Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be complex and challenging. Fortunately, having an experienced attorney to guide you may greatly increase your chances of a successful application. In addition, professional legal representation can be invaluable after an initial denial of benefits.
Our Social Security Disability application lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate the application process and, if your claim is denied, the hearing and appeal.
Contact our Social Security Disability lawyer for a free consultation with an attorney.
How Can a Social Security Disability Lawyer Help With My Application?
Applying for disability benefits can be overwhelming. The process involves numerous forms to complete, tight deadlines, and the need for detailed medical documentation. However, this is where the expertise of a Social Security Disability lawyer can make a difference.
An attorney can assist in the following ways:
- Guiding you as you complete the initial application
- Evaluating what qualifies individuals for Social Security Disability Insurance
- Filing an appeal after your claim has been denied
- Updating you on the status of your application
- Gathering medical evidence needed to support your claim
- Providing representation at your disability hearing
Our law firm services clients in the Carolinas, providing a personalized approach to building a strong case for the best possible outcome. In addition, our Social Security Disability lawyer can help you through the appeals process and will work diligently to advocate for you.
Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits
A person may file two types of disability claims: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Certain standards must be upheld for both types of claims. Even if you are visibly disabled, you must take certain steps to receive benefits.
SSDI Benefit Eligibility
To be eligible for SSDI, you must meet the following requirements:
- Your medical or mental condition prevents you from engaging in gainful activity (working).
- Your illness lasted or is likely to persist for at least a year or result in death.
- You are younger than 66 years old (with exceptions).
- You worked for at least five of the previous 10 years as of the date you became disabled.
Qualified Disabilities Must Also Include Functional Restrictions and Cognitive Ability Limitations
Functional restrictions limit your ability to perform basic tasks and include limitations in your capacity to walk, stand, lift, carry, bend, push, pull, kneel, crouch, or crawl.
Cognitive ability limitations include your capacity to concentrate, grasp, and retain information, maintain persistence and speed, connect with others, or manage your health and well-being.
Gross Income Is Required for SSI Benefit Qualification
For SSI benefits, your eligibility depends on your gross income from sources including:
- Earned and unearned income such as wages, pensions, and unemployment checks
- Shelter or food donated or discounted to you
- Income from the support of a family member or sponsor
Strict gross income limits can greatly impact your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.
What Documentation Is Required for a Social Security Disability Application?
To become eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you must provide documentation proving your medical condition and inability to work. The documentation you must provide with your application includes medical records, employment history, and proof of income.
Medical records are the most critical piece of documentation you will need. You must provide extensive medical evidence documenting your condition, including any tests, treatments, and surgeries you have undergone.
These documents will help establish the severity of your condition and demonstrate that you cannot perform at your previous position or any other job you are qualified for.
You will also need to provide documentation that establishes your employment history. This will likely include pay stubs, tax returns, and other financial documents showing your income over the past few years.
This information will be used to determine whether you have earned enough work credits to qualify for benefits.
Finally, you must provide documentation of your current income and financial resources. This paperwork might include bank statements, investment account statements, and other documents verifying your financial situation.
This information will help determine the amount of your SSDI benefits if your claim is approved.
Additional Documentation Needed for Your SSDI Application
Other documentation that might be required for your application can include statements from:
- Your doctor
- Vocational experts
- Other professionals who can attest to the severity of your condition and your inability to work
Your experienced disability attorney will help you gather the necessary documentation to ensure your application is as strong as possible.
What Happens if Your Disability Claim Is Denied?
Denials are common, and although this situation is distressing, a skilled Social Security Disability lawyer will ensure you comply with Social Security’s regulations regarding the submission of evidence. In addition, your lawyer will keep you updated on the status of your application along the way.
The most common reasons why claims are denied include the following:
- Absence of medical evidence
- Previous denials
- You have a job
- Incomplete treatment or claim forms
- Lack of cooperation
- Inadequate communication with the Social Security Administration (SSA)
- Drug or alcohol addiction
SSDI Application Appeal Options
If your SSDI application is refused, you have numerous options for appeal:
- Request that the initial decision be reconsidered.
- If the decision is not reversed after reconsideration, you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
- If the ALJ refuses your claim, the next step is a review with the Appeals Council.
- If the Appeals Council denies your application, you may file a lawsuit with the Federal District Court.
Our firm can assist you in managing the hearing, appeals, and litigation processes and aggressively pursuing the benefits you qualify for. We are confident about our work, and you can count on our disability attorney to provide tenacious representation throughout your case.
When To Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney
When seeking legal counsel, a general rule of thumb is “the sooner, the better.” Therefore, hiring an attorney early in the application process can help ensure you provide the necessary documentation and evidence from the beginning.
Additionally, people who retain legal help to assist them with the claims process statistically have a better chance of receiving Social Security Disability benefits. That’s because an experienced attorney can ensure paperwork is filed promptly and accurately on your end.
Having everything you need will prevent unnecessary delays that could damage your claim. Our experienced Social Security Disability attorney can also notify you of additional documents that may be required later and help obtain them as needed.
That said, please remember that the full resolution of your claim could sometimes take several months or years.
If you are unsure if hiring a lawyer is best for your case, consider using a free evaluation to explore your legal options.
What Sets Our Law Firm Apart
Our commitment to our clients sets us apart from other firms. Here are specific ways we stand out:
- Clients always speak directly with an attorney, not a non-attorney representative.
- Our disability attorney meets with clients well in advance of their hearing.
- We won’t charge you until we win your case.
- We gather medical evidence for our clients.
- We take steps to reduce the cost of obtaining medical evidence.
- When available, we obtain medical opinions as evidence.
- We request consultative evaluations from the SSA when appropriate.
Need Legal Help With Your Social Security Disability Application?
If you have questions or are ready to get started, reach out to us today for a free consultation. Allow our SSDI lawyer to examine your case’s strength and compile evidence to help you secure benefits.
Pilzer Klein attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience handling Social Security Disability cases. After hearing the facts of your claim, we can strategize a way to proceed. If you want professional representation with a personal touch, contact us to schedule your initial consultation today.