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Need Help With Social Security Disability Benefits?

Social Security Disability Attorney in Oklahoma

Documents on the desk of a McAlester social security disability lawyer.

When you go to work each day, your mind is on the tasks at hand and the career path you’re pursuing. The thought that you may someday be unable to continue working never crosses your mind – until that far-off possibility becomes a difficult reality.

Three in ten Americans will need social security disability after being injured.The Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that three in every 10 working Americans will become too disabled to work before they reach retirement age. For many disabled workers, OK SSD Benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides a vital source of support.

If you’re facing an injury, illness, or mental or physical condition that prevents you from working, don’t wait. The longer you delay filing for social security disability benefits, the more difficulty you could encounter and the longer you will have to wait for benefits you deserve. Instead, contact the experienced and compassionate Oklahoma SSD attorneys at the office of Edwards & Patterson Law in Tulsa and McAlester OK  as soon as possible.

Why You Need to Hire a Tulsa Social Security Disability Lawyer

The stronger your initial application for benefits is, the more likely it is to be granted quickly. Although the Social Security Administration will allow you to file your own claim without a lawyer’s help, working with an experienced lawyer can:

  • icons_easierMake the process easier.
  • icons_strongerBuild a stronger claim on your behalf.
  • icons_errorsAvoid common errors.
  • icons_timeHelp shorten the time between your initial filing and the date your claim is accepted.

If your initial claim is denied, a lawyer can investigate closely to determine why the denial was made and provide the information needed to show that the denial should not have happened.

Experience matters when choosing a disability lawyer. At Edwards & Patterson Law, we’ve helped clients throughout Oklahoma and Arkansas apply for and receive the SSDI and SSI benefits they need to keep their households running and obtain needed medical care so they can live the best life possible. We’re ready to help – and because we work on a contingency basis, you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we secure benefits for you.

SSDI Versus SSI Benefits – How Are They Different?

Workers whose disabilities prevent them from continuing to work may be eligible for two different types of benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

  • SSDI benefits are available to qualifying workers (or certain family members who can qualify based on a parent or spouse’s work record) whose disability will prevent them from working for at least one year or will result in death. The program is funded by Social Security payroll taxes and is not means-tested. There are certain work history requirements for eligibility. In other words, it doesn’t matter how much money and things you have, but you must have worked enough to qualify for SSDI.
  • SSI benefits are available to qualifying individuals, including elderly persons and some individuals with disabilities, if their other income falls below certain federal guidelines. The program is managed by the SSA but funded from the U.S. Treasury and is means-tested. There are no work history requirements for SSI benefits. In other words, it doesn’t matter how much or little you’ve worked, but you can’t have too much money or things to qualify for SSI.

Both benefits programs are run by the Social Security Administration, but they are separate programs. It is possible to qualify for one program but not the other. For instance, if you are disabled and have savings or assets like real estate, you may qualify for SSDI benefits but not for SSI. If you have little work history, you may still qualify for SSI. Some individuals do qualify for both.

How Do I Qualify for SSDI or SSI?

In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, you must:


Have worked recently enough to qualify for benefits. For instance, if you are over age 30, you will need to have worked for five of the previous 10 years, ending with the quarter in which your disability began.


Have worked long enough to qualify for benefits. Workers earn one “credit” for every quarter in which they meet Social Security’s minimum earnings (and pay into Social Security via payroll or self-employment taxes). You must earn sufficient credits, based on age, to qualify.


Be able to qualify based on the work record of a parent, spouse, or former spouse. Children and young adults disabled before age 22, spouses, and former spouses who were married at least 10 years may be able to qualify for benefits based on another family member’s work record, if they cannot qualify based on their own work record.

You must also:

  • Be unable to do your current or former job anymore due to your disability.
  • Be unable to perform any other work you can do with your current disability.
  • Have a disabling medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or to result in death.
Those who receive SSD benefits generally also qualify for Medicare benefits to help pay for medical bills, care, and treatment. Medicare benefits begin two years after you begin receiving SSD benefits.

Social Security disability does not pay benefits for short-term disabilities – those expected to last only a few months. However, your employer or family may have disability insurance that covers these needs. Your attorney can help you determine what other options are available for short-term help.

In order to qualify for SSI benefits, you must:

  • Be at least age 65, blind, or disabled.
  • Have limited income and resources, below the cutoff set by the SSA.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, or a qualifying documented immigrant who lives in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Not be a resident of an institution (like a hospital or prison) that is paid for by the government. Residents of private nursing homes and other skilled care facilities may qualify for SSI benefits.

Because the SSA demands a “recent work test,” it is important to file for disability benefits as soon as you realize that you may be disabled in the long term. During your application process, you will collect and submit information like medical records, pay stubs, and other data to the SSA, which will evaluate it as it decides whether you qualify for benefits. Your attorney can help you build the strongest possible initial claim and keep it updated.

My SSD Claim Was Denied. What Now?

Many SSD and SSI claims are denied when they are first filed. You are allowed to appeal a denial of benefits, and you can have an attorney help you build your case on appeal.


The first step after an initial denial is reconsideration. During reconsideration, your application file for SSDI or SSI benefits is handed to a new reviewer, who looks at the entire file as if for the first time. You can submit new and updated information to support your claim, and you can speak to a Social Security representative if necessary. Your attorney can help you build a strong reconsideration claim.


If your claim is denied after reconsideration, you my request a hearing. The hearing is held before an administrative law judge (ALJ) and generally takes place at an SSA office within 75 miles of your home. You can review your claim, provide new information, and bring witnesses to the hearing if needed. Although you are not required to have a lawyer, an attorney can provide valuable help in gathering information, speaking to potential witnesses, and making the most compelling arguments on your behalf to the ALJ.


If the ALJ chooses to deny your claim after the hearing, you may request a review of your file by the Appeals Council. Unlike the previous stages, you will not generally be asked to submit new information at this stage. Instead, the Appeals Council looks for mistakes that may have been made in reconsideration or the hearing that led to the denial of your claim.

Finally, if the Appeals Council continues to say that your claim is denied, you may bring your claim to the federal courts for review.

When Should I Call a Social Security Disability Attorney in Tulsa OK

The sooner you get started with the application process, the sooner you may be able to receive benefits. The Social Security system moves slowly, and there is usually a long backlog of cases. Our attorneys can help you get started with your claim now so you can begin getting the benefits you deserve as soon as possible.

If you have already filed a claim that was initially denied, don’t give up. Get help from Edwards & Patterson Law today. Many valid claims are denied at first, but are later approved during the reconsideration and appeals process. However, the appeals process has many important deadlines. Getting help from a lawyer as soon as possible can help ensure that deadlines are met and your appeal can move forward as quickly as possible.

At Edwards & Patterson Law, we are ready to get started on your claim whenever you are. Our lawyers are knowledgeable and easy to talk to. We want to hear about your situation and discuss how we can help you get the benefits you need and deserve. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

Learn how to file social security disability claims in Oklahoma with a McAlester social security lawyer

A woman in McAlester contacting a SSD attorney on behalf of her injured husband. Do you know others who need help learning how to file social security disability claims? If you or your loved one have been denied social security disability benefits, call one of our experienced McAlester SSD lawyers or a Tulsa social security lawyer at Edwards & Patterson Law throughout Oklahoma and Arkansas. Our lawyers in Tulsa and McAlester OK offer free case evaluations with no strings attached. Call us now at 877-761-5059 or contact us online. Our team takes cases on a contingency basis, which means you fees to a social security disability lawyer unless you recover monetary damages.

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  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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