Grand Rapids Social Security Disability Attorneys with an Edge

If you are suffering from a disabling injury or illness that is preventing you from working, you are most likely under a lot of pressure. How will you pay your bills? How will you provide for your family? While your situation may seem overwhelming now, you do have options. Our experienced Grand Rapids Social Security Disability attorneys can help you successfully pursue a claim.

At the law firm of LEMMEN & LEMMEN PLC, we understand the challenges facing disabled workers in West Michigan. Our attorneys have more than 50 years of combined experience and have earned a stellar reputation regarding their service and ability to obtain favorable outcomes for their clients.

Call 616-837-6221 for a free consultation with one of our Social Security Disability attorneys in Grand Rapids or Coopersville. We do not charge a fee unless we win your case. You may also contact us online.

Typically Asked Questions of Our SSD Attorneys

Our social security disability attorneys are equipped to answer all of your difficult questions regarding SSD benefits, including:

If you are unable to work full time as a result of a disabling injury or disability, you are likely eligible for Social Security Disability benefits in the form of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, you should to realize that most applicants are denied on their first try. Do not give up. If you think you should qualify for benefits, we can help.

At the law firm of LEMMEN & LEMMEN PLC, we represent disabled workers throughout West Michigan, including those in Grand Rapids, Coopersville, Allendale, Grand Haven and Muskegon. We understand how to present your case in a way that will resonate with the Social Security Administration and satisfy their rules and regulations. Do not be discouraged if your Social Security Disability claim has been denied. Call us at (616) 837-6221 for a free consultation.

How Likely is it to Get Approved Once I Have Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits

The denial rate for initial SSDI and SSI claims is above 70 percent in Michigan, meaning most people are denied before successfully obtaining the benefits they deserve. We strongly recommend that you have an attorney handle your case after you have been denied in order to increase your chances for a successful claim.

The appeal process can take two years or even longer in some cases. You should have an attorney who has sufficient knowledge and a positive track record helping people who were denied, get approved for Social Security benefits. Our SSD staff will make sure everything is handled in a timely fashion and in accordance with all rules and regulations.

Experienced Social Security Lawyers Win Cases

Year after year, our lawyers win the vast majority of the cases we accept. To speak to a lawyer about your Social Security Disability claims denial, contact us today for a free consultation.

The SSDI lawyers at LEMMEN & LEMMEN PLC, handle all levels of SSDI appeals. Our attorneys can help you with any of the following steps you may have to take if your SSDI application is denied or your benefits are terminated.

Request for Reconsideration

In the majority of cases, an initial application for benefits is denied. For cases outside of Michigan, the first step is to request reconsideration and find an attorney who has the experience needed to help you. If you live in Michigan, you will likely have to request a hearing with an administrative law judge.

A reconsideration is a complete review of your claim. It takes place at the Disability Determination Services (DDS) level, but by a medical consultant and examiner who were not a part of the initial decision. It is important to note that the DDS grants only about 5 percent of all reconsideration claims that are submitted for review.

Request for Reconsideration of Continuing Disability Claim

Once you begin receiving disability benefits, your case may be re-examined periodically in what is known as a continuing disability review (CDR). The SSA may choose to terminate your benefits for any number of reasons. Often, the SSA stops benefits because they have determined that your condition has improved and now you can work or because you have filed to cooperate in the CDR process completely.

If you want to appeal, you must request a reconsideration. If granted, there will be a hearing before a disability hearing officer (DHO). However, before your claim is reviewed by a hearing officer, it will receive a second review by a different DDS medical consultant and examiner. This examiner can reverse the prior decision to terminate your benefits.

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing

If your initial claim or request for reconsideration is denied and you want to appeal further, you must request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) within 60 days from receipt of your denial.

Overall, ALJs grant about 44 percent of the claims that reach them — that means that 44 percent of disability applicants who take their appeal to an ALJ hearing win their appeal. A few ALJs allow 90 percent of the claims they see.

