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How Can I Apply for Disability in Florida?
The Social Security Disability application process is almost the same in every US state because it is a federal program. However, there might be slight differences in the application procedures, depending on the state you reside in. For example, if you live in Florida, here's how to apply for disability.
How to Apply for Social Security in Florida
In Florida, you can apply for Social Security Disability in three different ways, as explained below:
Head over to the Social Security Administration online portal and provide the required details to apply online.
Applying Over the Phone
To submit your application via phone, you may call the SSA's customer service number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
You can also apply in person by visiting your local Social Security Field Offices. Here's a list of Social Security field offices in Florida, including their addresses and phone numbers.
What to Consider When Applying for Disability Benefits
Applying for disability benefits in Florida or any other state is not a challenge. The main challenge is getting accepted. Here are some important factors to consider when applying for disability benefits.
Do You Work?
You may not be eligible for disability benefits if you're currently working or participating in a “substantial gainful activity'' despite your disability. Similarly, you may be ineligible for benefits if you can resume working within one year. According to the SSA, the term “substantial gainful activity'' refers to any work that brings in a monthly income greater than $1,350 (in 2022).
How Severe Is Your Condition?
You may not qualify for disability benefits if your condition doesn't stop you from working. To qualify for benefits, you must convince the SSA that your condition, either mental or physical, prevents you from engaging in gainful activity.
Does the SSA Consider Your Condition as a Disabling Condition?
The SSA has a list of 'disabling conditions' that applicants must meet to qualify for disability benefits. These conditions are listed under the term “major body systems.” The SSA describes them as “so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled.”
So what happens if your specific condition is not available on the list? In that case, the SSA will determine whether your specific condition is equal to another medical condition in the list. If it doesn't meet these requirements, your claim will most likely be rejected.
Were You Employed Before?
In some cases, the SSA might conclude that the medical condition is severe but not the same or equal to any medical condition on their list. In that case, the SSA will determine whether the severe condition affects your ability to work at your previous job. And, if it doesn't, you may not be eligible for Social Security benefits.
Can You Work Elsewhere?
If you cannot work at your previous job, the SSA will determine whether you can work elsewhere. Your age, level of education, previous work experience, and transferable skills are some factors that will come into play when determining whether you can work elsewhere. And if the SSA concludes that you can work elsewhere, they'll most likely reject your disability benefits claim.
Should I Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney?
Generally, you don't need a Social Security disability attorney to apply for disability benefits. However, having an attorney significantly increases your chances of approval. Statistics have shown that individuals who apply for disability benefits without an attorney usually have a higher rejection rate than those with attorneys.
This is because the SSA has strict requirements for each applicant to discourage Social Security fraud, which is quite common all over the country. But unfortunately, the SSA might wrongfully reject your petition. And, they usually provide a reason when they do so.
A disability benefits lawyer can help gather important information and documentation needed to file the initial application. They can also apply on your behalf.
Rather than collecting a pile of irrelevant paperwork, such an attorney focuses on the kind of evidence that appeals to the SSA. This approach ensures that you only provide what is necessary to convince the SSA that you deserve disability benefits.
This attorney can also represent you in case your initial application is rejected. When that happens, the attorney can file an appeal on your behalf and appear before an Administrative Law Judge.
And that's not all. A Social Security Disability attorney can help you understand how to answer the judge's questions at the hearing following the appeal.
Then there's the issue of legal resources. When filing an appeal, an attorney can help provide the necessary legal resources to convince the SSA or judge to overturn the decision. For instance, an attorney can hire witnesses, medical experts, and other professionals to testify on your behalf.
An experienced lawyer can also help you understand the kind of disability benefits you're entitled to. For example, the Social Security Administration offers two different benefits programs for different individuals.
The Supplemental Security Income is designed for low-income individuals and those with limited resources. On the other hand, Social Security Disability Insurance is usually not based on need but for people who have worked and paid into the system.
Not knowing the difference between these two or which one you qualify for could lead to the rejection of your application. This can be frustrating given that most individuals usually have to wait up to six months to learn the fate of their applications. The last thing you want to do is wait for six months — or even more, depending on various factors — only to learn that you submitted the wrong application.
