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Nicolet Law Accident and Injury Lawyers

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Duluth Disability Benefits Attorneys

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Duluth Social Security Disability Attorneys

More than 11,000 individuals live with disabilities in Duluth, giving it the third-highest disabled population of any city in Minnesota, behind only Minneapolis and St. Paul. Unfortunately, individuals with disabilities are about 2.6 times more likely to be unemployed across Minnesota than other adults ages 18 to 64.

If you have acquired a disabling condition that prevents you from working, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. An experienced Duluth Social Security Disability lawyer from Nicolet Law Office can answer your questions about the application process.

About Nicolet Law

Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers is a regional firm known throughout Duluth as a premier resource for those facing financial distress following disability. With 20 team members in nine locations throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota, we combine the resources and convenience of a large regional firm with the personalized service that you’d expect from a Duluth local.

We know how to handle complicated SSDI cases, and we know that each client is different and has unique needs. We know that if you’re injured or facing financial difficulty, you should only have to think about caring for yourself and your family. We take care of all the heavy lifting in seeking SSDI benefits, so you can focus on what matters: your life, and your loved ones.

Our Case Results

The dedicated social security disability attorneys at Nicolet Law Firm boast decades of combined experience representing injured clients in Duluth. We’ve recovered over $34 million in compensation for our clients, and look forward to the chance to see how we can help you and your loved ones.

Some of our past clients include:

  • A woman involved in an accident at work, unable to return to any type of employment, was worried about applying for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits because of the horror stories she had heard about how long the process can take. We worked directly with her doctors, filed the benefits application for her, and DDSI approved her initial application within months.
  • A search and rescue worker in the Northwoods that contracted a form of vertigo, and became wheelchair-bound, was denied benefits multiple times. After intensive consultation and investigation with his physician, we secured the benefits that he needed to address his health issues and lead a fulfilling life.
  • A woman denied benefits after her attorney didn’t show up, and the judge bullied her into continuing with the hearing unrepresented. We successfully appealed the decision. The woman received a fair hearing, this time with a Nicolet SSDI lawyer who was present, prepared, and ready to advocate for her best interests.

While no attorney can guarantee the results in any particular case, rest assured that the passionate Social Security Disability lawyers at Nicolet Law draw on our deep well of experience to pursue the best possible outcome for members of our Duluth community. For more examples of our past success, consider some of our past case results.

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What Social Security Disability Insurance Provides

SSDI is a form of federal insurance that most U.S. workers pay for each quarter through automatic deductions in their paycheck.

If an individual has earned the right to collect SSDI through working and paying into the system, he or she is qualified for benefits that include:

  • Monthly SSDI payments that are based on your age, income, the quarters you worked, and how many years remain until you reach retirement age. SSDI generally covers around 40 percent of your pre-retirement income.
  • After two years of receiving disability benefits, you qualify for medical coverage through Medicare.
  • The children of an SSDI recipient who has died can be eligible to receive that parent’s SSDI benefits, as can the recipient’s widow.
  • Eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides SSDI recipients assistance with purchasing food.

Qualifying for SSDI in Duluth

Duluth Social Security Disability Insurance Attorneys

To qualify to receive SSDI benefits on your own instead of on someone else’s account as a disabled child, widow, or disabled individual using his or her spouse’s credits, you must show that you have worked enough quarters to earn the benefits and you have a disabling condition. Here is a look at each of these factors.

Quarters of Work

Social Security awards a credit for each quarter an individual works. Each worker can earn up to four credits each year. Credits are based on your total earnings for the year and you must have earned more than a minimum level of income each quarter during the year to qualify for all of the credits.

The work credits you need to qualify for SSDI vary, depending on your age. As a general rule, however, you need 40 credits to qualify for SSDI benefits, with half of those credits being earned in the last 10 years. Younger workers who become disabled are required to have fewer work credits to qualify.

Disabling Conditions

SSDI only pays benefits to individuals who have suffered a total disability.

Disability, in terms of SSDI eligibility, involves a medical condition that:

  • Renders you unable to do the work you did before the disabling condition occurred.
  • Prevents you from performing other types of work.
  • Has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

When reviewing your application, the Social Security Administration will ask:

  • Can you work? In 2021, if you earn more than $1,310 a month, then you are not considered disabled.
  • Is your condition severe? The condition must limit your ability to do basic work activities such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering for at least one year.
  • Is your condition on the administration’s list of disabling conditions? Social Security maintains a list of disabling conditions. While this list is fairly extensive, obviously not all disabling conditions have been listed. If your condition does not appear on the list, the agency will check to see if it is as disabling as other conditions that are listed when considering your claim.

