When you become disabled from a serious illness or injury and are unable to work, you can apply for Social Security Disability benefits. This federal program is administered by state agencies with many requirements and steps to follow to receive benefits. Understanding the legal language involved can be confusing, especially if your claim for benefits is denied.
At the Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we are experienced in helping clients just like you. We connect you with a North Charleston Social Security disability attorney who will guide you through the process and assist you with your disability hearing. We can review your application and ensure you have the best chance of approval.
Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits Takes Time
As with nearly any government program, applying for Social Security Disability benefits requires time, paperwork, and patience. Because each application must be thoroughly reviewed, it is best to apply for benefits as soon as you are left unable to work due to your illness or injury. You should be focused on recovering your health, so hiring a North Charleston Social Security disability lawyer can ease some of the burdens.
Delaying your application can result in a loss of payments that you deserve. Once you apply, you will face an average wait time of 6-12 months before you have your disability hearing. This hearing will usually be held at your regional Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.
An Administrative Law Judge will ask you about your illness or injury, how it affects your daily life, and how it affects your ability to work. You will have a chance to present any additional medical evidence you have not already submitted. Also, you can have a representative with you.
The judge will render a decision on your case in approximately 2-3 months. The lawyers of Shelly Leeke Law Firm are experts in providing skilled and compassionate support during these hearings. We can help you stay focused on sympathetically presenting your case.
Why Your Social Security Disability Claim Might Be Denied
The Social Security Administration reports that up to 67% of all claims are denied. The most common reasons cited are incomplete applications, paperwork errors, and lack of supporting evidence of the disability and pain. You can also be denied if you meet any of the following criteria:
- Your impairment is not expected to last 12 months.
- Your impairment is not considered severe.
- You are able to perform your usual type of work or another type of work.
- Your impairment is a result of drug addiction or alcoholism.
- You fail to cooperate or follow prescribed treatment.
- You return to normal or near-normal work levels before your disability is established.
Understanding whether these situations apply to your case can help you avoid mistakes and reduce the stress of applying. Using a Social Security disability attorney in North Charleston will keep you on track with your application and prevent wasted effort. You are also more likely to receive approval when you work with a lawyer.
Appealing Your Denial of Social Security Disability Benefits in North Charleston
If your claim is denied, you have the right to file an appeal within 60 days. You should not be discouraged or give up. If you let the time expire or start over, you will be put at the back of the line and begin a new waiting period of six months or more.
When you hire a Social Security disability lawyer in North Charleston, they will offer support to help you showcase your plea for help in the best light. There are four levels of appeal actions, usually taken in escalating order. Most of these can be performed online, but even if you are tech-savvy, the process can be confusing.
Your attorney can advise you on where to start and when to continue your appeal.
When your claim is denied for a medical reason, you can request a reconsideration. This is a complete review of your case by a staff member who was not part of the initial review team. Asking for a set of “fresh eyes” could make the difference, especially if you are able to provide additional medical evidence in your favor.
If you were denied for a non-medical reason, such as your income, resources, or living arrangements, or you have been overpaid benefits, you can still request a reconsideration.
Administrative Law Judge Hearing
If you are still denied after a reconsideration, you can request a hearing for a review of your claim by an Administrative Law Judge. This judge will not have been part of your first application or the reconsideration. You will be contacted to schedule a hearing at your regional office after you make the request.
Review by the Appeals Council
If you are still denied benefits after a hearing, you can move to the next level. This involves requesting a review by the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council. A review is not guaranteed. If they do grant the review, they will decide to 1) deny or dismiss your request, 2) issue a new decision that could be an approval, or 3) return your request to the Administrative Law Judge. The judge would then rule on your appeal.
Federal Court Review
The final level of appeal is to file a civil action requesting a review in a Federal district court. You can pursue this action if you disagree with the decision of the Appeals Court or if they deny you a review. Filing this requires the help of an attorney who can also represent you in court.
Hire a North Charleston Social Security Disability Attorney Today
Facing a confusing federal program like Social Security should not keep you from applying for the disability benefits you deserve when you are sick or injured. If you cannot work, you cannot pay bills or support your family. Social Security Disability benefits are meant to help people in their time of need, but they can be hard to get.
When you need help in applying for or appealing your claim, it is time to hire a North Charleston Social Security Disability attorney from the Shelly Leeke Law Firm. We are committed to protecting your rights and guiding you through the claims process. Contact us and schedule your no-cost, no-risk consultation today.