Best Disability Lawyers in Connecticut
The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies or approves disability claims based on specific criteria. A majority of disability claims come back denied by the SSA, with just 30.3 percent of the claims filed in Connecticut approved by the federal government agency. Because the odds are stacked against disability applicants, you should consider hiring one of the most experienced disability lawyers in CT.
An experienced disability attorney can help you in several ways. With the average amount of time to process a disability claim in Connecticut at 342 days, a disability lawyer who understands the often-complicated filing process might be able to shorten the waiting period for hearing back on the status of your claim. Working with a disability attorney in Connecticut ensures you submit an accurate claim, with every section completed fully. Not only does the SSA deny claims for insufficient medical evidence, but the federal government agency also denies claims that contain inaccurate information and/or incomplete sections.
For more than three decades, the CT disability lawyers at Morgan & Morgan have helped clients submit disability claims the SSA eventually approved. We understand what it takes to convince a team of medical examiners at the SSA to approve a claim for Social Security disability benefits. Our team of disability lawyers in CT works closely with your healthcare provider to gather and organize the medical records you need to submit for fast-track approval of a disability claim.
Learn more about how the disability lawyers in CT from Morgan & Morgan can help you by scheduling a free case evaluation today.
What Is a Disability Claim?
If you cannot work because of a disabling medical condition, you might qualify for financial assistance through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. To receive financial assistance, you must submit a claim along with documents supporting your request for compensation. A disability claim includes several sections that require detailed and accurate information. You submit your name and contact information in addition to providing the SSA with the names and contact information for every healthcare provider that is associated with your case.
Without sufficient supporting medical evidence, the team of examiners from the SSA that reviews your case will deny your claim. Working with an experienced Social Security disability attorney ensures you file an accurate and fully completed claim, as well as the supporting evidence that proves you suffer from a qualifying disability.
What Documents Do I Need to Submit With My Claim?
When you meet one of our disability lawyers in CT for a free case evaluation, you should bring a wide variety of documents for the attorney to review.
Medical records represent the most important supporting documents for your Social Security disability claim. You need to submit the results of diagnostic tests, as well as a detailed description of your treatments and physical therapy sessions. The SSA wants to know if you paid out of pocket for an assistive device and/or prescription medications. Provide the SSA with the names and contact information of every healthcare provider that delivered some type of medical service. One of our disability lawyers in Connecticut works with your healthcare providers to collect the medical evidence you need to submit a persuasive disability claim.
The SSA wants you to demonstrate a disabling medical condition has forced you out of work. This requires you to submit financial information, such as copies of your bank statements going back several years. There should be a significant decrease in your income because of lost wages. You must submit a detailed history of your earnings going back at least 15 years, as well as the time-keeping records submitted by former employers. You also must list any other types of financial assistance you currently receive from the federal government, including temporary aid for needy families (TANF) and short-term disability payments from an employer or a private-sponsored healthcare plan.
What Are the Most Common Reasons Why the SSA Denies Disability Claims?
The SSA denies Social Security disability claims for several reasons. Submitting an incomplete and/or inaccurate claim represents one of the most common reasons why the SSA denies disability claims. You can avoid making errors on your claim by working with one of the disability lawyers in CT from Morgan & Morgan.
A team of medical examiners from the SSA reviews your claim to determine whether you meet the medical criteria listed in the Blue Book, which is the guide the SSA uses to deny or approve disability claims. The Blue Book contains several sections that list different potentially disabling medical conditions, as well as the symptoms that define the medical conditions. If your medical condition does not meet the standards for symptoms listed in the Blue Book, you can expect the SSA to deny your claim.
The SSA also considers your Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which represents the maximum monthly amount of income you can receive to qualify for disability benefits. For 2022, the monthly SGA for non-blind applicants is $1,350. The SSA has established the SGA for blind individuals in 2022 at $2,260 per month. If you exceed the monthly SGA, you do not qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Finally, you have to miss 12 consecutive months of work to become eligible for financial assistance. You cannot miss eight months of work, return to work for three months, and then miss work again for another four months. The SSA also considers part-time work a disqualifier for disability benefits. If you have not missed 12 consecutive months of work, the SSA will deny your claim for Social Security disability benefits.
