If you cannot work because of a physical or mental disability, you may be able to qualify for Social Security benefits. However, there are certain requirements you must meet when filing an application with the Social Security Administration, and even the smallest error can prevent you from recovering benefits.
At Morgan & Morgan, our Social Security Disability attorneys can help you prepare your application to increase your chances of recovering benefits. Additionally, if your claim has been denied, we can represent you at a hearing before the Social Security Administration and present evidence demonstrating that you are in fact disabled and entitled to benefits. Our attorneys have handled hundreds of disability applications on behalf of Florida residents and understand how to produce successful results for their clients.
Planning on applying for Social Security disability benefits? Has your claim already been denied? If you have questions about your rights in regard to Social Security benefits, contact the attorneys in our Lakeland office for a free case review. We may be able to help you qualify for benefits.
Who We Can Help
Our attorneys handle cases on behalf of people who have not yet filed for benefits, as well as those whose claims have already been denied.
We handle all types of Social Security disability claims and appeals, including:
Social Security Disability Insurance: Our Lakeland attorneys can help you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (referred to as “SSD” or “SSDI”) by proving that:
- You can no longer do the work you did before you became disabled,
- You cannot perform any other type of work because of your physical or mental disability, and
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or is expected to result in death
In determining whether your disability prevents your from working, the Social Security Administration will take into account your age, education and work experience. To qualify for disability benefits, your application must contain recent medical records detailing a physical or mental impairment that prevents you from working. Your attorney will ensure that your application or appeal contains sufficient medical information proving that you are unable to work and qualify for a disability benefit.
In general, to qualify for SSDI you must have worked at least five years within the last ten years before you developed the disability. Children may also be eligible to collect benefits if a parent qualifies for SSDI. In addition, after receiving SSDI for two years, you will automatically become eligible for Medicare.
Your Social Security attorney will walk you through the disability benefits process and make sure that you receive all benefits to which you and your family are entitled.
Supplemental Security Income: Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) is a needs-based program that provides benefits to the elderly, blind, and disabled. Applicants must have limited income and resources to qualify for SSI benefits. Many states also pay a supplemental benefit in addition to the federal SSI benefit.
- Disabled Widow/Widower Benefits: If you are a widow or widower over the age of 50 who developed a disability within seven years of your spouse’s death, our attorneys may be able to help you qualify for a disabled widow/widower benefit. You must have been married for at least ten years prior to your spouse’s death to qualify for this benefit.
- Disabled Adult Child Benefits: Disabled children between 18 and 22 years of age may be eligible for a Disabled Adult Child (“DAC”) benefit if one of the child’s parents is deceased or is receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits. To qualify for benefits, the disabling impairment must have started before age 22 and the claimant must satisfy the definition of disability for adults. In addition, a disabled adult child can qualify for Social Security benefits even if he or she has never worked.
Applicants with Denied Claims
If the Social Security Administration has denied your claim for benefits, our attorneys can file an appeal on your behalf seeking to overturn the decision. Over the years, we have found that the Social Security Administration often incorrectly denies valid disability claims for a number of reasons. For example, the Social Security Administration may deny your claim if your paperwork is not completed correctly or if you fail to submit recent medical records demonstrating your disabling medical condition. By working with Morgan & Morgan, our experienced disability attorneys can review your denied claim and evaluate your options for filing an appeal.
What Happens in an Appeal?
There are four steps in the Social Security disability benefits appeal process. If your claim for benefits is denied at one stage of the appeals process, you still have a right to dispute the Social Security Administration’s decision in the next stage of the appeal. Our Lakeland attorneys can help you navigate through the appeals process to help maximize your odds of qualifying for a benefit.
Four Stages of a Social Security Disability Benefit Appeal
Reconsideration: Your attorney will ask the Social Security Administration to reconsider its decision. He or she will submit any new medical evidence that is available to support your claim. In reconsidering a denied claim, the Social Security Administration will assign a different reviewer to evaluate your claim and determine if you qualify for benefits.
Hearing: If your claim is not approved after the reconsideration review, your attorney may request a hearing before an administrative law judge. At the hearing, your attorney will present evidence to the judge in support of your claim for disability benefits. You will have an opportunity to testify and explain to the judge why you are no longer able to work because of a disabling medical condition. Prior to the hearing, your disability benefits attorney will review the types of questions the judge may ask to prepare you for the hearing. Your attorney may also hire a medical expert to explain to the judge why you qualify for disability benefits.
Appeals Council Review: If the administrative law judge denies your claim following the hearing, you may request that the Social Security Appeals Council review your claim. 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 your claim is denied after the Appeals Council Review, your attorney may file a lawsuit in federal court seeking to overturn the Social Security Administration’s denial of benefits.
How Much Does a Social Security Disability Lawyer Cost?
The Social Security Administration strictly regulates attorneys’ fees in disability cases to ensure that hiring a lawyer is an affordable option for everyone. If you are represented by Morgan & Morgan, you will only pay a fee if we are able to obtain benefits for you.
Under federal law, the legal fees in a Social Security disability cases are limited to 25 percent of past due benefits and cannot exceed $6,000. Your Social Security disability attorney will answer any questions that you have regarding the fee arrangement.
To contact our Lakeland office regarding your claim for benefits, complete our free case review form today.