Whether you are just beginning the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits or believe your claim has been improperly denied by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”), the disability attorneys in our Winter Haven office can help you recover the benefits you deserve. For first-time applicants, our lawyers can complete the necessary paperwork to ensure your application complies with the SSA’s rules and procedures. If your initial claim for benefits has been denied, our Winter Haven disability attorneys can represent you at an appeal hearing and present additional medical evidence to help overturn the SSA’s decision.
If you are unable to work because of a physical or mental disability, find out how our Winter Haven attorneys may be able to help you. Please complete our case review form today for a free, no-risk consultation.
Our Winter Haven Social Security disability attorneys can provide legal assistance at any stage of the disability claims process:
Collecting All Required Documents: To qualify for disability benefits, the SSA requires that you submit documentation that shows you are unable to work because of a physical or mental disability. For example, you will be required to submit medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics, and caseworkers detailing your inability to return to work. Your doctors may be required to complete certain forms and submit relevant medical records to the SSA. In addition, you will need to submit a summary of where you worked and the type of work you performed. Furthermore, you will need to submit a copy of your most recent W-2 Form or, if you are self-employed, your federal tax return from the prior year. Your Winter Haven disability attorney will work with you to gather all required paperwork and make sure it is submitted to the SSA in a timely manner.
Filing an Initial Claim: If you are unable to work because of a physical or mental disability, an attorney from our Winter Haven office can complete your Social Security disability application and submit it to the SSA on your behalf. Your lawyer will complete all required paperwork so that it complies with the SSA’s rules and procedures, which require clear and unambiguous documentation of your disabling medical condition.
Filing an Appeal: If the SSA has improperly denied your claim, your attorney may file an appeal seeking to overturn the decision. As part of the appeals process, your attorney will gather all necessary medical records and submit them to the court. Your attorney may also contact your treating physician in Winter Haven and request that he or she issue a written medical opinion regarding your ability to work. Furthermore, your disability attorney will review with you the types of questions that the judge may ask during your appeal.
Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (referred to as “SSD” or “SSDI”): Social Security disability insurance can provide benefits to you and certain family members if you are unable to perform the essential functions of your current occupation or another type of job because of a physical or mental disability. To be considered disabled by the SSA, your disabling medical condition must have lasted, or be expected to last, for at least one year. The amount of the monthly benefit is based on your earnings history.
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”): SSI is a need-based program intended to assist people with limited resources who are age 65 or older or who have a disabling medical condition. In some cases, a disabled person may qualify for both SSD and SSI benefits. Generally, an individual qualifies for SSI benefits if the person has less than $2,000 in assets. A married couple may qualify for SSI if they have total assets amounting to less than $3,000. For purposes of qualifying for SSI, the value of an applicant’s house and car is usually not included in determining total assets. SSI is also available to children who have a disability.
Disabled Adult Child Benefits (“DAC”): Disabled children between the ages of 18 and 22 may be eligible for benefits if one of the child’s parents is deceased or receives Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
Disabled Widow/Widower Benefits (“DWB”): Widows or widowers over the age of 50 who develop a disability within seven years of a spouse’s death may qualify for DWB benefits. To qualify for DWB, the widow or widower must have been married to the deceased for at least ten years.
If your initial claim for Social Security benefits has been rejected, a lawyer from our Winter Haven office will review your application and determine if you were wrongfully denied benefits. If your attorney determines that the SSA has improperly denied your claim, he or she will prepare an appeal on your behalf.
Your Social Security disability attorney will represent you throughout the entire appeals process. The appeals process offers several opportunities to reverse the SSA’s decision. There are four levels of appeal for Social Security disability claims:
Reconsideration: A reconsideration of a disability claim consists of a full review of the application by a new Social Security reviewer. Your attorney may submit any new evidence that is available at that time to support your claim. Most reconsiderations involve a review of the documents in an applicant’s file and do not require that the applicant appear before the SSA.
Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge: If the Social Security Administration denies the reconsideration, your attorney may request a hearing before an administrative law judge. At the hearing, your attorney will present evidence to the judge in support of your claim for disability benefits. He or she may retain an expert witness to explain to the judge why your medical condition qualifies you for disability benefits.
Review by the Appeals Council: If the administrative law judge denies your claim, your attorney may request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council considers all requests for review, but may deny a request if it believes the hearing decision was correct.
Federal Court Review: If your claim remains denied at the conclusion of the appeals process, your attorney may file a lawsuit in federal court seeking to overturn the SSA’s denial of benefits. Your attorney will review the facts of your claim to determine if filing an appeal in federal court is appropriate in your case.
The disability attorneys in our Winter Haven office are paid on a contingency fee basis, which means that we only receive a fee if you qualify for benefits. Attorneys’ fees in Social Security claims are strictly regulated by the SSA, which means that hiring a disability attorney is an affordable option for anyone seeking to qualify for disability benefits.
To learn how our Winter Haven Social Security disability attorneys may be able to help you qualify for benefits, please complete our case review form for a free, no-risk claim evaluation.