Appeals Council

Did you know that the Appeals Council randomly selects cases for review? This council has the discretion to grant, deny or dismiss any request for a review. More importantly, the Appeals Council can dismiss a case without further review unless it finds one of the following:

  • There was a procedural or legal error or some bias can be shown
  • The ALJ decision lacks sufficient substantial evidence

The Appeals Council generally investigates whether there is some flaw in the ALJ decision before deciding to grant a review. In these situations, your chance of winning is only 2 to 3 percent. However, around 22% of cases are remanded to the ALJ for a new hearing and a new decision. If the Appeals Council denies your case, you can sue the Social Security Administraction in Federal Court.

Federal Court Review

The next and final step in the appeal process is filing a lawsuit in the U.S. district court.

A federal judge will hear your disability case, but there will be no jury. In at least a third of all cases, district court judges reverse ALJ's or the AC's decisions. The reasoning often involves that the SSA did not give adequate weight to a treating doctor's opinion, the amount of pain or other symptoms were not considered, or requests should have been made for assessments of abilities from treating doctors.

Suing the SSA is a time-consuming, very long process. Fewer than 1 percent of disability claimants actually take their cases to court.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Social Security Disability Attorney in Grand Rapids or Coopersville

Contact our SSD attorneys today for a free consultation.

If you have worked in a job that is covered by Social Security and have an injury or illness that is considered to be a disabling condition by the Social Security Administration, you more than likely qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. However, most applicants are denied at first and the process can be difficult.

At the law firm of LEMMEN & LEMMEN PLC, we encourage injured and disabled workers in the Greater Grand Rapids area to apply for Social Security Disability benefits in order to see if they qualify. Applying for benefits does not cost anything, while not having benefits can be costly to you and to your family.

Whether you have questions about your eligibility or your initial claim was denied, call us at (616) 837-6221 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney. If travel is difficult in your condition, we can process your case over the phone and through the mail.

Working Does Not Prevent You From Qualifying for Social Security Disability

Even if you are able to work on occasion, you still may qualify for benefits. Under Social Security Disability law, you can earn approximately $1,000 per month and still qualify for benefits in order to supplement your income if your disabling condition is preventing you from working more than that.

Work Credits and Social Security Benefits

According to the Social Security Administration, eligibility is based on work credits. You can earn up to four Social Security work credits each year based on your total yearly wages. The number of credits needed to qualify for benefits is based on your age. In general, you will have enough work credits if you have worked for five of the past 10 years.

For information on how many credits you have earned, you can consult the earnings statement you receive from the Social Security Administration or visit their website.

Contact a West Michigan Social Security Disability Lawyer for a free evaluation of your case.

For help with your Social Security Disability claim, contact us for a free consultation.

In order to determine whether an individual is disabled, Social Security follows a five-step process that it refers to as the "Sequential Evaluation Process."

Step One - Are You Working?

The first step is to look at whether an individual is working. If a person is working, Social Security will look at the person's earnings to determine whether the individual is working at levels that Social Security considers to be substantial. If someone is working at levels deemed to be substantial, Social Security will determine the person is not disabled no matter how severe his or her medical condition is. For people who clear the first hurdle, those who are not working or working with earnings at levels deemed to be less than substantial, the disability inquiry proceeds to the second step.

Step Two - What Kind of Impairment Do You Have?

The next issue Social Security considers is whether an individual has a "Severe Impairment." For disability purposes, Social Security defines a "severe impairment" as a medical condition or combination of conditions that causes some work-related limitation of function that lasts for at least 12 months. In practice, this step is used as a filter to screen out claims with little merit and rarely is a problem for our clients.

Step Three - Does Your Ailment Qualify for SSDI?

The third step concerns whether a person can show his or her medical problems meet or equal Social Security's Listings of Impairments. Essentially, Social Security has a number of very serious medical conditions that it considers disabling without further inquiry. In other words, if an individual or her attorney can show that her medical problems fit in Social Security's box of predetermined very serious medical conditions, she will be found disabled without having to satisfy the requirements of Step 4 and Step 5.

