a short time frame.
It’s important to know that your lawyer will be willing to arrange the CE if the right circumstances are applicable.
What Expenses Will I Need to Reimburse?
All disability lawyers will require you to reimburse their expenses, including the cost of medical source statements, records requests, travel expenses, postage, etc.
You have to make sure that you understand what expenses you will need to cover, the average that most clients pay, and whether or not you will have to pay if you lose your case.
Your Case, Your Choice
Now that you understand what you need to know before you hire a short-term disability attorney, you are well on your way to begin your search for the right lawyer. In any case, this is your claim, and you are responsible for how successful you will be.
You can always apply without a lawyer, but do you really want to? If you could easily improve your likelihood to win, wouldn’t you do so? Well, that’s up to you to decide.
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