How to Find the Best Arthritis and Disability Lawyers in Florida
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How to Find the Best Arthritis and Disability Lawyers in Florida
The Arthritis Foundation reports that over 50 million American adults suffer from some type of arthritis. If you’re one of the Americans who has lost work because of this debilitating disease, you may be entitled to disability benefits.
Applying for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration may prove a daunting task to some; an arthritis and disability lawyer can help you navigate the process. Are you in search of a disability attorney in Florida? In this guide, we’ll explore arthritis, disability, and how to find the best attorney in the Sunshine State to assist you with your application.
Disability and Arthritis
If you suffer from arthritis, you know that symptoms and severity vary. One person may experience severe pain one day, then feel healthy and well the next, or pain may be alleviated with ibuprofen or other over-the-counter medications. Similarly, no two cases of arthritis are the same; one person with arthritis may experience such intense symptoms that injections may be necessary.
Only you and your doctor or rheumatologist can determine the best course of treatment for your specific arthritis pain. However, if you’re unable to work due to arthritis, you may qualify for disability benefits. In this case, consider. seeking legal counsel. The best arthritis and disability lawyers in Florida can help you navigate the process of applying for and receiving the compensation you deserve.
How the SSA Determines Disability Eligibility for Arthritis
The first step the SSA takes to determine your eligibility for disability is to ascertain whether you’re currently working and, if so,how much income you’re generating. At time of writing, workers who are earning at least $1,220 per month do not qualify for disability insurance, as this is considered an adequate living wage.
Next, the SSA will consider your physical capabilities. If you have difficulty standing, walking, lifting or bending, the Social Security Administration will take this under consideration. These activities are considered critical to daily employment performance and inability to carry out these simple actions may automatically qualify you for benefits.
Finally, the SSA will consider the type of arthritis you have, your past work history and whether you’re able to perform other types of work. Once these factors are taken into consideration, a determination will be made regarding your disability eligibility.
Qualifying Types of Arthritis
Generally speaking, there are four events or conditions that will qualify you for disability benefits. These conditions are directly related to the type of arthritis from which you suffer, and the treatment necessary to alleviate symptoms.
First, the SSA will consider whether surgery has been necessary. If you’ve had surgery on any weight-bearing joint, you may automatically qualify for disability benefits. It’s critical that you keep copies of your medical records; documentation of surgery on hips, knees or your spine may mean the difference between approval and denial of arthritis disability benefits.
Secondly, if your arthritis has led to joint dysfunction the SSA may automatically approve your benefits. Again, it’s important that you keep records of communications with your doctor, diagnoses of your illness, and treatments for your arthritis. If SSA determines that your arthritis has led to joint dysfunction, you may automatically qualify for benefits.
Third, you may automatically qualify for arthritis disability benefits if your arthritis has affected your spine.
Finally, if your arthritis has caused inflammation in a major joint such as an elbow, knee or shoulder, you may automatically qualify for benefits. Once more, keep records of your medical treatment; documentation may be necessary for approval.
Denial of Arthritis Disability Claims
In some cases, your arthritis disability claim may be denied. There are a number of reasons this may occur, and we recommend seeking legal counsel if SSA has denied you access to benefits.
Reasons for denial of your claim include the following:
- Failure to provide proof of inability to work
- Old, improperly performed or outdated medical testing
- Lack of impact on major joints
- Insufficient evidence of severity of arthritis
- Earnings too high to qualify
- Prior denial of claim
- Dependence upon substances (alcohol or drugs)
According to the Social Security Administration, approximately 63% of disability claims are denied following an initial hearing. That’s why it’s critical that you seek legal representation. A qualified and experienced arthritis disability attorney may be able to help secure your approval, even if you’ve been denied in the past.
Do I Need an Arthritis Disability Lawyer in Florida?
If you’re suffering from severe arthritis and are unable to work, you may choose to apply for disability on your own. However, a high probability exists that your claim will be denied. To lessen the likelihood of denial and to expedite the receipt of your benefits, you may consider hiring an attorney to assist you.
A qualified arthritis disability attorney will first review your case; seek an attorney who will offer a free consultation. Once the details of your medical history are reviewed, your legal team will discuss the next course of action for your unique claim.
Until the time of your hearing, you and your attorney will work to gather the evidence and documentation necessary to present a strong case. Whether you’ll be appearing before an administrative law judge for the first time or will be participating in an appeals hearing, an attorney can help lessen your stress and mitigate complications with your claim.
Put simply, Florida law does not require that you retain counsel prior to an arthritis disability hearing. However, hiring experienced legal help can make the claims process run more smoothly and with a minimal amount of stress.
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How long will it take for my disability claim to be approved?
In a cut and dry disability case, a claimant can expect a decision regarding benefits after waiting between three and five months. Unfortunately, however, few cases are this straightforward. Couple the waiting period with the fact that few claims are approved after the initial filing and you may be waiting a year or more for payment.
Hiring a legal team to help you file correctly, efficiently and with proper documentation can help you expedite the process.
How do I find the best arthritis disability lawyer in Florida?
The legal team you choose is ultimately your choice, but there are ways you can identify an attorney who will be a good fit for your case.
First, verify that the attorney is licensed to practice in Florida. You can do so by searching the Florida State Bar database. You will also want to ensure that your prospective attorney is not facing disciplinary action.
Take your time and read reviews of the attorney you’re considering hiring. Does he or she have experience in disability cases, and with arthritis in particular? Have others experienced a positive outcome in their disability case? No attorney can guarantee results, but past experience can help you determine whether the lawyer is a good fit for you.
Finally, schedule a consultation with your legal team. Feel free to ask questions, and gauge your comfort level with the lawyer. Perhaps most importantly, ascertain whether the attorney’s fee structure is compatible with your financial situation. Most attorneys will not request payment until you, yourself, are paid.
My claim was denied; can I still collect arthritis disability?
If you’ve been denied for disability, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Claimants who are denied benefits have the right to appeal the decision. You may still be able to collect benefits, and an attorney can help you collect the documentation necessary to present a compelling argument to the administrative law judge.
Time is of the essence; in Florida, you have sixty days from the date of decision to appeal your disability denial. A well-qualified lawyer can assist you in organizing the materials you need to present at your appeal hearing.
If you must file for arthritis disability insurance in the state of Florida, call the law office of Morgan & Morgan. Our experienced team will review your case, then get to work to assist you in preparing for your hearing or appeal hearing. Remember; it’s important to act quickly. Contact us to begin work on your disability case today.