Social Security benefits can be a lifeline for a person with a disability, especially if they are too injured or ill to work. It can help to alleviate financial pressures such as a mortgage, bills, and medical costs.
Unfortunately, many people find themselves in the position of needing this safety net, because an injury or illness has left them unable to work. They may be shocked to see their claims routinely denied for anything short of a catastrophic injury.
Approximately 53 percent of all initial Social Security disability claims end in denial, according to the Social Security Administration. There are various reasons why an applicant can be denied. For example, the SSA may believe that the applicant is able to perform another type of work or has an impairment that is not considered severe.
If you have been denied Social Security Disability insurance, you are not alone. Most people receive initial denials, but appeals are not hopeless. In fact, well over half of denied applications are approved on appeal.
This is why it is so important to keep going with the help of an Ocala disability attorney, even if your application is initially denied.
Do I Need an Attorney?
If your initial claim has been denied, our disability attorneys may be able to represent you at an appeals hearing and present evidence in support of your claim to an administrative law judge.
At Morgan & Morgan, our Ocala social security disability attorneys have helped thousands, including those who were initially denied, qualify for disability benefits.
Because proving a disability to the SSA is complex by design, many Americans elect to retain a disability advocate to help navigate the claims process.
In many cases, initial claims are denied, leading the applicant to wrongly believe that the opportunity to obtain disability benefits has been lost. There are many administrative and procedural reasons why the Social Security Administration may deny an otherwise valid claim. For example, claims are denied because applicants make mistakes on the application paperwork or because the applicant is not following a doctor’s specific orders in treating a disabling condition.
An attorney can help avoid a denial by making sure the initial application complies with the Social Security Administration’s rules and procedures. If the initial claim has been denied, a social security lawyer may be able to appeal the denial by presenting arguments as to why the claimant qualifies for disability benefits.
What You Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits
There are two ways to qualify for Social Security Disability in Florida:
The first looks at the claimant’s earning record and determines whether they have worked enough to qualify. Most people have worked regularly, even if only part time, meet this qualification. However, people who only recently began working or have worked “under the table” may have difficulty qualifying.
The second way is the severity of the disability, and the vast majority of claims are denied because of a failure to meet the Social Security program’s definitions of a disability. In order to qualify as disabled, a claimant must have a serious physical or mental impairment which prevents that claimant from engaging in any substantial gainful activity and that can be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
Social Security Disability Appeals Process
If your initial claim for disability benefits has been denied, your attorney may review your application and evaluate the merits of your claim.
After this evaluation, if your attorney determines that you have been wrongly denied benefits, he or she will prepare an appeal on your behalf. As part of the appeals process, your attorney will gather the necessary medical records and submit them to the court.
Your attorney may also contact your treating physician and request that the doctor issue a written medical opinion regarding your ability to work. Furthermore, your disability attorney can prepare you for the appeals hearing by reviewing the types of questions that the judge may ask you.
Your Social Security disability attorney will represent you throughout the entire appeals process. The appeals process offers several opportunities to ensure that your claim has been properly denied. There are four levels of appeal for Social Security disability claims:
- Reconsideration: A reconsideration of a disability claim consists of a full review of the application by a new Social Security reviewer. In this stage, your disability attorney may submit any new evidence that is available in support of the claim.
- Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge: If the Social Security Administration denies the reconsideration, your attorney may request a hearing. An administrative law judge presides over this hearing. At the hearing, your disability attorney will present evidence to the judge in support of your claim for disability benefits. Your attorney may use an expert witness to explain to the judge why you qualify for disability benefits.
- Review by the Appeals Council: If the administrative law judge denies your claim, you may request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. 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 the claim is still denied at the conclusion of the appeals process, your attorney may file a lawsuit in federal court seeking to overturn the SSA’s denial of benefits.
Ocala Social Security Disability Lawyers Fight for Your Benefits
Most SSD applicants are denied at first and the appeals process can be long and arduous. But with the help of Florida Social Security Disability attorneys, a significant percentage of applicants who are initially denied ultimately receive SSD in Florida, as well as lump sum back benefits for the period during which their appeals were pending.
If you are no longer able to work due to an illness or injury, we may be able to help you get the SSD benefits you desperately need. To learn what our Ocala Social Security disability lawyers may be able to do for you, please fill out our free case evaluation form today.