What If Your Condition Is Not On Ssas Listing
Not all conditions such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue are on the SSA Listing of Impairments. In such cases, you must prove that your disability has made it impossible for you to do any work.
The key point is that every claim must be fully prepared with sufficient medical records, the necessary input from your doctors, and vocational evidence which together prove that you are unable to function in the workplace.
What Is The Best Way To File For Social Security Disability Benefits
The best way to apply for SSD benefits is to contact our office. We make the process very easy for you with a phone call. We can either apply with you in person at our office or we can do so on the phone. We fill out all the papers that are necessary, fill out all the applications, all the documentations that are needed, and we obtain the documentation from the doctors and the hospital and other medical providers youve been going to see.
Chance Of Social Security Disability Approval In Federal Court
If a claim falls into that 90% of cases reviewed but denied by the Appeals Council, the next step in the process is to file a lawsuit in the United States District Court for your geographical area.
Here again, the Federal Court judge can either approve the ALJs denial, reverse the ALJs denial and award benefits, or remand the case back to the ALJ to fix any errors the Federal Court judge finds were made by the ALJ.
The Federal Court only reverses ALJ decisions and grants benefits about 2 percent of the time.
However, just under half of the time they find errors in the ALJs decision and remand it back to the ALJ to correct errors. So, your odds of success in Federal Court are significantly better than they are at the Appeals Council level.
Finally, three other factors relating to your odds of success:
These are just three more reasons you should hire an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to help you with your claim for benefits.
Why Should I Speak To A Disability Lawyer If I Havent Applied
Filing for Social Security Disability benefits can be a complicated and confusing process. Most applicants dont know how to fill out the necessary paperwork and submit the correct medical documentation. This is a primary reason why over 65% of disability claims are originally denied.
While you dont technically need an attorney to represent you during the application process, hiring one can improve your chances of a successful claim. Statistics have shown that the Social Security Administration is more likely to approve someone who is represented by an attorney. Fill out your information to receive a free case evaluation. Start the disability benefits process today.
Chances Of Social Security Disability Approval At The Initial Application Level
At the first level, only about 30 percent of all claims are approved.
Those that are approved are usually for claimants who meet a Listing or who are so clearly and obviously disabled that there is no question they cannot work.
This leaves roughly 70 percent of the original 2 million claims rejected at the Initial Application level.
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What Are The Chances Of Winning A Social Security Disability Appeal
Before getting into those numbers, be aware that the question of what factors the Social Security Administration uses to determine whether your particular claim will be approved or denied is not addressed in this post. For more information on that, check this out.
This post talks ONLY about your statistical odds of receiving benefits.
These claims can be made under two provisions of the law:
In other words, 2 million Americans made claims for disability benefits in a year.
So, of those 2 million claims, what are the odds that each of them will eventually be approved?
How Do You Win A Disability Case
Tips for Winning Your Social Security Disability Hearing Hire a Qualified Disability Lawyer or Advocate. Do Whatever It Takes to Get There. Understand That Appearances Matter. Keep in Contact with Your Lawyer. Do Not Minimize the Effects of Your Disability . Additional Resources.
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Keep Close Tabs On The Status Of Your Claim
The SSA works with millions of claimants a year. While you might be quite ill and deserving of benefits, you are among a large group of people in similar situations. To ensure that your case is being handled appropriately, you will want to stay in close contact with the SSA.
If you have questions about the status of your claim or other pertinent information, contact a claims representative. It might make sense to keep a separate log of your communications, including date, name of the person that you spoke with, and their phone number.
Keeping a close eye on the status of your claim will ensure that you do not miss subsequent important deadlines. For example, if your claim is denied, you have a short timeframe to appeal the decision.
How Long Does It Take To Get Disability Benefits With A Lawyer
Depending on where you live, the complexity of your claim, and the kind of evidence that you have that will to support your claim, the time it takes to have your disability claim approved and receive disability benefits can vary greatly. It can take anywhere from a few months to longer than a year to receive monthly benefits.
