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Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Attorneys

Meet Social Security Disability Attorney Roger D. Drake

Social security disability attorney Roger D. Drake

At Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen, our Social Security Disability claim team is led in part by Attorney Roger D. Drake, a highly experienced lawyer who has focused his practice on SSDI and SSI claims for more than 15 years. He knows that an SSD case result can decide the financial future and comfort of the client, so he never backs down from a challenge. Currently, Attorney Roger Drake is admitted to practice in California and Nevada Courts, including certain appellate and district courts. If your SSD case needs to be appealed to a federal court, you don’t have to worry about finding a new law firm to represent you – Roger can still stand by your side and lead the way!

Some of the top awards and accolades Attorney Roger Drake has earned include:

  • Super Lawyers® (2016 – 2020, 2022 – 2023)
  • Rising Stars℠ (2009 – 2015)
  • Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers

Legal Help with SSDI & SSI Claims, Denials & Hearings

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can help you stay financially afloat if you’re unable to work. Getting the benefits from these important government programs isn’t guaranteed or straightforward, though. Many people struggle to get the SSDI/SSI benefits they need, and others don’t even know where to begin.

To get your Social Security Disability claim started correctly and without unnecessary delays, come to Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen. Our SSD team can help you understand your options, prepare a claim, appeal a denial, attend hearings, and much more. Our goal will be to get you the benefits that you need to live without financial worry after a health condition prevents you from working.

Dial (702) 505-8115 to request a free consultation with our SSD claim or appeal lawyers. No fees unless we win.

SSDI Compared to SSI Benefits

When you can’t work or earn a gainful income due to a health condition, you might have your choice between filing for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. The two government benefits programs are similar but distinctly different. As your chosen team of SSD attorneys, we can help you figure out which program you should use and why.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): A federal program that offers benefits based on the specifics of your disability and any ‘work credits’ you earned prior to it. Essentially, you must meet the Social Security Administration (SSA) criteria for disability and have made SSDI tax contributions either firsthand or through a paying spouse or parent.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): A government program that can have different changes and details based on the claimant’s state. To qualify for SSI benefits, you must typically have limited income and be older than 65 or have a qualifying disability. SSI eligibility is not dependent on SSDI contributions, though.

Qualifying Applicants in California

To be considered disabled and eligible for SSDI or SSI in California, you must be able to perform any type of “substantial work” due to a disabling or unsafe physical or mental health condition, which can include pregnancy, childbirth, and surgery complications. The condition in question must be expected to last at least one year or terminal (likely to cause death). SSDI eligibility is based on your SSDI contributions and SSI eligibility is based on your income. In California, you can also apply for State Supplemental Payments (SSP) if you are eligible for SSI; although, SSI eligibility does not guarantee SSP eligibility.

Qualifying Applicants in Nevada

To qualify for SSDI in Nevada, you must be 66 years old or younger, be unable to work due to a disabling health condition, and have earned enough work credits by paying Social Security taxes. Your eligibility can decrease if you have not worked in 5 of the last 10 years, though.

To qualify for SSI in Nevada, you must make less than $900 per month (amount can change each year based on inflation) and have minimal personal assets of financial worth. Single claimants usually must own personal assets valued under $2,000 and married claimants must own personal assets valued under $3,000. In either situation, Nevada requires SSI applicants to own very little personal property, which means no automobiles or real estate in most cases.

Arrange a Free Consultation Today

Many different steps and details can go into an SSDI or SSI claim, especially if your claim was initially denied and you need to file an appeal. Don’t go into the legalities on your own. Let Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen and Attorney Roger Drake help you figure out everything you need to get the most benefits from the government after a disability or health condition stops you from working.

We are here to help you with every part of your case, such as:

  • Evaluating your disability and determining your eligibility.
  • Filing for the right benefits: SSDI or SSI.
  • Responding to any government requests for more information.
  • Appealing your case if it is denied for any reason.
  • Representing you in court if necessary.
  • Acting on your behalf during administrative hearings and meetings.

Leave everything about your Social Security case up to our attorneys, so you can focus on taking care of yourself and your family. We’re here to support you however we can.

Contact us today to discuss your eligibility and our legal services.

Social security disability FAQ

Have questions? We are here to help. Still have questions or can't find the answer you need? Give us a call at 702-505-8115 today!

  • What are Some of the Most Common Reasons Why Long-Term Disability Insurance is Needed?

