Should I Hire a Social Security Lawyer for My Disability Claim?
A Social Security Disability (“SSD”) attorney can significantly improve your chances of being awarded disability benefits through a first-time application or an appeal.
For those who have become disabled, it’s important to understand that each year the Social Security Administration (SSA) receives millions of disability applications. Unfortunately, over 65% of the initial applications are denied, even when applicants are disabled and should rightfully qualify.
What You Should Know if You’re Seeking Social Security Disability Benefits
- The SSA will typically take a number of months to evaluate a claim before approving or denying the claim.
- If your claim is denied, you there will be a number of additional months that you will need to wait before an appeal can be heard and considered.
- Whether your claim is ultimately approved is dependent upon both a showing that your disability qualifies for benefits and that all requirements in the claim have been satisfied. A primary reason for benefit denial for many claimants is that they simply assume that because they have a disabling condition, their claim will be quickly approved. Therefore, they fail to meticulously follow all claim requirements.
- The assistance of an experienced social security disability lawyer can help avoid mistakes leading to initial claim denial and unnecessary months of waiting for benefits. A lawyer can also improve the chances of prevailing in an appeal.
The Social Security Appeals Process
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Social Security Income (SSI) application process include a reconsideration and appeals process. With the help of a Social Security Disability lawyer, individuals are often able to successfully appeal and secure the full and fair benefits they deserve.
Appealing a denial can take months; thus, it is advantageous to secure approval of the first application so that benefits can be awarded as soon as possible. This can often be accomplished by meticulously reviewing the forms and documentation required, as well as retaining the services of an experienced social security disability lawyer. Applications that are incomplete, improperly filled out, or lack documentation to prove total disability or the inability to work are almost always denied, which lead to needless delays and a potential financial crisis for those who may be cash-strapped.
As a social security disability attorney with over thirty years of law practice, firm founding attorney Mark Hurt is familiar with the application process and the documentation needed to satisfy the SSA disability requirements. He can evaluate your claim, prepare an application, and review documentation and medical records to ensure that enough evidence is compiled to substantiate your claims, potentially maximizing your chance of a first-time acceptance. If your claim has been wrongfully denied, he can appeal the determination and fight tenaciously to secure the benefits to which you are rightfully entitled.
How Can an SSD Attorney Help Me?
At the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we can help you with your social security benefits claim by:
- Organizing your initial SSDI or SSI application
- Reviewing medical and work documentation to ensure that your claim is adequately supported by evidence
- Checking for application errors
- Tracking the progress of your case as it moves forward and providing you with updates
- Appealing a denial of benefits (if needed)
- Preparing you for an appeal hearing so that you know what to expect
- Tenaciously fighting on your behalf in your appeals hearing or at other stages
- Expediting further appeals
- Leaving no stone unturned in seeking the benefits you deserve
Why Are SSD Claims Typically Denied?
The reasons for a denial of SSD benefits vary from one claim to the next, but there are some common reasons that claims are regularly denied. If you are applying for benefits, it is crucial to be aware of these mistakes, so that you can potentially avoid an unfavorable determination and months of delay.
The following are some of the most common reasons for SSD benefit denials:
- Lack of Medical Evidence. To qualify for SSD, applicants must prove they are unable to work due to a disabling condition. To succeed, substantial medical documentation that evinces this inability to work must be provided. If insufficient medical records are submitted, benefits will not be awarded.
- Prior Denials. Many individuals who receive denials file new claims rather than appeal. This can be a mistake because, in some situations, a claim will be rejected when the SSA reviewer sees that a previous application was submitted and denied. Because of this, it is often advisable to appeal rather than file a new claim.
- Income. Continuing to make too much money after a disabling event can be a disqualifier for SSI benefits. In 2020, an individual earning over $783 per month will exceed the income limitation and be ineligible for compensation. For applicants who are close to this threshold, it can be beneficial to work fewer hours to remain eligible. Of note, there is no income requirement for SSDI benefits.
- Failure to Cooperate. If an applicant does not provide documentation or attend scheduled medical visits, approval is unlikely.
- Failure to Follow Treatment. If an individual fails to follow their treatment plan, SSD will likely be denied, as the examiner may be unable to accurately determine whether the condition prevents them from working or if noncompliance with treatment is the cause.
- Incorrect Diagnosis. A physician may conclude that a patient is unable to work because of a disability but may fail to order tests that support the diagnosis or described the condition in a way that an examiner would recognize as a disabling condition.
- Unfocused Medical Documentation. Submitting medical records does not automatically lead to an approval. Documentation must contain the specific language needed to fit with the SSA’s classification of disability.
If you have a disability, a technicality or minor error should not stop you from being awarded benefits. We can guide you through the process and help you avoid these common pitfalls to ensure that your application has a substantially higher chance of first-time acceptance.
When Should I Call a Social Security Benefits Lawyer?
In applying for social security disability benefits, the general rule is “the earlier, the better.” If you are considering filing for disability, we urge you to call our office to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible. Compiling the necessary documentation to substantiate a disability claim will take some time, and the sooner you get started, the sooner you may be able to receive benefits. We can help you evaluate the strength of your case and assist you with your initial application to ensure you have the greatest chance of success possible.
If you were denied benefits, we would love to help. We can improve the likelihood of approval and may be able to move your case more quickly through the system, especially if your financial situation is dire or if your condition is terminal.
Contact Our Office Today at 276-623-0808 to Get Started!
 SSI Federal Payment Amounts for 2020, SSA, https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/SSI.html.
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