In addition, in some cases, you may be eligible for both SSDI and SSI. Unfortunately, you may not know what you're eligible for if you don't talk to an attorney. Again, working with an experienced attorney makes it easier to get things right on the first attempt.
A Social Security attorney can help maximize your benefits. For instance, if you're eligible for SSDI, you could receive benefits for some of the time before you filed your claim. However, you must prove exactly when your disability started for this to work. That's one of the many things an experienced SSD attorney can help you with.
When Should I Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney?
The simplest answer to this question is the earlier, the better. Here's why.
As discussed before, a social security attorney can help file the initial claim on your behalf, minimizing the chances of rejection. Given that millions of people apply for Social Security benefits all over the US each year, it's important that you get things right in the first attempt.
This doesn't necessarily mean that your claim won't be rejected if you have an attorney. Instead, other than the increased chances of approval, an attorney can help you understand your options and help you pursue them to ensure you receive the benefits you need.
Statistics show that 90 percent of people who apply for Social Security benefits usually need the intervention of an expert somewhere down the line. A Social Security Disability attorney is an example of such a professional.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Social Security Attorney in Florida?
The cost of hiring a Social Security Disability attorney in Florida varies from one law firm or lawyer to another. For example, at Morgan & Morgan, we charge our clients on a contingency basis, meaning they don't owe us anything unless we win.
The fact that you need Social Security disability benefits means you aren't earning enough to support yourself or your beloved one. For this reason, Morgan & Morgan is a personal injury law firm that understands. We are a law firm for the people, which explains our reputation for fighting for the rights of ordinary people in Florida and all over the United States.
So if you are wondering whether you can afford an attorney from the largest personal injury law firm in the United States, the answer is yes, you can. All you need to do is call us at 877 448 3117 or send us a message online to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Where Can I Find the Best Disability Attorney in Florida?
Florida is home to thousands of law firms, but none offers the kind of legal representation you'll get at Morgan & Morgan. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, our law firm is the largest of its kind in the United States. We've served clients in Florida and all over the United States for more than three decades and recovered over $10 billion worth of compensation.
Still wondering why we're the best in the industry? We'll explain further.
Powerful Legal Resources
When filing a disability claim, you need to work with an attorney who has access to vast legal resources. This is because the SSA has strict laws, which is why many applications get rejected.
Most ordinary attorneys or law firms can't handle the pressure and stress of filing for Social Security disability benefits. In addition, the back and forth communication with the SSA can be exhausting and time-consuming.
The situation can quickly escalate from stressful to depressing when the SSA requests additional evidence to prove that the individual deserves disability benefits. That's when you'll realize the importance of working with a law firm or attorney with powerful resources.
For example, in some cases, it may be necessary to interview witnesses, hire experts to testify on behalf of the client, gain access to databases, and so forth. At Morgan & Morgan, we have some of the best and most sophisticated legal resources you'll find anywhere in the country.
Experienced Army of Attorneys
Our law firm is dedicated to serving our clients' interests in and out of court, and we don't stop until they find the benefits they need and deserve. Speaking of resources, we have an army of over 800 personal injury attorneys, each specializing in various aspects of injury law. So when you choose to work with one of us, you won't be working with just any kind of attorney — you'll be working with a specialist.
Free Case Evaluation
Many people don't apply for social security disability because they aren't sure whether they qualify. Similarly, those whose applications get rejected rarely appeal because they aren't sure whether they'll be accepted.
At Morgan & Morgan, we're here to tell you that all hope is not lost. That's why we provide a free case evaluation. So whether you're unsure if you qualify for disability or you need to file an appeal, our attorneys may be able to help.
No Upfront Fees
Some law firms provide free consultation but charge you upfront fees before taking on your case. This does not make any sense, especially when you need financial assistance. The last thing you want is a law firm that exploits you financially, especially if you don't even have the money to support yourself, let alone the case.
At Morgan & Morgan, we have a different approach. You don't pay us anything unless we win the case. This means you have nothing to lose but so much to gain.
If you live in Florida, we're located in Orlando, Big Pine Key, Bradenton, Daytona Beach, DeLand, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Gainesville, Miami, Tampa, and many other areas. If you or your loved one needs help applying for disability benefits in Florida, call us today at (407) 563-8000. Alternatively, you can fill out our free case evaluation form online, and one of our representatives will contact you within 24 hours.