Over 90% of Our Social Security Disability Clients Receive Benefits
Are you disabled and unable to work? Or have you previously applied for Social Security Disability benefits and were turned down? Our Social Security Disability lawyer, Wanda Radcliffe, has successfully handled thousands of complicated Social Security Disability cases. In fact, 9 out of 10 of her clients receive benefits – including many who were initially turned down.
Contact us today if you think you are eligible, or if you are having trouble filing a Social Security claim or a Request for Reconsideration. The fact is, many first-time Social Security Disability claims will be rejected. But we know the medical requirements that the government expects, along with how to get the information you need for a successful claim. And rest assured, you won’t pay a single fee or cost unless we are able to obtain benefits for you.
Also check out our frequently asked questions on Social Security Disability.
Claiming Your Social Security Disability Benefits
Unfortunately, the chances of one becoming disabled during his or her lifetime are greater than most people expect. In a study conducted by the Social Security Administration, 25% of workers will become disabled at some point during his or her lifetime. The whole purpose of the Social Security Program is to pay money to those classified as disabled.
The Definition of Disability
There are different definitions of disability, depending on the government and private disability program. And the Social Security Administration is required to consider other agencies’ findings. However, just because a government organization or private association deems you disabled, it may or may not meet the requirements of the Social Security Act.
What is the definition of “disabled” under the Social Security Act? “An inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” A person is defined as disabled if “his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy in significant numbers.”
The criteria you must meet to be qualified are quite strict. For instance, partial disability and short-term disability are not acknowledged by Social Security. And it is easier to obtain benefits from a private disability policy or Worker’s Compensation than to receive them from Social Security.
Do You Meet the Criteria for Social Security Disability Benefits?
To meet the criteria for Social Security Disability, you must have worked five out of the last ten years immediately prior to your disability. You must also have earned a minimum number of work credits, which is determined by the money you have made each year, and the age when your disability began. People who have not been employed for five years or more are likely not eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
It is best to apply for benefits as early as possible. The Social Security Administration has a toll free number where you can apply – it is 800-772-1213. In addition, you can visit their office or apply online.
Ideally you should be prepared with the following information when you are ready to apply: names, addresses and phone numbers of the medical facilities where you have been treated, the names and ages of your children, and a list of the employers and jobs you have held for the last 15 years.
Who Decides if You Are Disabled?
The Social Security Office will send your application for processing to the Office of Disability Determinations. Both a doctor and a disability evaluator will then determine your disability status based on the Social Security Administration’s disability standards.
A letter will be mailed by the Social Security Administration once they have made a final decision. Assuming your application has been approved, the letter will explain what benefits you will receive and how soon they will start. If the application was not approved, they will notify you how to file for an appeal.
A Denied Social Security Disability Claim
Can you appeal a claim that has been denied? Absolutely. Within 60 days, you will need to provide a written appeal to the Social Security Office. It is called a Request for Reconsideration. Here is what will happen next:
- Your claim will now be reviewed by someone who was not part of the original review process. However, most claims at this stage are denied.
- If your Request for Reconsideration is denied, you can now request a hearing by a judge. You will have 60 days to do this. The judge will take into consideration your medical testimony.
- If the judge at your hearing has also denied your request, you can request a review by the Appeals Council. If they decide your case is worth reviewing, they will either make a decision or send it back to the administrative law judge for a re-hearing.
- At this point, if your request is still not approved, you have the option to file a lawsuit in Federal District Court.
Need Help with Your Social Security Disability Appeal?
At Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon, we’ve successfully handled thousands of Social Security Disability cases, and can help you through this complicated process. You won’t pay a fee unless we are able to win your appeal. Typically, the average legal fee is 25% of the past due benefits, and is paid directly to the lawyer by the Social Security Administration. No fee is taken from any future benefits you may receive.
When You Get Social Security Disability Benefits
You should receive a Notice of Award explaining the amount you will receive once your claim is approved. After you have been disabled for six months, you payments will begin. If you haven’t received a check beyond the six month period, the Social Security Disability office will compensate you for any past due benefits.
How Much will You Receive?
Your monthly payment will be determined by what you have previously earned. If you have been receiving other benefits from such as worker’s compensation or a job pension, you might receive a decrease in your benefits.
Are You Eligible for Medicare?
Medicare is a combination of hospital and medical insurance, and it will begin 24 months after the start of your disability benefits. There is no fee for the hospital portion, and typically a small monthly premium for the medical portion. Expect to receive information about Medicare several months before it begins.
You should be aware that some family members might also be covered as well. These include unmarried children under the age of 18 and spouses 62 and older. In addition, a spouse who takes care of children who are less than 16 or disabled might also be covered.
Pensacola Social Security Disability Lawyers
Many people suggest that obtaining disability benefits is like being caught in a maze. But at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon, we have helped thousands of people through the maze … and we know how to get to the other side. Don’t hesitate to call us for help.
Remember, there are no fees or costs unless we recover benefits for you. Simply call (850) 444-HURT for a free Social Security Disability consultation.