Applying for SSDI Benefits in Duluth

Applying for SSDI benefits in Duluth involves:

  • Review the information you will need to complete the application and gather these documents. Some of the information you will need includes basic information about yourself, your spouse, and disabled children over 18, children under 18, or those over 18 who are attending college full time; details on your past two years of employment or self-employment, including your current employment; your direct deposit information; lists of all of your medical conditions and all of the doctors or other health care providers who are providing you with treatment; your educational background and past employment history.
  • Complete and submit your application. Once you have applied for SSDI, the administration will have your contact information and will contact you if further information is necessary to review your application.
  • SSDI will review your application and supporting information to ensure that you meet the basic requirements for eligibility, including work history and medical records.
  • Your application is processed and forwarded to the Minnesota Disability Determination Services office.
  • The state agency completes the disability determination on behalf of the Social Security Administration. Once a determination is made, you will receive a letter in the mail notifying you of the decision.

If Your Application Is Approved

If your application for SSDI benefits is approved, you will be notified by mail of that decision, as well as the amount of your monthly benefit and the date on which the decision becomes effective. You will begin receiving disability payments no earlier than after the sixth full month following the date your disability began. You may also be approved for back pay. You can generally expect your first payment within one to two months after you have been notified of the decision, and this time may be longer if you have also been approved for back pay.

Appealing a Decision on Benefits

The Social Security Administration provides a process by which individuals can appeal a determination made on their SSDI application. An appeal must be requested in writing within 60 days of receipt of the decision.

The four levels of appeals on SSDI decisions are:

  • Reconsideration: This level of appeal is used if your disability claim was denied for medical reasons. You can request reconsideration online, and a complete review of your application will be performed by someone who was not involved in the initial decision. All of the original evidence will be examined, as well as any new evidence the applicant has submitted.
  • Hearing by an administrative law judge: This level of appeal involves an administrative judge who had no part in the original determination of your case. While these hearings are often held in person within 75 miles from your home, there are options for video hearings. When you submit a request for a hearing, you will receive a confirmation package that explains the process and offers you the opportunity to opt-out of the option of video hearings.
  • An Appeals Council review: You can also request a review from the Appeals Council. While the Council considers all requests for review, it can deny a request if the hearing decision appears to be well supported and in line with the administration’s laws and regulations.
  • A federal court review.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Obtaining SSDI Benefits In Duluth

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a daunting and time-consuming process that lends itself to questions. Here are the answers to some of the questions our Duluth clients ask us most frequently about obtaining SSDI benefits.

Can I return to work and still receive my Duluth SSDI benefits?

Some individuals find tremendous value in the ability to work. Through SSDI, individuals enter a trial work period and retain their benefits. Individuals may perform a total of nine months of trial work periods within a five year period. To count toward your trial work period, you must earn at least $720 in a month. If you exceed that amount of time or income, you can engage in substantial gainful activity and may no longer collect SSDI benefits.

If I receive benefits from other assistance programs, will that affect my ability to receive SSDI benefits?

Many types of benefits, such as disability payments through the Veterans Administration can be received at the same time as SSDI benefits, without an impact on the payments received by either program. Government pensions and Social Security benefits can reduce the amount you are eligible to receive through SSDI, as can the provision of worker’s compensation benefits.

Your attorney can help you determine how your participation in other benefit programs will impact your eligibility to receive SSDI benefits, as well as how your SSDI benefits will affect the amount you can receive for other programs.

What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income and is provided to individuals who have never worked or who are disabled and cannot work for at least one year, living in a household where the income is less than the minimum level required to qualify for assistance. The difference between this assistance and the benefits received through SSDI is that the SSDI benefits require the individual to work to qualify and less consideration is made regarding net worth or most types of household income, while SSI is a welfare program where the bulk of the eligibility revolves around the income of the household.

Can I apply for SSDI online?

Yes. Applicants have a choice of submitting their application online or scheduling an appointment to apply in person at the nearest Social Security Administration office. In some circumstances, if you cannot apply in person or online, you will be permitted to provide the information to begin the application over the phone. Talk to us about whether that’s a good idea in your case.

How long will it take to receive a decision after I apply for benefits in Duluth?

