Botetourt County, VA SSD Lawyer & Social Security Benefits Attorney
We Represent Clients in Obtaining the Social Security Disability Income Benefits to Which They are Entitled
Over two hundred thousand Virginia residents suffer from illnesses and injuries that leave them unable to work and in serious need of Social Security Disability (SSD) income benefits. At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we see many clients who are unable to pay bills and are being harassed constantly by bill collectors who do not understand (or care) that they have a debilitating condition and are unable to work. Many need assistance navigating the complicated SSD system or have had their benefits applications denied. If you or a loved one are in a similar circumstance, we would like to help!
Call our office to schedule a free consultation. Firm founding attorney Mark Hurt can:
- Evaluate your claim;
- Explain your options;
- Help ensure that eligibility requirements are met;
- File an initial application for benefits;
- Complete forms for an SSD claim;
- Obtain status updates from the Disability Determination Service;
- Compile medical evidence from physicians and healthcare providers to substantiate a disability claim.
If your claim has been denied Mark Hurt can file an appeal for Reconsideration and represent you in an appeal hearing in seeking to obtain for you the full benefits to which you may be entitled.
25% Contingency Fee Representation on Back Pay Only
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we understand the financial strain that having a disability can cause, which is why we only are entitled to a fee if we obtain benefits for clients. In general, if compensation is secured, in most instances our fee will be equal to 25% of the back-pay amount or $6,000, whichever is less. We do not receive any fee based upon future income payments which do not arise or become due after the initial payment is made.
Get Started Today by Calling 276-623-0808 To Schedule a
Why is it Critical to Hire an Experienced Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyer at the Outset of a Claim?
For those who are no longer able to work, it’s important to understand:
- About 70% of Social Security Disability Claims are Initial Denied. Most denials are not due to the lack of a claimant being disabled, but because the application and supporting documentation are deficient.
- Claims filed by experienced SSD lawyers have an approval rate of about three times that of claims filed by those who don’t use lawyers.
- When a claim is not approved, it can take months or longer to get through the reconsideration/appeals process. If a claim is lacking the appropriate supporting documentation, it is not simply the case that an applicant can send in the missing information and get the claim approved. Instead, there will be a reconsideration/appeals process, which will result in a significant delay compared to the claim being approved at the outset.
Do I Have to Hire A Lawyer in Order File for Social Security Disability Income Benefits?
The SSA does not require that a lawyer be used as part of the filing process for social security disability benefits. For those applying for disability benefits, it’s important to realize that less than 30% of initial applications are accepted. Having an experienced social security benefits lawyer on your side can mean the difference between approval of the initial claim or months of delay having to go through the reconsideration/appeals process.
Many people assume that the SSD application process is as simple as completing a few forms. Unfortunately, this is not reality. The initial application process requires extensive paperwork, substantial medical records, employment history documentation, and other personal information. Further, the SSA has strict filing requirements, and even minor errors or omissions will result in a denial of benefits. Overall, the process is extremely complicated, which is why such a high percentage of initial applications are denied.
For over three decades, Mark Hurt has been representing clients; he serves those in Botetourt County and the surrounding communities, including Alleghany, Bath, Rockbridge, Roanoke, Craig, Bedford, and Franklin, and throughout Southwest Virginia. As an experienced social security benefits lawyer, he knows the Social Security review process and the rules governing eligibility. If you would like to apply for benefits, Mark and our team can assist in compiling the necessary documentation and review your initial application to identify inconsistencies or missing elements that are critical to proving a disability.
What Conditions Automatically Qualify for Disability?
The SSA maintains a “Blue Book” that lists numerous impairments that automatically qualify as a disability, such as quadriplegia. The Blue Book is a state-governed manual that is overseen by the Disability Determination Services. It determines whether a person meets the requirements for total disability.
While the conditions listed in the Blue Book will qualify an individual as being disabled, it is still possible to be eligible for benefits with an unlisted condition. If an individual has a debilitating injury, illness, or disease that is as severe as one of the impairments on the list, SSD benefits may be awarded.
Can I Go Back to Work After Getting on Disability?
The SSA allows for some flexibility in making minimal earnings while on disability. Currently, a claimant who is on disability could work and earn a maximum of $1,2670 per month. However, the administration considers it to be substantial gainful activity if this amount is exceeded.
Individuals are permitted nine months of earnings or approximately $1,200 without any effect on their monthly benefits. However, if this time is exceeded, entitlement to benefits can be suspended, or in some cases, terminated entirely.
Will I Get Less Disability Benefits if I am on Workers’ Compensation?
SSD benefits may be reduced if an individual is collecting workers’ compensation. This offset applies only when the cumulative total of workers’ compensation and SSD benefits exceed 80% of an individual’s pre-disability “average current earnings.”
The SSA rules allow for several opportunities to minimize the amount of payments subject to the offset. For example, certain expenses such as dependent costs, rehabilitation bills, and medical expenses are excluded from workers’ compensation settlement amounts. Alternatively, a person can opt to receive a lump-sum worker’s comp settlement in payments spread out over the rest of their life. This method can significantly decrease the offset or even eliminate it.
The offset rules can be exceedingly difficult to calculate and understand, which is why it is vital to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the process. At The Law Firm of Mark T. Hurt, we can evaluate your workers’ compensation settlement and provide advice on ways to potentially avoid an SSD benefit reduction.
How Long Do I Have to Wait to Get Disability Benefits?
Wait times can vary extensively, depending on when approval is obtained. It can take up to six months for an examiner to review an initial application. If an approval is issued, benefits are typically awarded within sixty days.
When an initial application is denied, a reconsideration can be requested within 60 days of the denial. This secondary review usually takes an additional six months.
If a denial is issued after the reconsideration, the determination can be appealed in an Administrative Law Judge hearing, which will be scheduled roughly one year out. If the Administrative Law Judge does not issue an approval, an applicant has two final appeal options: review by the Appeals Council and a Federal Court review. If a claim progresses to these stages, it can take several additional years to receive a final determination.
The disability application process can be lengthy and trying. As an experienced Botetourt County SSD lawyer, Mark Hurt will be there for you – whether you need representation for the initial application process, or in reconsideration/appeals.
Improve Your Chances of Obtaining Benefits – Hire The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt!
Duke law school graduate Mark Hurt has over thirty years of legal experience and has successfully represented clients before the Social Security Administration, the Virginia Court of Appeals, and Federal Court (including the United States Supreme Court). Whether you desire to file an initial application or want to appeal a denial, Mark will advocate for you zealously in seeking to secure every benefit to which you are entitled. Call our offices to schedule a free consultation so that we can provide you with the legal representation you need today.
 Social Security: 2014 Virginia Quick Facts, AARP, https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/research/surveys_statistics/general/2014/ssqf/Social-Security-2014-Virginia-Quick-Facts-AARP-res-gen.pdf (In 2012, 211,535 Virginians received Social Security Disability benefits.).
“Ashley was amazing to work with. She has great people skills and I would recommend anyone to this law firm because of my experience”