The stage at which your claim is approved impacts how long it takes to receive disability benefits. If you have hard medical evidence to support your claim, or if your condition is on the Compassionate Allowances list, you may be awarded disability benefits within a matter of a few weeks.
If your claim is denied and you must file an appeal and support additional evidence, that can add several more weeks onto the claims process.
If your claim advances to the hearing level, it can take several months to get a hearing date before an administrative law judge .
It can then take several weeks to get a decision rendered by letter after a hearing. Because of the complexity of a hearing and the disability claims process, a disability lawyer can be an asset to the claims process.
With the help of an attorney and the supporting documentation that confirms the severity of your condition, the claims process may go more smoothly, and your claim may be approved more quickly than if you do not have legal representation. The claims process can still take several months though.
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How You Can Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability benefits are paid to those unable to work due to poor health or injury.
The disability in question must meet one of the following qualifications:
- It must be expected to last a minimum of one year.
- It must be expected to result in death.
At least one of these must be in place to qualify. Disabled individuals are also required to provide medical proof of the disability. If your claim has been denied, do not give up hope. We can help clients appeal claims that have been initially denied.
Write An Appeals Letter
The Social Security forms for appealing a decision give you only a few lines to write your explanation on why you think the decision was wrong, but you should feel free to write the phrase “see attached page” on the form and submit a letter along with the form that carefully outlines the problems you see with the decision.
The denial letter you received from the SSA that denied your eligibility for benefits will include an “explanation of determination,” which is sometimes called the “disability determination rationale.”
This explanation of determination will include issues such as what sources the SSA used to evaluate your claim, why the SSA denied your claim, what impairments the SSA evaluated, and a description of your medical condition. If anything is incorrect or missing in your explanation of determination, include this in your letter to the SSA. Also submit any statements, records, or other information that makes your claim stronger.
For more on appeals letters, see How to Write a Successful Disability Appeal Letter, on Nolo.com.
Dont Give Up After Ssdi Denials Most Cases Are Won On Appeal
The biggest mistake people make after SSDI denials is they dont file an appeal, or dont file it in time. The truth is that the majority of applicants that do appeal their case properly, end up winning.
The key to winning a disability case is to keep appealing:
- In the Reconsideration stage of appeal, we can submit crucial, additional evidence that was probably missing during the initial determination.
- In the ALJ hearing, we are able to present live witness testimony, cross-examine the governments expert witnesses, and argue your case to the judge.
- If you have exhausted all administrative Social Security appeals, we can appeal your case in federal court.
A Man Who Represents Himself
There is an old adage that states that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. In some Social Security Disability cases, this may prove true. If you decide to represent yourself during your disability appeal and you lose your case because of it, you will likely have to re-apply for benefits all over again.
This resets the clock and delays your ability to receive Social Security Disability benefits. It can take more than a year to be scheduled for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Unless you want to wait another year during a second application process, you should probably have a disability attorney representing you the first time around.
While no attorney can guarantee that you will receive the disability benefits you are applying for, a qualified Social Security attorney can greatly increase your chances of being approved for Social Security Disability benefits.
If you do not have an attorney representing your case, you may waste years of time, effort and money trying to represent yourself. In the end, you may have to turn to the services of a qualified attorney when you are forced to file a second claim for Social Security Disability benefits.
Hypothetical Situations And Disability Hearings
Your attorney will talk with you beforehand to prepare you to testify and to advise you regarding statements to avoid. He or she will tell you that the judge who will hear your case is an administrative law judge. The ALJ makes decisions on hypothetical situations. You should not attempt to present common sense arguments to the court since the situation is hypothetical.
In other words, if you are hypothetically offered a job, can you work? Instead, let your lawyer speak for you. Some cases, especially for a person under the age of 50, are quite complex. Your attorney will list valid reasons as to why you cannot work at a desk job and direct you not to bring up other reasons that might not apply in your case. Some of those reasons that the Social Security Administration will likely reject include the following:
- I cant find any desk jobs in this area.
- Ive never worked at a job like that before.
- I would have to drive too far to go to work.
