Berge & Berge, LLP Blog

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

How Public Benefits Attorneys Can Help the Disabled

Q: Can a San Jose attorney help me get disability benefits?

One of the reasons that people put off seeing a Bay Area estate planning attorney is that they're uncomfortable facing the inevitability of their eventual death.

And for many who do have professional estate plans prepared, they don't realize the changes in circumstances along life's path often necessitate updates to that plan. That's why the unique LifePlan™ program at the Law Offices of Berge & Berge offers clients several benefits including allowing clients to maintain and update their estate planning documents at a set price – – like a legal insurance policy. Marriages, divorces, births, deaths, and business dealings are just some of the factors that can impact an estate plan.

Public benefits attorneys know that planning for death is not the only purpose of an estate plan. Part of estate planning often includes Medi-Cal planning, which is used to shelter and preserve assets for heirs in the event long term care becomes necessary-- so your loved ones aren’t left penniless and your life's savings aren't wiped out if you need a nursing home someday.

But what happens when a disability that impacts your ability to work strikes unexpectedly?

The federal government offers Social Security disability insurance benefits (“SSDI”) to those who satisfy the program’s requirements. In addition to suffering from a qualifying physical or mental disability as defined by the government, SSDI benefits recipients must have previously worked in a job through which they paid into the Social Security system through their payroll taxes for a certain number of years.

Many people hoping to qualify for SSDI benefits hire public benefits attorneys to handle the initial application or to appeal a denial of benefits. Currently, 2/3 of all initial applications are denied. In addition, "the average processing time for an appeal is 602 days, almost 2 years” -- so people are literally dying while waiting for their disability cases to be heard. And those who don't die may become homeless or struggle to feed themselves waiting out the delay. So, seeking the assistance of a skilled public benefits attorney from the outset may be the best chance of getting an initial application approved.

If you are in need of an estate plan, would like to revise an existing estate plan, or need assistance applying for or appealing a denial of public benefits, the Law Offices of Berge & Berge can help you. Contact us today to request a consultation.

From our offices in San Jose, we've been proudly serving the South Bay area of California for over 23 years in all matters of trust and estate planning.

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