If your family lost its main source of income because of an unexpected disability or illness, collecting Social Security disability (SSD) benefits can be crucial for both you and your loved ones; however, as up to 60 percent of first-time applicants will be denied, recovering these benefits without the assistance of an attorney can be tricky.
The Social Security disability attorneys at Morgan & Morgan’s Naples office have seen an unfortunate trend in which applicants do not follow through and appeal a denial—giving up any chance of recovering benefits. With the assistance of an experienced Naples Social Security disability attorney, your chances of successfully appealing a denied claim—or recovering benefits with your initial claim—can increase tremendously.
The Social Security disability attorneys in our Naples office have established a great track record of helping disabled workers in the Naples area collect the benefits they need to help themselves and their families. If you decide to file a claim for SSD benefits or want to appeal a claim that has been denied, an experienced Social Security attorney may be able to help you collect the benefits you deserve. To learn more, please complete our free case review form today.
Filing a Claim for Social Security Disability Benefits in Naples
Your Naples Social Security disability attorney may be able to help improve your chances of filing a successful claim by helping you avoid many of the common mistakes that most applicants make. In doing so, your Naples attorney can:
- Collect information necessary to support your claim for disability benefits (e.g. medical, family, housing, work, criminal background income history)
- Gather evidence supporting the severity of your disability and/or injury (e.g. witness statements, medical records, etc.)
- Help you complete the application for benefits in its entirety
- File the application with supporting documents in compliance with all SSA regulations and deadlines
Handling an Application That Has Been Denied
If you have filed an application for Social Security disability benefits and been denied the right to collect benefits, it is important to continue the process by appealing the decision. With the assistance of an experienced SSD attorney, you may be able to significantly increase your chances of recovering the benefits you need.
Your attorney will review your initial application and determine whether the denial was based on an error in the application itself, or if it the Social Security Administration determined that your disability did not meet the SSA’s minimum threshold.
If your attorney determines that an error resulted in the application’s denial, the appeal should be relatively simple. Your attorney should be able to remedy any errors in your claim, which will then be reviewed by the SSA for a second time.
If your application meets the SSA’s minimum requirements for recovering benefits, your claim may be approved. If your application was denied for any other reason, your attorney will first review the construction and strength of the claim. If any information is missing or inadequately supported, your attorney can attempt to collect the information needed to help you obtain benefits.
If your claim was completed properly and denied on its merit, your attorney will thoroughly investigate the details included in the claim to search for any weaknesses or points on which the SSA may have based their denial. In these situations, your attorney may reconstruct your claim and include additional supporting information to help strengthen your request. Once your attorney has done this, they will request an appeal.
Social Security Disability Appeals Process
Your attorney may request to have your claim reviewed as many as three times. It is important to note that not every request for an appeal will be accepted after the first level of appeals. Should your claim be denied after the first request, your attorney may file for an additional review in a forum where your claim will be reviewed from a different perspective. Appeal levels include:
Reconsideration: Your claim is reviewed by an SSA claims examiner who was not involved in its initial review.
Administrative Law Review: If your attorney’s request is accepted, a small hearing will be held before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). During this hearing, your attorney will be permitted to argue your case before the judge, introduce any additional information that may have been uncovered, and introduce witness testimony.
Appeals Council: If your request is one of the few granted by the SSA Appeals Council, the judge’s consideration and denial will be reviewed for any errors. Your appeal can be approved, denied or sent for review before another ALJ.
If your claim is continually denied throughout the appeals process, your attorney may file a lawsuit in Federal District Court on your behalf.
Social Security Benefits Eligibility Requirements
Workers with short-term disabilities, which are those not expected to interfere with the individual’s ability to work for more than a year, are typically not eligible for SSD benefits. In most cases, these workers have other benefit options available, such as workers’ compensation or private insurance policies.
When determining eligibility for SSD benefits, the SSA considers several factors. The first, and primary factor, is the nature and extent of your injury. If your injury is listed in a database created by the SSA, your application will continue to be reviewed. If your injury is not listed, you may ask the SSA to review your condition to determine whether you can recover benefits.
The SSA will also investigate and review the following factors to determine your eligibility:
- Is your disability or illness is expected to last more than a year?
- Does your current monthly income meet SSA requirements?
- Will the condition interfere with work-related activities?
- Will the condition prohibit you from performing other work?
- How well were you able to perform your work prior to the onset of the disability or illness?
Contact Morgan & Morgan Today
If you have had an application for Social Security benefits denied or need help filing a claim, our Social Security disability attorneys may be able to help. To learn more, please complete our case review form today. Our Florida office is currently offering consultations to all potential clients at no cost.