What Is the Disability Claim Appeals Process?
With nearly 70 percent of Social Security disability claims in Connecticut coming back denied by the SSA, you should understand the four levels of the appeals process for a denied claim.
Reconsideration represents an appeal of your original disability claim. A different team of medical examiners from the SSA reviews your case once again by analyzing the evidence submitted with your initial claim. The SSA reverses about 15 percent of the original claims denied by the federal government agency.
Administrative Law Judge Hearing
If the SSA denies your appeal for reconsideration, the next step in the appeals process takes you in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Your Social Security disability attorney has 30 days from the date of your denied appeal for reconsideration to request a hearing in front of an ALJ. An ALJ hearing unfolds similar to other types of court proceedings. Your disability lawyer presents the case for you to gain approval of Social Security disability benefits. You should present more compelling evidence than you did when you filed your initial claim and filed an appeal for reconsideration. More than 50 percent of ALJ cases end up with the claimant gaining approval for financial assistance.
If an ALJ denies your appeal for disability benefits, you can take your case to the Appeals Council. This step in the appeals process is not about presenting your case. Instead, the Appeals Council looks for mistakes made by the ALJ during your hearing. If the Appeals Council discovers abuse of discretion, it has the power to overturn the decision made by the ALJ. However, the Appeals Council overturns just one percent of ALJ decisions.
File a Lawsuit
The last step in the appeals process is to file a civil lawsuit in a United States District Court. Your Social Security disability lawyer presents your case in front of a federal judge, without the presence of a jury. Federal judges overturn a small percentage of the decisions made by an ALJ and the Appeals Council. However, more than 50 percent of all cases heard by a federal judge go back to the SSA for further analysis. If the federal judge hearing your case sends it back to the SSA, the Judge will explain why the court decided to require the SSA to give your claim a third look.
How Do I Find the Best Disability Lawyers in CT?
Some of the qualifications you want in one of the best disability lawyers in CT include a proven record of success and experience handling disability cases. The question now is how do you find a disability attorney who matches all the search criteria?
Network With Friends and Family Members
Trusted friends and family members can help you find the right lawyer for your disability benefits case. If you do not receive a recommendation from anyone in your inner circle, branch out a bit by asking neighbors and associates from work to provide suggestions for legal counsel. Do not blindly accept the recommendations given to you by someone you trust. You still have to vet any lawyer that makes your shortlist of candidates.
Lean on Other Disability Applicants
Rehabbing a disability puts you in a position to talk to other people that have gone through the disability claim process. You also might get to know other disabled applicants through community activities and work training sessions. Someone who has gone through the disability claim process with the SSA might be able to recommend one of the best disability lawyers in CT. In fact, getting a recommendation from someone who has gone through the claim process is worth more than getting one from a friend or family member.
If you know any attorneys, you should ask them for advice on choosing an experienced Social Security disability lawyer. The attorneys you contact do not have to practice disability law. All they have to do is connect with you with a lawyer they know that handles Social Security disability cases. The Connecticut Bar Association website offers a feature called “Find a Lawyer” that provides you with access to a large database of attorneys that possess a license to practice law in Connecticut.
Work With a Highly Rated Team of CT Disability Lawyers
Getting word from the SSA concerning the status of your claim should take between three and five months. Because of the frequent backlog of cases, the SSA might take more than five months to resolve your claim. Working with a highly-skilled disability lawyer can help move your claim through the SSA system at a faster pace. Just knowing you have legal representation might motivate the SSA to speed up the claim process for your case.
Hiring one of the disability lawyers in CT from Morgan & Morgan gives you the legal support to submit a completed and accurate claim. We also help clients gather and organize the medical evidence required to receive approval from the SSA for Social Security disability benefits.
Act today by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of our Connecticut disability attorneys.