Struggling to complete a Social Security Disability benefits claim?
Applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be confusing for many, and there is a lot of information you need to include to give your claim the best chance for approval. Whether you are just beginning your application, or your claim has been denied, we may be able to help.
At Galloway Jefcoat, we understand the complicated SSD application process and what is needed to meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) strict eligibility requirements.
Our Social Security Disability lawyers in Lake Charles have been helping injured clients seek the compensation and benefits they need for more than 20 years. The case review we offer is completely free and carries no obligation to hire our services. If we take your case, you pay no upfront costs or fees throughout the legal process. We only get paid if you receive benefits.
Partner John Jefcoat is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Association Top 100.
Experienced. Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Call: (337) 984-8020 today.
Who May Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
To qualify for SSD benefits, an applicant must meet the SSA’s strict eligibility criteria. However, if you can answer “yes” to each of the questions below, you may be eligible and should consider discussing things with a licensed attorney:
- Are you suffering from a disabling condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or lead to death?
- Are you no longer capable of performing the work you previously did?
- Are you also unable to do any other kind of work?
- Does your disabling condition fit the criteria under one of the SSA’s qualifying conditions?
If your condition enables you to do some work, you may still qualify for benefits. However, your average earnings must not be greater than the allowed monthly limit set by the SSA for the year you apply.
Disabled minors may also seek disability benefits if they suffer from a qualifying physical or mental condition that severely limits their ability to do daily tasks. Their disabling condition must be also estimated to last at least 12 months or longer or be likely to end in death.
Trying to determine your eligibility or how to prove your eligibility can be daunting on your own. Having an attorney to represent you and guide you throughout the process may help to optimize your claim, eliminate errors and ensure you exhaust all legal avenues for trying to obtain benefits.
A free case review can help you get started. Ph: (337) 984-8020.
Are There Different Types of Social Security Disability Benefits Programs?
The SSA has four disability benefits programs. Our Lake Charles Social Security Disability lawyers have in-depth knowledge of these programs and their eligibility requirements. We can discuss each program and its requirements in greater detail in the free case review we offer.
In general, you may seek disability benefits under one of these four programs:
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Individuals may qualify for SSDI benefits after becoming disabled. To be considered, the applicant must have worked a minimum of five of the last ten years and be able to prove that he or she cannot continue working.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Sometimes an applicant may not meet the SSA’s work history requirements for SSDI benefits. However, if the applicant has a low income and meets the SSA’s disability criteria, it may be possible to seek Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. To be eligible, applicants cannot have more than $2,000 in assets ($3,000 if you file as a couple).
Benefits for Disabled Widows or Widowers
A widow or widower aged 60 years or older may qualify for benefits under this program. The minimum age may be reduced to 50 years in cases where an individual has a qualifying medical condition and loses his or her spouse. Other eligibility requirements also apply.
Benefits for an Adult Disabled Child
Adult children with serious medical conditions may be eligible to receive disabled adult child benefits if they:
- Are between 18 to 22 years of age
- Are diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition
- That medical condition severely limits their ability to perform daily activities
- Their medical condition is estimated to last 12 months or more or be fatal
Regardless of which program you may qualify for, we encourage you to seek legal help from one of our experienced Social Security Disability lawyers in Lake Charles. There is no risk to you, as we offer a completely free consultation to discuss your situation and answer your questions about the SSD process.
Documents You Will Need to Support Your SSD Application
When applying for your Social Security Disability benefits, there are a number of documents and other records that need to be included with your application:
- Birth certificate
- Proof of citizenship
- Social Security identification card
- Latest W-2 or tax return
- Documented proof of your work history
- Marriage certificate (only if your spouse is also applying)
- List of any prescription medications, as well as the daily dosages
- Medical records that document the diagnosis and other relevant details of your disability
- Health care facilities that have treated you, including the name, address and who to contact
Applying for SSD benefits involves a lot of time and paperwork. Having an attorney help you throughout the application process may help you to avoid a denied claim and get you the benefits you need faster.
Common Reasons SSD Applications May Be Denied
There are many reasons that applications for Social Security Disability benefits may be denied. Even legitimate claims may sometimes get denied if there was a mistake on the application or some necessary documentation was forgotten. Our qualified attorneys are familiar with process and can help you to avoid being denied because of these typical submission errors.
In other cases, however, there may be some valid reasons for being denied SSD benefits, such as if:
- The disabling condition is not considered permanent– it will not last 12 months or longer or it will not be fatal
- The applicant failed to adhere to his or her doctor’s treatment plan
- There was not enough evidence to show the applicant met the SSA’s disability requirements
- The applicant’s work history was not enough to supply the minimum work credits
- The applicant’s earnings were greater than the monthly substantial gainful activity allowance (SGA)
- The disability applicant did not cooperate with the SSA, such as by providing more evidence or submitting to an exam
- The applicant was found to be disabled because of his or her misuse of alcohol or drugs
It is worth mentioning that some applicants who are disabled because of an addiction may still be eligible for disability benefits. While it may be difficult to admit, it is important that you do not lie, exaggerate or try to cover up these details. The truth is likely to come out and, in that scenario, your benefits could be denied.
Denied Claims May Be Appealed – You Must Act Quickly
Once you receive notice that your claim was denied, you have a very short window in which to appeal. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you contact one of our Lake Charles Social Security Disability benefits lawyers immediately. You can learn about your potential legal options for seeking benefits in a free case review.
There are four parts in the appeal process, and our attorneys are prepared to guide you through each of them:
- Request for consideration: Your application is resubmitted, complete with any new evidence or corrections, and reviewed by a different claims examiner.
- Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) application: If the reconsideration request does not overturn the denial decision, your lawyer can request a hearing with an ALJ. In advance of this hearing, your attorney will prepare you with questions you may be asked in the hearing. Your attorney may also include testimony from other industry experts, such as a medical professional.
- Appeals Council review request: This stage of the appeal process will not happen without council approval. If the council reviews and agrees with the decision of the ALJ, your request may be rejected. However, if they determine the ALJ decision was invalid, they may pass it to another ALJ for a second review.
- Federal Court review: For this last step in the appeals process, no further documentation or evidence may be added. The appointed judge will review your application, all transcripts, and any other documentation or evidence previously provided. Once the judge rules at this stage, the decision stands, unless you were to file a completely new claim.
There is a short window for filing an appeal, so there is no room for delays or errors. Having an attorney guide you and prepare you for each step of the appeals process can be critical to your chances of success.
Need help with a denied claim? Call for legal help today.
How Long Before Your First Benefit Payment Arrives?
You can typically expect to start receiving your benefit payments between 30 to 60 days of your claim’s approval. Some applicants may also be eligible for back pay. These are benefits for the months between the filing of your application and approval of your claim, as you are retroactively eligible for benefits for those months.
While wait times can vary, if you have not received anything within 90 days of your claim being approved, contact your attorney immediately.
At Galloway Jefcoat, our dedicated Social Security Disability lawyers in Lake Charles are committed to getting to the bottom of any delays with benefit payments.
Call Our Lake Charles Social Security Disability Lawyers Today
If you need help filing an initial claim for Social Security Disability benefits or appealing an already denied claim, we are prepared to help. Our Social Security Disability lawyers in Lake Charles have more than 25 years of experience and a proven record.
We invite you to take advantage of our free, no-obligation case review to learn about your legal options. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay – so no risk to you. We only get paid if we recover benefits for you.
Local Lawyers. No Upfront Costs. (337) 984-8020.