    Some of the most common reasons that SSDI claims get approved include musculoskeletal disorders, such as severe back conditions and arthritis, which can limit mobility and physical function. Mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, are also prevalent causes, as they can severely impact cognitive functions and the ability to maintain employment. Neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy can lead to progressive physical and cognitive decline, necessitating long-term support. Other common issues cited in SSDI claims are heart conditions and various forms of cancer.

  • Are There Downsides to Getting Social Security Disability Benefits?

    Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits can create financial support, but also unexpected complications. SSDI benefits are typically lower than the recipient's pre-disability income, which can create new financial strain. Beneficiaries must also undergo periodic reviews of their disability status, which can add stress and uncertainty about the continuation of benefits. Furthermore, beneficiaries must not receive income for work activities above a certain amount. This is known as “substantial gainful activity.”

  • Can I Collect Social Security Disability and Long-Term Disability?

    Long-term disability benefits are provided through private insurance policies purchased on an individual basis or provided by your employer. As a general rule, you can collect both SSDI benefits and LTD benefits. In fact, many long-term disability insurance companies require anyone who receives LTD benefits to apply for SSDI as well. Your LTD insurer will offset the amount of SSDI benefits from your LTD payments. The combination of SSDI and LTD benefits will then equal the LTD benefits you got before applying to qualify for Social Security Disability.

  • How Long Do Social Security Disability Benefits Usually Last?

    Social Security Disability Benefits typically last as long as the beneficiary remains disabled and cannot engage in substantial gainful activity, with the expectation that the disability will last at least one year or result in death. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) conducts periodic reviews of the beneficiary's medical condition to determine if they continue to meet the criteria for disability. The reviews may occur every few months or every several years depending on the likelihood of medical improvement. If a beneficiary's health improves to the point where they can return to work and perform substantial gainful activity, the benefits may be discontinued. Otherwise, SSD benefits continue until the recipient reaches retirement age, at which point they transition from receiving disability benefits to retirement benefits under the Social Security program.

  • What Are Typical Social Security Disability Benefits?

    Social Security Disability Benefits, whether SSDI or SSI, include a monthly cash payment. The amount of SSDI payments is based on the individual's earnings record and the total Social Security taxes they have paid. SSI benefits are a fixed amount determined by SSA. In addition to the financial benefits, after receiving SSDI for two years, beneficiaries can become eligible for Medicare, regardless of their age, providing them with health insurance coverage. The SSDI program also includes work incentives for some applicants or beneficiaries, such as trial work periods, allowing them to attempt to return to work while still receiving benefits.

  • What Does a Social Security Disability Lawyer Do?

    A Social Security Disability lawyer guides applicants through the complex application or appeals process when trying to obtain Social Security Disability benefits, ensuring that all necessary documentation, including medical records and work history, is accurately compiled and presented. They are well-versed in the laws and regulations governing SSDI and SSI, and can effectively communicate with the Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of their clients. A Social Security Disability lawyer's role extends to representing clients during hearings, should their initial claim be denied, and arguing their case before an administrative law judge. You can hire an SSDI lawyer at any stage of your claim. Attorney fees are paid out of past-due benefits if your claim is successful.

  • What is Supplemental Security Income?

    Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has the same disability requirements as SSDI, but it is designed for individuals who have not paid enough in payroll taxes to qualify for SSDI. To be eligible for SSI, applicants must have few assets or money in the bank. Sometimes applicants may qualify for SSI and SSDI at the same time.

  • What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

    Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program designed to provide income support to people who are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Funded by payroll taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), SSDI is a Social Security Administration (SSA) program. Eligibility for SSDI requires that the applicant has worked and paid into the Social Security system for enough years, typically based on their age at the time the disability begins. The amount of the monthly benefit is based on the individual's earnings record, reflecting their contributions to the Social Security system.