Step Four - Are You Able to Perform Your Past Work?

At step four, Social Security decides whether a person with his or her current limitations as determined by Social Security can do any of the work they did in the last 15 years at substantial levels, which they refer to as "past relevant work." If you can do your "past relevant work," in a full time, competitive situation, Social Security will not find you disabled. If your lawyer or you can prove that you cannot do your "past relevant work," the burden of proof shifts at step five to Social Security.

Step Five - Is There Other Work You Can Do?

Here at step five, Social Security must prove that no other work exists in "significant numbers" that you can do in the national economy. There is no specific number of jobs that equals "significant numbers." Instead, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has discretion to decide what number of jobs is a "significant number." At the ALJ hearing level, Social Security usually seeks testimony from a Vocational Expert to establish whether there are jobs available that will accommodate your limitations.

At this stage, the outcome of a case can hinge on the Vocational Expert's testimony. Consequently, knowing what questions to ask the Vocational Expert to generate testimony that reduces the number of available jobs is very important. The value of having an experienced attorney at your side during your disability hearing cannot be overstated.

For help with your Social Security Disability claim in Grand Rapids or Cooperville areas, contact us for a free consultation.

The Social Security Administration has an impairment listing manual, commonly known as the blue book. This manual lists all types of impairments, both physical and mental, that will automatically qualify an individual for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You still must show though that you meet, or have the equivalent to, the specified criteria for a listing.

Ailments That Qualify for SSDI

Some of the conditions that are listed in the blue book listing manual include:

  • All types of cancer
  • Diseases such as kidney disease
  • Back injuries and other musculoskeletal problems
  • Cardiovascular conditions such as heart failure or coronary artery disease
  • Vision and hearing loss
  • Respiratory issues such as COPD or chronic asthma
  • Neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy
  • Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, autism and retardation
  • Immune system disorders such as lupus, HIV/AIDS and rheumatoid arthritis

This list is not exhaustive. Our attorneys can help evaluate your condition and help you make the necessary application or appeals to help win you the benefits you need.

Free Initial Consultation | No Office Appointment Necessary

While you are always welcome to make an office appointment, we understand that many disabled people have physical or financial restrictions that make travel difficult. When needed, our lawyers can handle most cases without an office appointment by helping you over the telephone and through the mail. Contact our SSD attorneys today for a free consultation.

At LEMMEN & LEMMEN PLC, our Social Security Disability attorneys do not charge a fee unless they win your case. All of our fee contracts are in writing signed by the lawyer and the client. The written contracts are given to Social Security for approval by a judge. If we are successful with your case, our legal fee is limited to 25 percent of your past-due benefits or $6,000, whichever is less.

Once we win your case, Social Security will withhold the legal fee from your past-due benefits and pay us directly. Because our fee is taken from your past-due benefits, no money will be withheld from your regular monthly checks.

Our lawyers have the knowledge and insight required to win cases. Statistically speaking, hiring a lawyer greatly increases your odds of winning your social security disability case. Year after year, our social security disability attorneys in Grand Rapids and Coopersville routinely win a significantly higher percentage of cases than the national overall approval rate for ALJ hearings.

Our lawyers do not charge any legal fees unless they win the case. The numbers speak for themselves. Why take chances by not hiring our attorneys?


To speak to a lawyer from our firm about your case, contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a support program regulated by the Social Security Administration. This fund is meant for individuals with low income who meet certain eligibility requirements to help them pay for necessities. At LEMMEN & LEMMEN PLC, our attorneys have more than 45 years of combined legal experience and know what steps to take to get the results you need in your case.

If you have questions regarding Supplemental Security Income, or you want to know if you qualify, contact our attorneys online. You may also call our law firm at (616) 837-6221.

