Sullivan County, TN Social Security Disability Lawyer and SSD Attorney
In Tennessee, applying and obtaining Social Security Disability (SSD) involves an extremely complex administrative process. No matter how apparent a debilitating injury might be, one small administrative error on the initial application will result in a denied claim.
What many SSD claimants do not know is that approximately 70% of all initial disability claims are rejected by the Social Security Administration (SSA). When denials occur, the applicants are often left frustrated and uncertain about how to proceed.
Moreover, a denial has real financial consequences. How are the bills going to be paid if a person cannot work? What about if the applicant has a family to support?
How We Help Those Seeking SSD Benefits
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we recognize the financial and emotional situations of our clients, and how the inability to work – and the lack of income – factors into family dynamics.
We want potential clients to know many of the facts and statistics related to securing disability benefits, such as claimants are three times more likely to secure disability benefits when a lawyer represents them. Thus, it is typically in an applicant’s best interest to contact as experience social security disability lawyer such as Mark Hurt at the outset to have the best chances of success.
Mark provides tenacious legal representation and is experienced in Social Security Disability law. Whether you need help filing an initial application, completing complicated disability questionnaires, or developing a strong case to present at an appeals hearing, our team of Social Security Disability professionals is here to help guide you throughout every step of the process. Call our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!
Why Should I Hire a Sullivan County Social Security Disability Lawyer?
Firm founding attorney Mark Hurt has been effectively representing injured clients for over three decades. While our firm is proud of our many successful cases, our most significant point of pride is the high level of service and care we provide to each of our SSD clients. We understand the difficulties of injuries and illnesses that keep individuals from working, including the stress caused by the financial aspects involved. When you hire The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, you will work directly with Mark Hurt and our team, who will be there to answer your questions and help guide you through the process whenever needed.
How Much Do You Charge for Legal Representation for Social Security Disability Claims?
We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only collect a fee if benefits are obtained. Additionally, our fee is capped at 25% of the back-pay benefits obtained or $6,000 (whichever is less) in most situations. Importantly, because our fee is only based on back-pay benefits (the amount owed up to the time that a favorable determination is made), you will not need to pay us anything for future benefits that are not yet due.
Wouldn’t It Be Better if I File My Claim Myself, and Then Hire a Lawyer if I Lose? Why This is Not a Good Strategy
If your claim is denied (and about 70% of the initial claims are denied), you will need to wait months before an appeal can be made and heard. During this period, two things will occur – you will be without the disability benefit pay that you likely very much need, and the cost to retain a lawyer will increase (as the back-pay amount will be greater).
It is therefore much better to retain a social security disability attorney at the outset, improve your chances for getting a claim approved, and pay a much lower legal fee (as the back-pay amount at that time will be much smaller).
How Do I Qualify for SSD Benefits?
To qualify for Social Security Disability Income benefits, applicants must have a qualifying disability and have earned a certain number of work credits during their careers.
To meet the SSA “qualifying disability” requirement, an individual must:
- Be under age 65
- Be unable to work for at least 12 months due to a debilitating mental or physical impairment
- Have an injury or illness that is not expected to improve within one year
- Have a condition that will likely result in death
When working, most people pay Social Security taxes on their earnings, which goes toward disability benefits. The SSA uses a system of work credits to track this information.
Each year, a maximum of up to four credits can be awarded; however, yearly, the amount of income needed for one credit changes. For instance, in 2018, workers received one credit for every $1,320 earned, whereas in 2020, $1,410 of income is needed. Typically, 40 credits must be accumulated to qualify for benefits, 20 of which must be earned within ten years before the disability date. In certain limited circumstances, it may be possible to be eligible for benefits with fewer credits, such as if an individual is disabled at a young age and does not have a long work history.
Because work credit requirements fluctuate and certain exceptions may apply, it can be challenging to determine if all credit requirements have been satisfied. If you are unsure if you qualify for SSD, Mark Hurt can evaluate your vocational history, help assess whether you meet the requirements for benefits, and explain your options.
If I Qualify for Social Security Disability, Can I Get Medical Benefits?
Social Security Disability was designed to provide income supplementation to people who are physically restricted in their ability to work because of a disability, not to cover medical expenses (although, many individuals still use benefit compensation to cover medical care). To fill this gap, when an individual qualifies for SSD, the government provides Medicare benefits for medical care two years (plus a five-month waiting period) from the date the SSA determines a disability began.
Do I Have to Wait to Get SSD Benefits?
On average, it takes three to five months for the SSA to render a decision regarding an initial application. If a claim is denied and an appeal is necessary, applicants will often wait months (or even years) while the appeals process transpires. Because of the potential for long wait times, it is critical for applicants to do everything possible in seeking to have a claim approved at the initial filing stage (which is why retaining a social security lawyer at the outset makes sense).
As many initial applications are denied for minor administrative errors or omissions, having an experienced attorney handling a claim can help avoid common pitfalls. An SSD attorney can also increase the chances of securing a timely approval if an appeal is needed, as they understand the process and what an examiner or appeals judge may be looking for to overturn a denial.
My SSD Application was Denied. What Can I Do?
If your SSD application was denied, you are part of the majority. Only 30% of initial claims are approved, meaning that the odds of quickly securing benefits are not in most applicant’s favor. However, the chances of obtaining an approval increase exponentially if a denial is appealed, as more than 50% of determinations are overturned during appeal hearings.
If the SSA denies a claim, claimants may appeal the determination through a four-level system, which includes the following sequential steps:
- Request for Reconsideration;
- Administrative Law Judge Hearing;
- Review by the SSA Appeals Council; and
- Federal Court Review.
Applicants only have a small window to request an appeal at each of these levels; thus, acting fast is crucial. If a timely request is not filed, the ability to secure benefits may be compromised, as a claim can be permanently denied. If you received a denial and would like to appeal, it is vital to contact our offices as soon as possible in order to ensure that deadlines can be timely met.
Call The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt to Schedule a Free Appointment Today!
If you need help with your Social Security Disability claim, have questions about your medical records or how to provide the right medical evidence for an application, need assistance appealing a denial, or have other issues pertaining to a disability claim, contact our offices to schedule a complimentary case evaluation. Mark Hurt can examine your application to determine if there are any errors or omissions and can also assist in gathering the necessary medical evidence needed to increase your chances of success.
We have handled injury cases for over thirty years and have in-depth knowledge regarding SSD claims – do not waste time trying to work through the process alone! As an an experienced Sullivan County SSD lawyer, Attorney Mark Hurt is prepared to go to work for you. Call our offices at 276-623-0808 to get started!
 Social Security Credits, see the website for the Social Security Administration for additional information.