Most people diligently pay into their social security benefits hoping that if they fall upon hard times, a safety net will be available. Unfortunately, for all too many people living in Fort Lauderdale, claims for social security disability benefits are routinely denied, often without good reason or explanation.
Even following a serious accident or illness, you may find that your rightful claim is shot down, placing you and your family in a difficult financial situation. That’s where our social security disability attorneys in Fort Lauderdale can help.
Our attorneys in Fort Lauderdale have decades of experience helping families get the social security disability benefits they need to survive following a severe injury or accident. Whether you’re applying for benefits for the first time, or you’re appealing a previously denied claim, our expertise in social security law can help improve your chances of getting your SSD application accepted.
If you are feeling hopeless after trying to navigate the long and complex social security disability process, we may be able to help. Fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form today.
Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability?
In order to receive social security disability benefits, you must meet certain qualifications by law. In Florida, applicants for social security disability must meet these conditions:
- Working long enough. For most people who have worked regularly, even part time, they will have worked long enough to qualify for this first condition. Those who have not worked very long or have worked “under the table” may have trouble with this condition.
- Having a disability, as defined by the Social Security program. This condition is more difficult to meet.
What exactly is defined as a disability? Under the social security program, a disability is defined as the following:
- A serious or physical mental impairment which prevents a person from engaging in work and other substantial gainful activities; and
- This impairment must be expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
The Social Security Administration has a list of medical conditions that it considers “disabling conditions.” If your medical condition does not fall under these lists of illnesses, you can still apply for SSD benefits. This list includes, but is not limited to, the following conditions:
- Mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder, autism, depression, panic attacks, anxiety, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
- Musculoskeletal system problems, such as back and spine conditions, arthritis, amputations, fractures, carpal tunnel syndrome, or scoliosis;
- Skin disorders including psoriasis, burns, and ichthyosis;
- Respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, emphysema, primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), cystic fibrosis and lung transplants;
- Immune system disorders, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), HIV/AIDS, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis;
- Digestive tract problems, such as Crohn’s Disease, liver disease, hepatitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD);
- Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes;
- Neurological disorders, such as cerebral palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy; and
- Most kinds of cancer.
Appealing a Denied Claim
Most SSD applications are initially rejected, but that’s no reason to give up hope on getting the benefits you need. There is an appeal process available and over half of initial denials are later reversed through this process. The process can be complicated, though, so it’s best to have an experienced social security disability benefits attorney in Fort Lauderdale take you through the following steps:
The Administrative Law Judge – An initial SSD application is decided by a functionary at a state-run Disability Determination Service (DDS). An administrative law judge (ALJ), however, is an independent decision-maker employed by the federal government and wholly independent from the DDS. The ALJ reviews the claimant’s medical records, work history, and other information. The ALJ then makes a written decision which can be fully favorable, partially favorable, or unfavorable.
Appeals Council – A claimant who receives a partially favorable or unfavorable decision can appeal the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council reviews the record, including a recording or transcript of the hearing and the evidence submitted, and decides if the ALJ made an error in judgment. If the Council does not believe a mistake was made, it will affirm the decision.
Federal District Court – After the Appeals Council, the only remaining remedy is to file suit in Federal Court. Typically, Federal Magistrate Judges review the available record and decide if the decision-makers below violated any applicable laws or regulations. Very few cases reach this level, but those that do have a surprisingly high success rate.
Our Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale Can Help
Whether you’re applying for social security disability benefits for the first time, or you’re appealing a denied claim, our attorneys can help. Our social security disability benefits lawyers at Morgan & Morgan have decades of experience helping clients to get the benefits they need after a long fight with the SSA.
Fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form to learn how our Fort Lauderdale social security disability attorneys can help you.