Experienced With Disability Claims
Disability claims can be challenging. Studies have proven that claimants who are represented by a disability lawyer are three times more likely to have your claims approved. Lawyers are familiar with the Social Security Administration and the disability claims process. They understand what Disability Determination Services is looking for, so they can make sure you have the right evidence included in your review file.
Your lawyer will be able to maintain contact with the SSA and make sure that they have all the details that they need to properly review your claim and make an appropriate decision. They also know what other supporting evidence can be helpful to your disability claim, such as statements from former coworkers and supervisors. Your lawyer will also be able to help you get witnesses that can testify on your behalf during the disability hearing.
Without a lawyer, your odds of a successful hearing can decrease significantly. You may not know what to expect, so you will be unprepared and you will be nervous, not knowing how to respond to the questions and not understanding the details that the court is needing can be damaging to the outcome of your disability claim.
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Keep Accurate And Complete Medical Documentation
Disability experts will tell you that SSDI claims are won or lost on sufficient medical evidence. Prior to starting the application process, it is wise to gather all of your medical records and documentation. While the SSA will request the medical records directly, physicians offices and hospitals are overwhelmed with clinical care needs, as well as paperwork. By requesting and organizing your medical records yourself, you will ensure that all of the documentation makes it into the right hands.
Further, once you have completed your application, be certain to continue to gather any new medical evidence that you can. For example, request the results of new medical tests that you may require, such as blood work, x-rays, or treatment records.
To enhance your case even further, begin a journal that records the dates of all interactions that you have had with any health care providers. Be sure to include all health practitioners, even if it doesnt seem relevant to your case. For example, if you are seeing a psychiatrist for anxiety, but your application is for cancer, be certain to include this in your documentation.
How A Disability Lawyer Helps You Win
First, a disability lawyer can help you from the initial application, filling out the actual application and forms. Your disability lawyer can also advise you on questions you have, and issues that without good advice could cause you to lose your case. For example, a lawyer can tell you whether the part-time job you’ve been working will hurt your claim.
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How Do You Know Its Time To Consider Filing For Ssd Benefits
You know when its time to file for Social Security Disability benefits
- If you yourself feel that it is a struggle getting to work, finding work, and being able to not only get employment but also be able to keep that employment
- If your doctor is telling you that you need to file for disability
- If your family is saying that you need to really stay off work and take care of yourself
- If taking care of yourself and taking care of your medical condition has become a job in itself
then its time to file for Social Security benefits.
Getting Legal Help With Your Initial Application
Few disability applications are approved at the initial application level, but with help from an attorney, your odds improve by up to 40%. Approximately 28% of disability applicants who hire attorneys are approved at the initial application stage, compared with only 20% of those who completed their applications without professional help. Why the improvement? SSDI lawyers are familiar with the language used by the SSA, the administrations rules, and the medical evidence needed to support a claim.
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Get A Supportive Opinion From Your Doctor
You should ask your doctor for a supportive statement detailing what you can and cannot do and how your condition prevents you from working. These types of statements may have little effect on a Social Security disability or SSI disability claim at the initial claim or first appeal level, but at the disability hearing level, such statements can actually win the case, provided they are strong enough and are backed up by the objective medical evidence contained in the same doctor’s office notes. If your doctor supports you and is willing to fill out an eight-page form for you, it’s best if your doctor fill outs the SSA’s RFC assessment form. Call your Social Security office and ask them for the form.
If your doctor is not as helpful as you’d like, see Filing for Disability Without a Doctor’s Support or Approval.
Ensure That Your Application Is Complete
Before beginning your disability application, take the time to prepare yourself and to gather all of your required documentation. The SSA has developed a very helpful checklist that can be printed out. By doing so, you can see what information you have on hand and what you might be missing.
In addition to providing your basic personal information such as citizenship and birth information, marriage and divorce history, and names and birth dates of your children, you should be prepared to answer questions about your health.
You will need to provide extensive information on your medical conditions, treatments that you have received, hospitals or clinics that you have visited, and the names of your doctors and other healthcare providers.
Finally, you will be required to share information on your job history for the last 15 years, as well as your educational background and training.
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