Supplemental Security Income Attorneys

Eligibility for SSI, unlike Social Security Disability, depends on your income. SSI does not, however, have a requirement that you have past work experience in order to qualify. Individuals may receive SSI if they have a certain income and are:

  • Blind
  • Disabled
  • Over the age of 65

There are other certain residency requirements that must be met as well. When you meet with us, you can rely on our understanding of the law and effective guidance to explain all of your options to you.

Appealing Denied SSI Claims

A vast majority of SSI claims are initially denied. If this has happened to you, our social security disability team can work with you to see that your claims are properly and quickly appealed. There is a set time limit that you have to bring an appeal, so speaking with a knowledgeable lawyer immediately is very important.

Free SSI Case Evaluation

If travel to our office is not possible due to a disability, we can work with you to make an appointment at your convenience. We can handle most cases without an office appointment over the telephone and through the mail. Contact our Michigan SSI law firm today for a free consultation.

Did you know that a child with a serious medical problem may be entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits? A child under 18 has to pass both the financial and medical tests to receive these benefits. Call (616) 837-6221 for a free consultation to get answers to all of your questions regarding SSI for children. We charge no fee unless we win your case. You may also request a free consulation online.

SSI Benefits for Children in Grand Rapids and the Surrounding Area

Financially speaking, the child must have limited resources to qualify. Most children, especially younger children, do not earn enough on their own to disqualify them from SSI benefits. However, Social Security also considers the income and resources of parents or stepparents who live with the child. According to Social Security, the parents or stepparents' income and resource belong to the child. The amount of parents' income that will disqualify a child depends on the family size and this amount is adjusted each year.

If a parent receives SSI benefits, unlike income, these benefits are not "deemed" to belong to the child and will not affect the child's ability to receive SSI. The same is true for food stamps, WIC and other local welfare benefits. Additionally, Social Security does not count a parent's house, retirement account, vehicle, or a modest amount of household goods and furniture to determine whether the child has too many resources to receive SSI benefits.

Medical Requirements

Medically speaking, the child must prove that his or her impairment is disabling. For a child under 18 to be disabled, his or her impairment must meet or equal certain very specific, serious medical conditions that Social Security refers to as the "Listings of Impairments." If the child's condition does not fit into any of the boxes, then the child must show that his or her impairment is functionally equivalent to the listings of impairments. To be functionally equal to the listing of impairments, a person must prove that he or she has either 2 marked or 1 extreme limitation in the following areas:

  • Acquiring and Using Information
  • Attending to and Completing Tasks
  • Interacting and Relating with Others
  • Moving About and Manipulating Objects
  • Caring for Themselves
  • Health and Physical Well-Being

Social Security refers to these six areas as "functional domains." Proving marked or extreme limitations in the above areas typically requires a review of school records, such as Individualized Education Programs (IEP) and standardized tests. We will also obtain opinions from doctors and teachers who are familiar with the child. Childhood SSI cases are often some of the toughest cases to win because the child has to show both significant financial need and very serious medical limitations. However, when a case is successful, these benefits can be lifesaving for families with disabled children.

Free Consultation | SSI Benefits for Children

Contact LEMMEN & LEMMEN PLC to learn more about SSI benefits for children. Your initial consultation is free of charge. If you cannot make the trip to us, we can make other arrangements for your convenience.



Grand Rapids Social Security Disability Attorneys Make a Difference

It is crucial to have an experienced social security attorney in Grand Rapids handling your case, especially if your initial claim has been denied. Because of our extensive experience, we understand Social Security's complex regulations, and our attorneys and staff understand how to assemble a case that fits within the guidelines and satisfies SSD rules. If your case requires an appeal, we will ensure your appeal is filed on time and in the proper fashion.

Free Consultation - No Office Appointment Necessary

While you are always welcome to make an office appointment, we understand that many disabled people have physical or financial restrictions that make travel difficult. When preferred, we can handle most cases without an office appointment over the telephone and through the mail. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our social security disability attorneys in Grand Rapids or Coopersville.