Handling a Social Security disability (SSD) claim - whether filing a claim or appealing a denied claim - can be complex. Having an experienced attorney in the Nashville area greatly increases your chance of having your application approved and collecting benefits - even if your claim was previously denied.
At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys have decades of experience handling SSD and SSI claims, and have successfully recovered benefits for hundreds of clients. While filing a claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA) can be difficult and time-consuming, our lawyers can help speed up the process by helping you avoiding minor errors and technicalities that cause claims to get denied. In the event that your SSD claim was denied, we can walk you through the appeals process, present new evidence of your disability and, if necessary, file a lawsuit on your behalf.
If you would like help filing a SSD claim or appeal, contact our Nashville office today for a free, no-obligation case review. We may be able to help you collect your hard-earned Social Security benefits.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Filing a Claim
The process for submitting an SSD benefits application can be discouraging. The SSA’s strict deadlines often result in applications being denied over minor issues, such as missed deadlines, paperwork errors and other technicalities. Our lawyers can help ensure you meet all of the SSA’s requirements when filing your SSD claim. If your disability prevents you from obtaining documentation for your claim (e.g. medical records and pay stubs), we can gather and submit these documents on your behalf.
We can also track the progress of your claim. Often, when reviewing SSD applications, the SSA will request further information and/or documentation. We can communicate with the SSA on your behalf and make sure that your application is accurate and up-to-date.
Appealing a Denied Claim
Your SSD benefit claim may be denied for many reasons, including:
- Your income is too high
- You failed to submit your medical records
- You missed an appointment with an SSA-approved doctor
Just because your claim has been denied, however, does not mean you are not entitled to benefits.
If your benefit application has been denied, there are several options available to you, and our lawyers can help walk you through the appeals process. First, our attorneys can submit a request for reconsideration of your application. This request will be submitted within 60 days of receiving a decision letter from the SSA. During an initial request for reconsideration, our lawyers can help collect additional evidence documenting your disability, which can be added to your application and reviewed by the SSA.
If the SSA denies your claim again, our attorneys can request a hearing by an administrative law judge. During the hearing, we will represent you in court and may help substantiate your claims by calling witnesses to testify about your condition and the benefits you need to live a comfortable life. If the administrative law judge also denies your claim, we can request to have the SSA’s appeals council look at your application. The council will either resolve your case or remand it to another administrative judge for review.
If your case is not chosen for review in front of a different administrative law judge or you disagree with the appeals council’s decision, our lawyers may be able to file a lawsuit on your behalf seeking federal court-ordered benefits.
Types of Social Security Disability Benefits
There are several different types of government-paid benefits available for the disabled.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) benefits are the most commonly collected form of assistance for disabled workers. To collect SSD benefits, you must have worked for at least five out of the previous 10 years. In addition, dependants (e.g., spouses and children) of parents who qualify for SSD may also be eligible to collect benefits.
Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits are available for disabled children ages 18 to 22 whose parents receive SSD or Social Security retirement benefits, or are deceased.
Disabled Widow/Widower (DWB) benefits are available for individuals ages 50 and older who have lost their spouse (of at least 10 years) within the last seven years and developed a disability.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available for U.S. citizens who are blind, disabled or over the age of 65 AND who have limited incomes and resources.
Am I Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Your eligibility will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Whether you are currently working
- The severity of your disability
- Whether your disability is included on the SSA’s list of disabling conditions
- Whether you can do the same work you performed prior to developing a disability
- Whether you are capable of performing any other work
You must also pass two Social Security Administration (SSA) eligibility tests:
- The “recent work” test, which evaluates your eligibility for benefits based on how old you were when you became disabled
- The “duration of work” test, which determines whether you worked long enough to receive Social Security benefits
Our attorneys can review your work and medical history to help you determine whether you qualify for benefits.
What About Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
In addition to your SSD benefits, you may also be entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI serves as a supplement to your income and/or your government assistance benefits, and is available for disabled, blind and elderly workers who have limited resources and income.
If you qualify for SSI, your attorney may file this claim before, during or after your application for SSD benefits has been submitted. In general, the amount of SSI you can collect will depend on your income; however, if you receive benefits from any other government benefit program, this will also affect the amount of supplemental income you can collect.
The SSA is also responsible for approving and denying SSI applications and uses similar guidelines for determining supplemental income eligibility.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
At Morgan & Morgan, our lawyers will only receive a fee if your disability benefits application is approved or, in the event that you file a lawsuit, the case is resolved favorably. To help ensure that disabled workers have affordable options for legal representation, the SSA regulates these fees and limits the amount attorneys can charge in representing SSD applicants.
If you are looking for a social security disability lawyer to help you file a claim or file an appeal, the attorneys at Morgan & Morgan’s Nashville office may be able to help. Contact us today to see if you could be entitled to benefits.