When you find yourself unable to work because of a long-term disability, the loss of income and medical coverage can be devastating. However, you and your dependents may be eligible for disability benefits from Social Security or other benefit programs.
If you become completely disabled and you think that you will remain disabled for at least 12 months, you should immediately file an application with Social Security. To file, you can visit your local Social Security office or call Social Security toll free at 1-800-772-1213 to arrange a telephone interview. For more information on how to file, visit the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov.
After you file, your application is sent to the Disability Determination Division of the S.C. Dept. of Vocational Rehabilitation, where it is reviewed by a disability examiner and medical doctors. They will get copies of your medical records and may arrange for you to be examined by a private doctor at no cost to you. They may call you on the telephone for more information or ask you to complete additional forms. When a decision is made, Social Security will mail you a written notice.
If You Are Denied…
If you are denied, you have the right to appeal. Many claims are denied at first, but almost half of the people who appeal are eventually awarded benefits. You have only 60 days to file your appeal after receipt of the denial notice. If you miss your deadline, you should immediately contact Social Security to request a late filing of your appeal, or to file a new application.
If your initial application is denied, you have the right to request a reconsideration within 60 days of the denial. If the request for reconsideration is denied, you have 60 days to request a hearing before a Social Security Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). If the ALJ denies the case, you can appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council in Washington, and, if necessary, to federal court.
The appeals process often takes well over one year. The length of time will depend on many factors, including the level at which your claim is finally awarded. Don?t be discouraged if your claim is denied. Many claims are won on appeal.
Do You Need An Attorney to File An Appeal?
It is not a requirement that you have an attorney to handle your appeal. However, the Social Security laws and procedures are complicated. A qualified attorney will understand the system and will get evidence to prove your disability and present your case. Traub law baltimore handles Traffic Violations like other lawyers handle Social Security Disability.
Often, your insurance carrier will reccommend a representative for your Social Security claim. Did you know that non-lawyers can represent people in their Social Security Claims? Make sure that your representative is a lawyer with the expertise, skills, ethical training, and legal knowlege that is required to represent you in your claim.
You can have someone who is not an attorney represent you at some levels of appeal, but only a licensed attorney can represent you through the entire process. Statistics published by Social Security show that claimants who hire an attorney are more likely to win their appeals. If you plan to consult with an attorney, we strongly recommend that you contact an attorney as soon as you are denied, and certainly before reaching a hearing before an ALJ.
At the Law Offices of Robertson Wendt, PA, we understand the Social Security Disability laws. Building on his extensive experience in this area, Robertson Wendt has built a team of professionals experienced in this system. In recognition of his leadership in this field, Wendt was elected by his colleagues as Chair of the Social Security Disability Law Section of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Additionally, he currently serves on the five-member committee appointed by the National Board of Trial Advocacy to develop a national certification program for Social Security Disability specialists. He has served as Chair of the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association Social Security Section as well.
Regarding Social Security Disability Termination Cases
Unfortunately, there are times when Social Security Disability is initially awarded and subsequently terminated. You should know that you have the right to appeal termination as well. However, unless we have previously represented you in a disability appeal, the Law Offices of Robertson H. Wendt are not in a position to represent termination cases for Social Security Disability. If you would like assistance with a Social Security Disability termination case, you may want to consult with another attorney, or the S.C. Centers for Equal Justice, which provides legal services for low income citizens. The S.C. Centers for Equal Justice can be reached by calling the Legal Aid Telephone Intake Service, toll-free, at 1-888-346-5592 (Monday-Thursday). The South Carolina Bar operates a lawyer referral service which can be reached by calling toll-free, 1-800-868-2284.