Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a complicated process, especially for those who are initially denied the benefits they need and deserve. When that happens, you need representation that will fight for the benefits that you are owed.
Whether you are just beginning the process of applying for disability benefits, or your claim has been denied, Morgan & Morgan’s disability attorneys may be able to help you qualify for Social Security disability benefits. When filing the initial claim for social security disability benefits, our Tampa disability attorneys can help you gather all necessary documents and help ensure that all submitted paperwork complies with the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) rules and procedures.
At Morgan & Morgan, our social security disability attorneys have helped thousands, including those who were initially denied, qualify for disability benefits. If you are unable to work because of a physical or mental disability, our disability attorneys may be able to help you receive benefits. For a free consultation, simply fill out our case review form.
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 Tampa 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 often 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.
How Can An Attorney Help With an SSI Claim?
A Tampa Social Security disability attorney can also help with applications for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). SSI is a need-based program intended to assist people with limited resources who are age 65 or older or who have a disabling medical condition. SSI is also available to children who have a disability.
In some cases, a disabled person may qualify for both a Social Security disability benefit and an SSI benefit. Generally, an individual qualifies for an SSI benefit if the person has less than $2,000 in assets, while a married couple may qualify for SSI if they have total assets of less than $3,000. For purposes of qualifying for SSI, the value of an applicant’s house and car is usually not included in determining total assets.
If you think you may qualify for SSI, a Tampa disability attorney will sit down with you, review your financial records and file an SSI claim on your behalf, if you are eligible for a benefit.
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 decided. 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.
Contingency Fee in Social Security Disability Benefit Appeals
The Tampa disability attorneys at Morgan & Morgan are paid on a contingency fee basis. This means that our attorneys only receive a fee if the applicant qualifies for Social Security disability benefits.
At Morgan & Morgan, our disability attorneys clearly explain the fee structure in advance to our clients. The Social Security Administration strictly regulates the fees that attorneys receive in disability claims to help make hiring a disability attorney a useful and affordable option.
To find out if you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits, fill out our free case review form