Social Security Disability (SSD) income can be a critical safety net for disabled individuals who have a physical or mental injury, illness, or condition that prevents them from working. For workers who meet the work and other requirements established by the Social Security Administration (SSA), disability benefits include monthly income checks that continue so long as a disabling condition persists, up until retirement age (when retirement benefits will begin).
Most Social Security Benefit Claims Initially Are Denied
The SSA has strict requirements concerning approval of SSD claims, and unless all requirements are met, a claim must be denied, even if it appears that the applicant meets the medical qualifications for being considered disabled. As a result, over 70% of initial claims are rejected.
In most cases, benefits would have been awarded if the applicant had provided all of the proper information. Because of the SSA rules, however, when an application is denied, an applicant must go through an appeals process that can be lengthy, even if the reason for denial is a small technical matter.
As Galax Virginia SSD lawyers and social security attorneys, we are experienced in preparing and filing claims, and know how to present the requisite information that is usually required by the SSA. With this knowledge, we have a much higher approval rate than applicants who choose to submit a claim without legal counsel.
Firm founding attorney Mark Hurt can assist in preparing the paperwork and documentation for the initial application, and if your claim has previously been denied, he can represent you in a reconsideration and an appeal hearing (if one is necessary). Our team can also work with medical experts who can document your condition and offer testimony on your behalf.
Call Us for a Free Consultation and Learn How We Can Help
If you have questions concerning qualifying for benefits, whether you can return to work, appeal options, or the general application process, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free consultation. If we represent you, we will only charge a fee if you win your SSD case. Our fee is typically capped at 25% of the backpay amount or $6,000, whichever is less (we are not entitled to any fee for future benefit payments which are not yet due).
Because Our Fee is Relatively Low for Initial Filings, We Encourage All Applicants to Contact Us at the Outset of their Disability
When a person first becomes disabled, because of the waiting period, their “back pay” will be very limited. Our fee, if a claim is successful, will only be 25% of that back pay. And, if we are successful in the initial application, an applicant normally will begin to receive SSD income and benefits in a number of months after the application has been filed.
Conversely, if an applicant files a claim on their own, their claim is much more likely statistically to be denied. If that happens, not only will the applicant normally be in financial hardship as a result of not receiving any pay for a number of months from not working, but the additional delay of many more months with no income will significantly increase their financial burden, often resulting in having to rely on high interest credit cards in order to get by.
How Is Eligibility for Social Security Disability Determined?
The Social Security Administration will consider your age, education, past work history, and medical condition when making an eligibility determination. To qualify, applicants must prove that they are (or expect to be) disabled from all employment for a minimum of one year, or that their condition is expected to result in death. Additionally, claimants must also have paid into the Social Security system for a sufficient amount of time during their careers (we can advise you of these requirements concerning your situation).
Applications are reviewed through the local Social Security Administration and state Disability Determination Services, and can be submitted by mail, telephone, or online. While Galax does not have a field office, an application can be filed in-person at the following nearby location:
Social Security Office
130 Withers Lane
Virginia, Wytheville, 24382
The application process can take a significant amount of time; thus, it is vital to file for benefits as soon as a disability arises. It is critical to provide accurate information regarding the date of disability, as even small errors or discrepancies can result in a denial. Additionally, the names and addresses of all physicians must be provided so that the SSA can acquire medical records and evaluate the extent of a condition.
How Much Does Social Security Disability (SSD) Pay?
Disability payments are unique for every individual. If eligible for benefits, the amount of the SSD payments will depend on an individual’s average lifetime earnings before the disability began, not on the severity of the condition or financial need. In 2020, the maximum benefit is $3,011 per month; however, most recipients receive a monthly benefit between $800 and $1,800.
Social Security bases disability benefits on the amount of income that is paid into the Social Security Disability Insurance program (referred to as “covered earnings”). When assessing disability amounts, a complicated equation (involving many different calculations and figures) is used. Because of the complexity of the formula, most individuals have difficulty determining the potential monthly amount they may collect.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits to which you may be entitled, call our office to schedule a free consultation. We can evaluate your work history and documentation to help in determining how much you may potentially receive.
If Your Application is Denied, SSD Attorney Mark Hurt Can Help You Through the Appeals Process
If your application is denied, you should promptly notify our firm so that an appeal, called a “Request for Reconsideration,” can be timely filed. During a reconsideration, the SSA will take a second look at eligibility for disability benefits, and additional evidence may be presented to substantiate a claim further. If a denial is issued at this stage, we can assist in filing a request for a hearing, which must be submitted within sixty days of receipt of a notice of denial. There are some situations in which this time period may be extended, in general the Request for Reconsideration should always be filed within the 60 day period unless an applicant is physically not able to do so.
At a hearing, applicants are required to appear and testify before an Administration Law Judge who will render a decision on benefits. Much like a traditional court hearing, evidence can be presented, and witnesses can testify on a claimant’s behalf.
Statistically, having an experienced attorney by your side can significantly increase your chances of receiving an approval. Galax Social Security Disability attorney Mark Hurt has been through the disability appeals process and understands what is needed to secure approval. If you would like to file an appeal, we can help you through the process and tenaciously fight in seeking to obtain the full benefits to which you are rightfully entitled.
Is There a Waiting Period to Get SSD Benefits?
Once approved, benefits typically begin within thirty to sixty days. However, if an individual is collecting workers’ compensation or long-term disability, it may take longer, as the SSA must calculate any potential offset of benefits.
If a claim is denied and an appeal is necessary, it can take months or even years to secure an approval. Therefore, it is essential for a claimant to speak with an attorney as soon as possible, so that the appeals process can be started immediately.
The disability claims process can be complex and confusing. At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we can explain the survivor benefits to which you may be entitled and help you timely submit all required paperwork.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for Social Security Disability?
While it is not mandatory to hire an attorney, it recommended as a way to increase your odds of securing a favorable disability determination. Statistically speaking, an individual who is represented by counsel is three times more likely to be awarded benefits over an unrepresented applicant.
With over three decades of legal experience, Mark Hurt can assist in compiling critical medical documentation and in preparing an initial application. He can also provide compelling legal arguments before an Administrative Law Judge if an appeal hearing is necessary.
Contact us at 276-623-0808 to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help with your SSD claim.
“Ashley was amazing to work with. She has great people skills and I would recommend anyone to this law firm because of my experience”
This law firm is excellent to work with and I highly recommend them. Jessica was great to work with for me filing a disability claim through the Social Security Administration. She answered all my questions and concerns quickly and efficiently.