Applying for your Social Security Disability benefits can be a complicated and long-winded process, but a necessary one for those who are dealing with a major injury that has put them out of work. Unfortunately, many people who find themselves in the position of needing this safety net, because an injury or illness has left them unable to work, are shocked to see their claims routinely denied for anything short of a catastrophic injury.
If you have been denied SSD insurance, realize that 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. Morgan & Morgan has experienced and dedicated Social Security disability attorneys that have helped thousands of clients qualify for benefits that they had previously been denied.
It’s important to know that just because your claim was initially denied does not mean the fight for your benefits is over. Our Philadelphia attorneys may be able to help. Contact us for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case.
Defining Disability Under Social Security
Often, when a Social Security disability claim is denied, it is because the person’s injury failed to meet Social Security’s requirements for what a disability is.
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. Each of the terms within this definition has its own unique meaning within the Social Security program.
For instance, “substantial gainful activity” generally means employment for pay that provides the claimant a net income of more than a certain amount per month. This amount changes every year and is $1,170 for 2017.
Your Social Security disability lawyer works with you to determine your eligibility and fights for you if you are turned down.
The Social Security Administration also uses a list of diseases and medical conditions – often referred to as “listings” – to determine if a medical impairment is serious enough to prevent a person from working. If the claimant does not meet a listing, then other circumstances are evaluated to determine whether their impairment fits the definition of “disabled.”
Social Security Disability Appeals Process
If an attorney evaluates your claim and determines that you were wrongfully denied, they will begin preparing an appeal for you. This involves gathering any necessary medical records, as well as possibly receiving a written opinion from the physician treating you. The appeals process for Social Security disability is a complicated one, one that includes four levels.
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.
How Can a Morgan & Morgan Attorney Help With My Claim?
Morgan & Morgan attorneys have a track record of success, and though past success is not a guarantee of future success, we have helped qualify thousands across the country for benefits they had previously been denied.
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. An attorney can also 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. In addition, we may be able to help you file a claim for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. SSI is designed for children or adults aged 65 and older with a disabling medical condition and limited resources.
Contact Morgan & Morgan Today
Don’t hesitate to give yourself the chance at getting the Social Security disability benefits that you are entitled to. Morgan & Morgan may be able to help you. Fill out our case evaluation at no cost to learn more about your options.