If your application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits has been denied or you need help applying, you may like to consider seeking assistance from a qualified lawyer.
Filing for SSD benefits can be an overwhelming, complicated process. At Galloway Jefcoat, our experienced Social Security Disability attorneys in Lafayette have extensive knowledge of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) eligibility requirements, filing the initial claim and the appeals process.
Contact our law offices anytime, night or day, and schedule a free case review to discuss your application. We charge nothing for the case review, and there is no obligation to work with our firm. If we do represent you, there are no upfront costs to pay. We have been assisting Louisiana residents for more than two decades.
Our firm’s founding partners, Rusty Galloway and John Jefcoat, are both natives of Lafayette. Jefcoat is also a member of the National Trial Lawyers Association Top 100.
Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Call today: (337) 984-8020
How Do Applicants Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
There are several criteria applicants must meet to qualify for disability benefits. If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you may qualify for benefits:
- Do you have a disabling condition that is estimated to last a minimum of 12 months or cause your death?
- Are you unable to do the work that you previously did?
- Are you also unable to perform any other type of work?
- Do you have a disabling condition that meets criteria included in one of the SSA’s listed conditions?
You may qualify for benefits if you are still working. However, your average earnings must not exceed the monthly limit set by the SSA in the year you are filing.
Minors may also be eligible to seek disability benefits if they have a qualifying physical or mental condition that is likely to end in death or continue for at least a year or more and severely limits their daily activities.
It can be difficult to determine if you may be eligible on your own. You may also have questions about how to prove your eligibility on your application. That is why having an experienced attorney may help you throughout the process. For example, your lawyer can help eliminate errors on your application and determine what supportive documents you should provide.
Are you eligible for benefits? Call (337) 984-8020
What are the Different Types of Social Security Disability Benefits Programs?
Under the SSA, there are four main disability benefits programs that you may qualify for. Our attorneys can discuss these different programs and the requirements of each in more detail in a free case review.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
An individual may be eligible to seek SSDI benefits if he or she becomes disabled, has worked at least five of the past ten years and can provide evidence that he or she is unable to continue working.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
If an applicant meets the SSA’s criteria for being disabled, has a low income, but does not have the required work history, he or she may be able to seek Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Applicants for these benefits must not have more than $2,000 in assets as an individual or $3,000 as a couple to qualify.
Benefits for Disabled Widows or Widowers
Individuals who are 60 years or older and became widows or widowers after the death of a spouse may qualify for these benefits. If the individual also has a qualifying medical condition, that minimum age may be reduced to 50 years. All other eligibility requirements remain the same.
Benefits for an Adult Disabled Child
An adult child between the ages of 18 and 22 with a severe medical condition may be eligible for disabled adult child benefits if:
- He or she has a qualifying medical condition
- His or her daily activities are limited by that medical condition
- The medical condition is expected to last for at least 12 months or more or be fatal
We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice from one of our licensed Social Security Disability attorneys in Lafayette. We offer a free consultation to help you understand your legal options and learn more about the SSD application process.
What Documents Do I Need to Support My SSD Application?
If you have become disabled and plan to seek Social Security Disability benefits, you will need to gather the following documents before beginning the application process:
- Birth certificate
- Proof of citizenship
- Social Security card
- Latest tax return or W-2
- Documented work history
- Marriage certificate (if a spouse also applies)
- List of all prescribed medications you take, along with the daily dosages
- Medical records that document, and are related to, your disability
- Name, address and contact details of the health care facilities that have treated you
Seeking SSD benefits is a challenging and complicated process. Working with a qualified attorney may increase your chances for approval, as well as help you avoid frustrating delays or denials due to submission errors. Our Social Security Disability attorneys in Lafayette are experienced and ready to assist you throughout the application process.
Get the legal help you need today. Call: (337) 984-8020
What are Common Reasons SSD Applications Get Denied?
Applications for Social Security Disability benefits are often initially denied. Often, however, it may simply be because the applicant is unfamiliar with the process or forgot some of the required documentation. Having an attorney to help you prepare your application can help you avoid many common submission errors.
There are many other valid reasons that an applicant’s SSD application could be denied, including if:
- The disabling condition is temporary and will not last a year or become fatal
- The applicant did not follow his or her doctor’s plan of care
- There was insufficient evidence to support the applicant’s claim of disability
- The applicant did not have sufficient employment history to supply the necessary work credits
- The income of the applicant exceeded the monthly substantial gainful activity allowance (SGA)
- The applicant failed to cooperate with the SSA, such as if the SSA requested a medical exam
- The applicant’s disability stems from drug or alcohol abuse
Even if your disability is caused by an addiction, you may still be able to qualify for benefits. Regardless of what caused your disability, however, it is important to be completely honest and straightforward about your situation. Those who lie or exaggerate about what happened are usually found out, resulting in a denied claim.
You Must Act Quickly to Appeal a Denied Claim
If your claim is denied, you have only 60 days from the date of your denial decision to start an appeal. If your claim was denied, give our firm a call right away to see how we may be able to assist you. The initial consultation is free.
The appeals process has four steps:
- Request for consideration: Your claim will get a second review by a different claims examiner, who will also take into consideration any new evidence provided by you or your attorney.
- Application for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ): If the reconsideration does not result in the denial being overturned, your attorney may then request a hearing with an ALJ. If your case proceeds to this step, the attorney will prepare you for questions you could be asked in the hearing. At this point in the appeals process, your attorney may also include testimony from other medical professionals or industry experts.
- Request for an Appeals Council review: A review by the Appeals Council can only happen with council approval. If the council agrees with the ALJ’s decision, they may opt to reject your request for council review. Alternatively, the council may determine the ALJ’s decision was unjust or invalid and pass it to a different ALJ to reconsider.
- Review by the federal court: No further evidence may be submitted for this final step of the appeals process. A judge will consider all transcripts, documentation and supporting evidence previously submitted before entering a final judgement on your application. Your only remaining option would be to file an entirely new claim.
There is a lot of preparation that goes into the appeals process. Submissions must be on time, error-free and include all necessary documentation to give your application the best chance for approval. Our knowledgeable Social Security Disability attorneys in Lafayette are familiar with the appeals process, and we are prepared to help you seek the benefits you need.
Have some questions? Ph: (337) 984-8020
How Long Before I May Begin Receiving Benefits?
Wait times may vary by case, however, applicants should expect to receive their first payment within 30 to 60 days of receiving their approval notice. Many applicants may also be owed backpay – retroactive payments collected from the date of your initial application to when you received your final approval.
If your initial payments are delayed longer than 90 days of receiving your SSA approval notice, you should contact your attorney straight away. Our attorneys understand how important these funds are to you and your family, and we are prepared to work hard to help you get this financial assistance as soon as possible.
Call Our Trusted Lafayette Social Security Disability Attorneys for Help
Whether your application for Social Security Disability has already been denied or your are trying to determine your eligibility to seek benefits, we are ready to help.
Our experienced attorneys have a successful track record of securing compensation for our clients. Our team of legal professionals is ready to handle your case and guide you throughout the complicated process of seeking the disability benefits that you need. An initial consultation is free and there are no upfront costs to retain our attorneys.
Our Lafayette office is conveniently located at 1925 Dulles Drive, less than six miles from the Lafayette Consolidated Government.
Experienced Lawyers. No Upfront Costs. Ph: (337) 984-8020