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People trying to make their first claim for Social Security disability have often found themselves denied benefits in their time of need. This puts people in a precarious position, being unable to work but not having the disability benefits they sorely need to survive. Morgan & Morgan has experienced and dedicated Social Security disability attorneys that have helped thousands of clients qualify for benefits that they had previously been denied.
Many receive initial denials, but it’s important to not lose hope. An experienced attorney may be able to appeal and get you the benefits you need. It’s important to know that just because your claim was initially denied does not mean the fight for your benefits is over.
Defining Disability Under Social Security
Often, when a Social Security disability claim is denied, it is because the person’s injury failed to meet Social Security’s requirements for what a disability is. In order to qualify as disabled, a claimant must have a serious physical or mental impairment which prevents that claimant from engaging in any substantial gainful activity and that can be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
Each of the terms within this definition has its own unique meaning within the Social Security program. For instance, “substantial gainful activity” generally means employment for pay that provides the claimant a net income of more than a certain amount per month. This amount changes every year and is $1,170 for 2017. The Social Security Administration also uses a list of diseases and medical conditions – often referred to as “listings” – to determine if a medical impairment is serious enough to prevent a person from working.
If the claimant does not meet a listing, then other circumstances are evaluated to determine whether their impairment fits the definition of “disabled.”
The Social Security Disability Appeals Process
The appeals process for trying to secure Social Security disability after a denied claim can be a complicated and somewhat long-winded process. That’s why having a Morgan & Morgan attorney by your side is so helpful. Our attorneys can help make the process simpler for you and get it done as quickly as they can - and with their contingency-fee basis, you won’t get bogged down in legal costs while they help you.
There are four levels of the Social Security disability appeals process.
- Reconsideration: A reconsideration of a disability claim consists of a full review of the application by a new Social Security reviewer. In this stage, your disability attorney may submit any new evidence that is available in support of the claim.
- Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge: If the Social Security Administration denies the reconsideration, your attorney may request a hearing. An administrative law judge presides over this hearing. At the hearing, your disability attorney will present evidence to the judge in support of your claim for disability benefits. Your attorney may use an expert witness to explain to the judge why you qualify for disability benefits.
- Review by the Appeals Council: If the administrative law judge denies your claim, you may request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council considers all requests for review, but it may deny a request for review if it believes the hearing decision was correct.
- Federal Court Review: If the claim is still 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.
Contact a Morgan & Morgan Attorney Today
Don’t hesitate to contact a Morgan & Morgan Social Security disability benefits attorney. Our Boston attorneys may be able to get you the benefits you need for your disability. For a free evaluation of your case, fill out our no-obligation review form.