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Most Social Security Disability (SSD) claims are initially denied, many times due to a mistake or technicality in the preparation of the application. Unfortunately, the attorneys at Morgan & Morgan’s St.Petersburg office have seen many applicants simply accept this result and forego filing an appeal because they feel it will not be successful or is simply too complicated.
Obtaining the assistance of an experienced Florida Social Security disability attorney can, however, significantly increase your chances of success during the initial application process or through an appeal if your claim has already been denied. Our St. Petersburg Social Security disability attorneys have years of experience recovering the disability benefits our clients need to support themselves and their family.
To find out how a St. Petersburg Social Security Disability attorney may be able to help with your claim, fill out our case review form. All of our Florida offices provide free evaluations, with no obligation to move forward with the lawsuit. All you need to do is take the first step.
How Our St. Petersburg Social Security Disability Attorneys Can Help
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
Nearly 60% of SSD claims that are filed without the assistance of an attorney are initially denied. If you are considering filing for SSD benefits, it is important to have an experienced attorney in St. Petersburg help with your claim. Our Florida attorneys can help to ensure your application is completed and filed correctly, and is submitted with the necessary supporting evidence.
In handling your claim, a St. Petersburg SSD attorney can help you:
- Gather all required information (e.g. family, military, financial, medical, employment history)
- Retrieve documents you may not have been able to obtain on your own
- Determine which information is most beneficial to your claim
- Create and submit a claim that satisfies the Social Security Administration’s requirements
Filing an Appeal on Your Behalf
If your claim has been denied, you should contact an experienced St. Petersburg Social Security Disability (SSD) attorney to help you begin the appeal process. If your application was denied on a technicality or mistake you made in the claims process, the appeal may be relatively straightforward.
If your claim was denied on its merits, your Florida attorney will ask you to explain why you believe you are entitled to receive SSD benefits. He or she will then compare this account with the information and supporting documents you submitted with your claim. This will allow your attorney the chance to look for any weaknesses in your claim that may have caused the denial or an inadequate benefit award.
Florida Social Security Disability Claims Appeals Process
Your attorney will have 60 days to file a written request for an appeal. Once this is submitted and approved, he or she will appeal the denial of your claim. There are four possible stages in which your claim may be appealed. If your claim is denied in the first stage, your attorney will request permission to appeal your claim at the second stage, and so on.
Reconsideration: Your claim is reviewed by a Social Security Administration claims examiner who was not involved in the initial review.
Administrative Law Review: If your claim is denied again, your attorney may request to schedule a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). During this hearing, the judge will review your claim, consider witness testimony, and review any additional supporting evidence your attorney may include.
Appeals Council: If the ALJ denies your appeal, your attorney will request an appeal before the SSA Appeals Council. Not all requests are approved. If your claim is selected, the council will review the judge’s consideration, your claim and supporting evidence. If the council feels that there is an unresolved issue, they may send the appeal back for a hearing before a different ALJ. They may also approve your request for benefits or issue another denial.
If your attorney exhausts each of these steps without success, he or she may file a lawsuit on your behalf in Federal District Court.
Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits in Florida
If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for SSD benefits, your claim will most likely be denied. In these cases, only extreme circumstances will permit you to bypass these requirements and recover benefits.
The SSA classifies an individual as having a long-term disability if they “cannot do work that [they] did before; …that [they] cannot adjust to other work because of [their] medical condition(s); and [their] disability has lasted or expected to last for one year or result in death.”
The SSA will also consider:
- Your current monthly income
- Whether your condition interferes with work-related activities
- Whether your condition is on the SSA’s list of disabling conditions
- Your ability to perform your job before the illness
- Your capability of performing other work
If your condition is not listed on the SSA’s registry of disabling conditions, you may request to have it evaluated to exhibit its severity.
Typically, individuals with disabilities not expected to exceed one year are not eligible to receive SSD benefits. In these situations, the individual may likely have access to workers’ compensation or another form of insurance benefits.
If you have filed and had a claim for Social Security disability benefits denied, you may have the option to appeal the decision. To learn more about how a St. Petersburg attorney can help, please complete our free case review form today. We also assist individuals in filing their initial claim for benefits.