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It is not uncommon for first-time claimants to have their requests for Social Security disability (SSD) initially denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Many times, applications are filed incorrectly or without the appropriate documentation; in fact, approximately 60% of first-time applicants will have their requests denied. By enlisting the help of an experienced Fort Myers attorney, however, you may be able to increase your chances of recovery.
At Morgan & Morgan’s Fort Myers office, our attorneys have years of experience helping clients obtain the benefits needed to support their families and proceed with their lives as if they were able to work. Our Fort Myers Social Security disability attorneys have a thorough understanding of the Social Security disability claims process and know how to best complete, support, and submit a claim for successful recovery.
If you are considering filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits, or have had your claim denied or undervalued, our Fort Myers attorneys may be able to help you recover the amount to which you are entitled. Our Fort Myers office is offering free consultations, so please complete our case review form today.
How our Fort Myers Attorneys Can Help With the SSD Application Process
Preparing Your Application for Social Security Disability Benefits
The SSA will require you to complete a number of applications and forms, which will request certain personal information and details regarding your injury. This paperwork can be difficult to process at times but can be simplified with the help of a Fort Myers Social Security disability attorney.
Your attorney can help ensure that your application meets all of the SSA’s requirements and is submitted before any applicable deadlines. Your attorney can also gather and submit documents and other evidence in support of your claim, as this can help increase your chances of the SSA seriously considering your application and ultimately awarding you benefits.
Handling Discussions with the SSA
After your claim for Social Security disability benefits has officially been filed with the SSA, the administrator assigned to your case may have questions regarding your application. Your Fort Myers attorney can handle these discussions and answer any questions on your behalf. While your application is in being reviewed, your attorney can update you as to the status of your claim, inform you of any issues that have arisen, and explain any additional steps you may need to take to help the SSA complete their review.
Receiving Finalized Claims
Once your claim has been reviewed by the SSA review board, you will receive notice of their decision. Your claim may either be approved or denied. In cases of approval, you may be content with the benefits awarded to you; in other cases, your attorney may feel you have been considerably under compensated. In these cases, your attorney can appeal the decision. If your request for benefits is denied, your attorney may also appeal the claim for an additional review.
Social Security Disability Claims Appeals
Your attorney is permitted to file an appeal within 60 days of your receipt of the SSA’s notice regarding the outcome of your claim. There are four potential opportunities for appeal, which may or may not be available for each claim. A judge will determine whether you may appeal the decision to a higher authority.
Reconsideration—Your application will be reviewed by a Social Security claims examiner who was not present during the initial review.
Administrative Law Judge Review—If your claim is denied in reconsideration an administrative law judge (ALJ) will hold an official hearing to review your initial claim, examine additional supporting evidence your attorney may have discovered, and listen to witness accounts.
SSA Appeals Council—If the former appeal is unsuccessful, your attorney may request to have your claim reviewed by the SSA Appeals Council. The Council will review all requests but is not obligated to grant each claim an additional hearing.
Federal District Lawsuit—Should the Council deny your request, your attorney has the option of filing a lawsuit in federal district court.
In Florida, the SSA is not required to provide injured workers with benefits for a short-term disability. A short-term disability is considered a disability which prevents the injured employee from working for less than one year. Short-term disabilities may include a back injury, stroke, heart attack, disease, manageable psychological impairment, or fracture that makes work difficult for the employee, but does not prevent them from performing their work tasks and duties. The SSA may decide a disabled worker has alternative resources through workers’ compensation, insurance, and personal savings. Contacting a Fort Myers Social Security disability attorney can help you secure benefits that the SSA is not required, but permitted, to award for a short-term disability. Some employers will have insurance policies to cover short-term disability benefits for their employees. Additionally, the American Family and Medical Leave Act may provide employees up to twelve weeks of unpaid time off to recover from their injury or care for a family member.
You may be classified as having a “disability” by the SSA if “you cannot do work that you did before; [the SSA] decide[s] that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and your disability has lasted or is expected to last for one year or to result in death.” The SSA will review your claim to determine whether you meet the requirements necessary to receive long-term disability benefits. The SSA will determine:
- The amount you are earning if you are currently working. In general, applicants whose income exceeds $1,040 a month will not be considered “disabled” by the SSA.
- Whether your condition interferes with basic work-related activities.
- Whether your injury or illness is listed as one of the SSA’s pre-determined disabling conditions. Conditions that are not on the list may be evaluated for severity separately.
- Whether you are able to perform the work you did prior to your injury or illness. If you are capable of doing so, you may not be eligible for benefits.
- Whether you are capable of performing other work.
If you have sustained an injury at work, you may be able to receive SSD benefits for your recovery. To be aware of how our Fort Myers attorneys may be able to help you recover benefits, please complete our case review form. The attorneys at our Fort Myers office are offering consultations at no cost and with no obligation to you.