Social Security Disability
At Teel & Maroney, P.L.C. we represent disabled people and their families who have social security claims for disability. We provide our clients with the information needed to make an informed decision regarding Social Security Disability laws and regulations. An understanding of your legal rights can help you deal effectively with your disability and the resulting financial issues.
Once you have recognized that you need help with your social security disability claim, the next step is selecting an attorney to help you through the process. Our level of experience is such that we have seen a great variety of situations relating to social security disability and helped many people receive the benefits they are entitled.
What is Social Security Disability?
During working years, employees, employers, and self-employed people pay into the social security system. When a worker’s earnings stop or are reduced because of retirement, death, or disability, social security benefits will be paid to the worker or his family based on the contributions he or she made into the system. Disability benefits are provided under two programs. Social Security Disability (SSD) provides benefits to disabled people or their families who have made prior contributions to the social security system. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides benefits to disabled people who are poor. Both programs also provide benefits to a disabled widow or widower as well as to disabled children.
How does the social security system define a disability?
Under the Social Security Act, disability is defined as the inability to work due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or results in death. The medical determination is based on a physician’s report, laboratory reports, and physical signs and symptoms. Non-medical factors such as age, education, and prior work experience are also considered.
How does someone apply for benefits?
You begin by telephoning the Social Security Administration and either give your application over the phone or schedule an appointment to apply for benefits in person at a local social security office.
What if your claim is denied?
If your claim is denied, you should file a Request for Reconsideration (an appeal). The most common mistake people make is failing to appeal. More than half of the people whose applications are denied full benefits fail to appeal. Many people who are denied on reconsideration fail to request a hearing. The denial of claims is frequently reversed on appeal. Only about 40% of claims are approved at the initial level. The remaining claims are approved through the appeals and hearing stages, with 20% of claims being approved at reconsideration.
Do you have to hire a lawyer to get benefits?
A person does not need a lawyer’s help to file an application. However, if your claim is denied, a lawyer’s help can make a difference in whether or not you are successful in winning on appeal. The Government’s own statistics show that benefits are awarded far more frequently to people with attorneys than those who handle their own claims without an attorney to represent their best interests. For instance, as part of the claim process, you may have a hearing before an administrative law judge, and that appearance is a legal proceeding. An attorney experienced in social security disability claims can help you at the hearing and mean the difference between receiving your benefits or not.
How will Teel & Maroney, P.L.C. work with you?
If you would like more information about Teel & Maroney, P.L.C. we are happy to provide it. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and you will pay no legal fees unless you hire us. Our team of lawyers and support staff strives to satisfactorily meet client objectives and goals by focusing on your case.
Should you choose to have us represent you, we will do the following:
- Gather and review medical and other evidence
- Analyze your case under Social Security regulations
- Contact your physician and explain Social Security regulations to obtain a report consistent with the regulations
- Refer you to specialists for further medical reports in answer to questions raised by the Social Security Administration
- Send you to a vocational expert for a report on your ability to work
- Suggest that the Social Security Administration send you to a doctor for a consultative examination
- Obtain documents from your Social Security file
- Review actions taken by the Social Security Administration
- Ask that a prior application for benefits be reopened to obtain more retroactive benefits for you
- Seek waiver of a time limit
- Request subpoenas to ensure the appearance of crucial witnesses at your hearing
- Present a closing argument at your hearing
- Ensure that Social Security Administration is paying you the appropriate amount of benefits
- If necessary, request an appeal of your case to the Appeals Council
- If necessary, represent you in a federal court review of your case