The time between when you apply for your benefits and when you receive a decision can vary widely depending on:

  • The nature of your disability.
  • The time it takes for the agency to receive medical evidence from your doctor.
  • Whether you need to undergo an Independent Medical Evaluation.
  • Whether your application is selected for quality review.

On average, applicants generally receive a decision on their benefits within three to four months after applying.

Can my disabled child obtain Duluth Social Security benefits?

A disabled child who is 18 years old or older can receive Social Security benefits at the same time his or her parents begin receiving retirement or disability benefits, as long as the child was under the age of 22 when his or her disability began.

Do I have to pay taxes on my Duluth Social Security benefits?

If you have other forms of income that place your earnings over a certain level, you may need to pay taxes on your SSDI benefits. However, most recipients do not have to pay taxes on their benefits because they cannot work and have little income that would put them over the IRS threshold for taxable income.

How can a lawyer help me obtain Duluth Social Security benefits?

The experienced Social Security Disability lawyers at Nicolet Law Office are pleased to help Duluth SSDI applicants with:

  • Knowledge as to the types of disabling conditions that cause an individual to be eligible to receive disability benefits.
  • Assistance gathering the necessary documents needed for your application to be approved.
  • A thorough review of your application before submission to ensure that there are no inconsistencies or missing information that would result in a rejection of your application.
  • Assistance and representation through the appeals office if you have had your claim denied.

The likelihood of an SSDI application denial is high. Millions of people apply to this program each year, and surveys indicate that around three-quarters of the applicants are denied at the initial review level. We can help to reduce the likelihood that SSDI wrongfully denies your claim, and we can improve the chances that your appeal succeeds. Call us today.

Call Our Duluth Social Security Disability Attorneys Today

Russell Nicolet
Russell Nicolet, Social Security Disability Attorney

The Duluth personal injury lawyers at Nicolet Law Office strive to be more than just legal professionals in the communities we serve. As proud members of the Duluth community, we ensure that when an injured neighbor hires Nicolet Law, they aren’t treated as just another case file: They are family, and we work tirelessly to achieve the best outcome possible.

If you need assistance after a disabling injury or illness somewhere in Duluth, our passionate Duluth SSDI lawyers can help you seek the benefits you deserve. Let us help you make sense of the process of applying for SSDI benefits and understand the information you will need to prove your condition and work history. For a free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (218) 729-0628.

Duluth Office
306 West Superior Street, Suite 606
Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: 218-729-0628



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Awards & Recognitions

Nicolet Law Office is honored to have been nominated for numerous awards for excellence in service and client satisfaction. Our attorneys have appeared in such prestigious lists as Top 40 Under 40 and Rising Stars. While we’re thankful to have the support of industry peers and independent third-party organizations, nothing beats the feeling of gratitude we share with clients when we can make a positive impact on their lives.

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Contact us today to request a free case evaluation with a dedicated local attorney. With twelve convenient office locations throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, accessing award-winning legal services has never been easier. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from traveling, we would be happy to meet you at your home or schedule a private virtual consultation.


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13 locations in Wisconsin and Minnesota to serve you

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Wisconsin Locations:

402 Graham Ave.
Suite 305
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Phone: (715) 835-5959
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2300 Riverside Dr,
Suite 105
Green Bay, WI 54301
Phone: (920)-504-3655
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517 2nd Street
Unit #205
Hudson, WI 54016

Phone: 715-226-6158
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205 5th Avenue S,
Suite 209,
La Crosse, WI 54601

Phone: 608-527-0876
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1500 Madison Ave.
Suite 220
New Richmond, WI 54017

Phone: 715-226-6164
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337 North Main Street
Rice Lake, WI 54868

Phone: (715) 790-1114
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215 S 2nd St #20
River Falls, WI 54022

Phone: (715) 716-5869
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1200 Tower Ave.
Superior, WI 54880

Phone: (715) 718-2969
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408 3rd Street
Suite 303
Wausau, WI 54403

Phone: (715) 716-5092
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Minnesota Locations:

306 West Superior Street,
Suite 606 West
Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 729-0628
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Howard Court Bldg.
302 Howard Street, Suite 123
Hibbing, MN 55746

Phone: 218-217-0659
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23 - 4th Street SE
Suite #217
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: (612) 446-3999
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724 Bielenberg Drive
Suite 126
Woodbury, MN 55125

Phone: (651) 815-0017
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If we do not get you a recovery in your case, you will not be responsible for any attorney fees, but you still may be responsible for costs expended on your behalf, such as filing fees, medical records, etc.
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