Little Rock Social Security Disability Attorneys
Helping You Get SSD Benefits in Arkansas
To receive Social Security Disability benefits because of a disabling condition that prevents you from working, you must first complete a Social Security Disability application packet to determine your eligibility. You need to file as soon as you become disabled or unable to work, as the evaluation process can take up to five months. The Social Security Administration (SSA) supports your right to hire an attorney to assist with the application and appeal process, so use this tactic to complete your application correctly and improve your odds of a successful outcome.
Application Documents and Information
The most common reasons for technical denial of a Social Security Disability application are missing, inflated, or inaccurate documents and information. This happens with 31% of applications. To make sure your application is complete, verify that you have the following items:
- Proof of citizenship
- Marriage and/or divorce papers
- Employment status and history
- All medical records and test results
- Correct work and doctor contact information
Evaluating Your Social Security Disability Application
Once you submit your Social Security Disability application, your packet will be evaluated on whether it meets the basic requirements for disability benefits. This involves verifying your current work activities and if you have worked enough years to qualify for benefits. Your application then goes to the state Disability Determination Services office. They will evaluate your medical condition, contact your doctors, and request additional medical exams if necessary.
This five-step evaluation is used to determine your eligibility:
- If you are still working and earning a certain amount each month, you are not eligible.
- If you are still able to perform basic work-related activities (such as walking, sitting, and standing) you are not eligible.
- Your condition must be listed on the Social Security Listing of Impairments or meet the same level of severity as a listed condition. If your condition is not on the list, you are ineligible.
- If you do not meet the impairment criteria, you will be evaluated on your ability to perform your work duties. If you can perform these duties, you are not eligible.
- If you can work in other areas or jobs, despite your condition, you are not eligible.
If your Social Security Disability application is approved, you will receive a letter showing the amount of your monthly benefits and when to expect your first payment (generally six months after your disability began). If you are denied, you will receive a letter explaining this decision with instructions on how to file an appeal.
Appealing a Denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
If you do not agree with the reasons why your Social Security Disability application is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision within 60 days of receiving your denial letter.
There are four appeal processes you can follow:
- Reconsideration: A reconsideration is a complete review of your original application by a different Social Security representative that may require submitting new documents or additional proof of disability.
- Hearing: If your application is denied again, you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge either in person or by video conference.
- Appeals council: If the judge denies your appeal, you can request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. If they approve a review of your case, they may make the decision or send your application to a new administrative law judge.
- Federal court: If the previous three appeal processes still deny your claim, you have the right to file a lawsuit in federal district court.
Did you know that 62% of applications are denied by the SSA? Hiring an attorney with experience assisting clients though the Social Security Disability application process can improve your chances of receiving disability benefits.
Social Security Disability Denials and When to Take Legal Action
The laws surrounding the application process for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are a complex web of specific qualifications, harsh deadlines, and tough requirements. Only a small portion of the 60% of new Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims that receive an initial denial from the Social Security Administration (SSA) will ever be reversed on appeal or overturned.
Reasons for an initial denial of a claim frequently include:
- Claim does not meet criteria for benefits
- Significant errors in claim application
- Claim may appear fraudulent as filed
- Insufficient medical evidence supports claim
A large number of automatic denials fall into one of three categories: medical, financial, or criminal. Applicants who will be disabled for less than a year or earn too much money will not qualify. Also, if a disability is linked to alcohol or drug abuse, or even is from a criminal conviction, the applicant is not eligible.
Denials that are almost never reconsidered or reversed on appeal are known as firm denials. These include denials for applicants who:
- Did not follow treatment directions
- Ignored doctor’s orders
- Cannot supply treatment records
Your work and medical history are extremely important when filing for SSD benefits. Make sure to keep a detailed record of all medical conditions, doctor visits, and medical records; this is critical.
Filing an Appeal
The appeals process can be frustrating and complicated. While a select few appeals still succeed, primarily those with the additional evidence needed or simple submission errors, the majority will not. Claimants have other means to pursue success, however, even if all avenues appear exhausted.
A legal professional with experience in the complex denial and appeal processes can act as an advisor, guide, and resource, providing support if the claimant ultimately feels legal action is justified.
Caddell Reynolds Law Firm Can Help
If you are disabled and unable to work, call our firm for a free confidential consultation. Our Little Rock Social Security Disability lawyers can assist you with your claim, providing you with convenient service no matter where in Arkansas you live. Give us a call today for more information.
Call us at (800) 889-6944 or contact us online by filling out our free consultation form below.
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