The Social Security Administration provides disability benefits programs to those who have a medical condition that leaves them unable to work. Unfortunately, obtaining these critical public benefits can be complicated due to the rigorous eligibility requirements. By working with a knowledgeable disability benefits attorney, you can increase the likelihood of securing the benefits you need.
What is a Disability?
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA) guidelines, being disabled means not being able to perform any kind of substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medical condition. To be eligible the condition must have lasted, or be expected to last, a minimum of one year or cause death. While the SSA keeps a listing of the qualifying conditions (the Blue Book), an impairment that is not listed may also meet the qualifications for a disability, given that it is medically comparable to a condition that is listed.
What Kinds of Disability Benefits Are Offered?
There are two different benefit programs available by the SSA-- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
The Disability Benefits Application Process
Applying for disability benefits is complicated. The application includes a number of questions that must be answered accurately and there are a number of forms that must also be completed properly. The application has to also include medical evidence such as doctors' reports, an exam history, lab tests and radiological exams, and any other relevant medical information about the diagnosis and prognosis of the condition. Ultimately, it is essential to show that you are incapable of doing any kind of SGA because of your medical impairment.
Not only is completing the application difficult, having a disability benefits claim approved is daunting-- roughly two-thirds of initial claims are denied. Common reasons claims are denied include (1) the applicant did not collect adequate work credits, (2) the medical condition was not a qualifying disability, or (3) the application had mistakes.
By working with the Glendale disability attorneys at Tim D. Wright, you increase the probability of your claim being approved.
Disability Benefit Appeals
When a disability benefits claim is denied, the SSA sends out a letter informing you of the reason for the denial and of your right to appeal the decision. The first level of the appeals process is filing a Request for Reconsideration with the SSA within 60 days of receipt of the denial notice. In a reconsideration claim, a medical consultant and a disability examiner not involved in the initial decision will reevaluate the claim.
Nevertheless, a reconsideration claim will only be approved if there has been a new diagnosis or there is evidence that the medical condition has gotten worse. Only 20 percent of such claims are denied. The next step in the appeals process is to request a disability hearing. This is not a court proceeding, but rather an informal meeting overseen by an administrative law judge (ALJ) Furthermore, an ALJ is not a court judge, but rather an SSA lawyer that will either maintain or overturn the denial.
The ALJ will conduct a hearing at which you will be asked questions about how the disability affects your day-to-day living. The ALJ will also allow your attorney to speak on your behalf and ask you additional questions concerning your medical condition. Medical and vocational experts also commonly appear to offer testimony and evidence regarding the condition and how it prevents you from doing your job or any other type of work.
Tim D. Wright routinely represents clients in disability hearings and can help you get the benefits you are entitled to. If your claim is denied at this level, the next phase includes seeking a review by the Appeals Council which will decide whether to reverse the decision, remand it to the ALJ for further reconsideration, or deny the claim. If the Appeals Council denies the claim, we will suggest filing a lawsuit in federal court to have the decision reversed.
Contact Our California Social Security Disability Attorney
At Tim D. Wright, we have an established history of helping our clients acquire the benefits they deserve. Understanding that navigating the SSA system can be overwhelming, we will stand by you every step of the way. If you or a loved one needs help getting Social Security disability benefits in California, call our disability attorneys today for a free consultation.
For more information about Disability Claim and Personal Injury Attorneys in Glendale, California, contact Law Offices of Tim D. Wright at (323) 379-9995 or visit our website at TimWrightLaw.com for a Free Consultation!
I am very satisfied and thankful with Attorney Tim Wright and his whole team for taking care and handling my fathers personal injuries case. Thank you all very much your staff is amazing, very helpful.
The Law Offices of Tim D. Wright were awesome. They were professional, they kept an open communication with me through out the process. Big shout out to Sergio and Mercedes for being very helpful with my settlement.
Get a free consultation with our legal experts