  • How can I talk to someone from your firm about an SSD claim?
    Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen makes it simple to talk to an attorney about SSD cases, claims, and lawsuits. You can either use an online contact form or dial (702) 505-8115 at any time.
  • What is the 5-year rule for Social Security Disability?
    In a typical SSD claim, you must have been considered disabled for at least five months before benefits can be granted, which is meant to ensure that your disability was serious and/or permanent enough to warrant SSD benefit eligibility. However, if you were previously eligible for disability benefits, no longer needed them, but then became disabled again within five years of your previous eligibility, the five-month waiting period can be waived.
  • Why do most people get denied for disability?
    An SSD claim can be denied for many reasons, but not providing enough medical evidence of the disabling condition is one of the most common. If you are filing for SSD or SSDI benefits, it is important to ensure that your condition has been at least recognized by your medical provider. Of course, a diagnosis with medical evidence that explains the diagnosis is ideal.
  • What can get you “100%” or full disability?
    If medical evidence shows that you are unable to work in all conceivable situations, you may be given a 100% disability rating, which can be evaluated by the SSA, Veterans Affairs (VA), and other such organizations. If you cannot care for yourself in a meaningful capacity or handle day-to-day tasks alone, such hardship can be weighed when assigning your disability rating. Also, severe health conditions may qualify you for a complete 100% disability rating by default, such as total blindness or multiple amputations.
  • What is the fastest you can get approved for disability?
    According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), most SSD approvals take four months from the date of the original filing, but some cases resolve in only three months. Each case’s circumstances factor into how long it might take to get final approval for SSD benefits, though. Some cases may take five or six months or even longer.
  • How can I increase my chances of getting SSDI?
    There is no guaranteed way to “increase” your chances of getting SSDI because every case is unique and judged on its own merits. However, you can better avoid mistakes during the process by following all your doctor’s orders, being honest at every step, and of course, working with a skilled SSD attorney.
  • What are the most approved disabilities for Social Security Disability benefits?
    Arthritis and similar musculoskeletal disabilities often related to repetitive stress injuries are among the most common disabilities approved for Social Security Disability benefits. Arthritis afflicts tens of millions of Americans at any given time. This high case number could indicate that arthritis SSD claims are so common because the disease is so common, too.

Our Promise to You

Why You Can Count on Our Firm
  • Experience You Can Trust
    Our attorneys, paralegals and support staff leverage decades of experience across a diverse range of backgrounds on behalf of our clients.
  • Legacy of Client Satisfaction
    Word-of-mouth referrals and repeat clients account for more than 85% of our business, which is a testament to the level of service we provide.
  • Client-Centered Approach

    We strive to treat our clients with integrity, compassion, and respect and provide them with clear communication every step of the way.

  • Proven Record of Results
    We have recovered millions of dollars in successful verdicts and settlements for injured clients throughout the state of Nevada.

Client testimonials

Real Stories From Real Clients
    “Seamless and caring service.”
    I was involved in two car accidents within a year, both work comp related. I'd never used an attorney for personal injury before, but now I'll always choose Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen. They made everything seamless and easy, and were always available for questions or reassurance. This law firm clearly cares about what they do and their clients.
    - Aimee W.
    “They truly care about their clients.”
    A close family friend referred us to Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen and spoke highly of the firm. They made us feel very at ease about the situation. They truly care about their clients and making them feel at ease through the entire process. Overall, the experience has been exceptional.
    - Pete S.
    “Handled my case excellently.”
    I'm very thankful for meeting the team at Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen regarding my motor vehicle accident. They helped me in a very difficult time, provided excellent medical treatment assistance, and represented my best interests. Best law firm in Las Vegas!
    - Kristina Y.
    “Best with phenomenal work ethics.”
    Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen is the absolute best. The entire crew is efficient, and their work ethics are phenomenal. For any legal needs, they are the people to go to. Thank you for all that you do for me and my family.
    - Minas M.
    “Great settlement and so happy with results!”
    Thank you so much for your help resolving my case. Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen helped me settle my case after another attorney messed up my medical treatment. They spent hours explaining legal matters and guiding me. The loyalty of this law firm was beyond my expectations. Great settlement and so happy with the results! Thank you for all your hard work!
    - Mahir S.
    “Utmost in professionalism”
    I've used Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen on a few occasions and always experienced professionalism. Their office staff is polite and informative throughout the process. Highly recommend the team. Thank you for always answering questions and being easy to work with.
    - Steven P.
    “They always made me feel like a member of their family and not just a client.”
    “The kindness and compassion they showed during my case was amazing! They always made me feel like a member of their family and not just a client.”
    - Ryan W.
    “So seamless and easy for me.”
    “I was involved in two car accidents within a year. They made everything so seamless and easy for me and were always available for questions or reassurance. This law firm clearly not only cares about what they do, but the clients they do it for. Thank you, ”
    - Aimee W.

A Proven Record of Results

Millions of Dollars Recovered for Our Clients
  • $100 Million Product Defect and Fatality from Helicopter Crash
  • $30 Million Fatality/Burn Disfigurement from Helicopter Crash
  • $19.5 Million Brain Damage from Motor Vehicle Accident
  • $18.5 Million Wrongful Death from Aircraft Accident
  • $16 Million Motor Vehicle Accident, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
  • $12 Million Negligence Security leading to Sexual Assault
  • $10.8 Million Brain Injury, Premises Liability
  • $10 Million Brain Injury, Premises Liability