At Osterhout Berger Disability Law, we care about our clients in Blair County, PA, and we’re pleased to represent you for your disability benefits case. We’ve been taking care of people just like you for a long time, and we have a combined experience of over 50 years. In fact, we’ve helped thousands of people obtain the disability benefits that they need.
Applying for SSD Benefits
When you have a disability that prevents you from being able to work for a year or qualifies you for the Compassionate Allowance Program, you need to start the application process for SSA disability benefits. There are three basic ways that you can start filling out the paperwork. The first option is to fill it out online at home, which some people like because it’s the most convenient. Another option is to go to your local Social Security Administration office to start the paperwork. Some people choose this option because they’re interested in getting their questions answered in person. A third option is to come to us at Osterhout Berger Disability Law so that we can ensure that all of your claim paperwork is filled out correctly so that you have optimal chances of receiving a favorable response on your disability claim.
There are several types of information that you’ll have to provide, including a list of all of the doctors that you’ve seen and a list of all of the hospitals and clinics that you’ve been admitted to or had tests at. You’ll also need to fill out the paperwork to give permission to the facilities to release your records to the SSA. Finally, you need to give an account of how your condition affects your everyday life and ability to work.
Some applicants are also asked to go to something called a consultative exam. This doctor’s appointment is with a doctor of the SSA’s choosing, and you must go to it if you want to be eligible for disability benefits. The doctor might run more tests and ask you more questions about your condition to get information about your condition and how it impacts your life and ability to work.
Appealing a Denial
More often than not, claims are denied, and this can happen even when the claim has been laid out very well. Thankfully, there’s an appeals process that you can go through if you feel like the decision was made against your favor in error. There are times when the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) makes a decision in error because they weren’t up to date on the latest in rulings from the federal district court on cases similar to yours. Another reason that your claim might be falsely denied is if the qualifications for your condition changed and you didn’t have all of the evidence in your claim because it wasn’t relevant according to the Blue Book when you made your claim. This is one of the few instances when you’ll submit more medical evidence during an appeal.
There are a couple of levels that you can make your appeal at, but you must start with the Appeals Council. This council is within the Social Security Administration, and its job is to determine whether or not there was an error on the part of the ALJ. You must file your appeal within 65 days of receiving the denial.
If you’re again denied at this level, there’s also a chance that you’ll be able to appeal again at the federal district court level. While most appeals are denied at this level, the federal district court takes cases that come to them very seriously, so you can feel secure that your case will get the attention that it deserves if it gets taken to this level.
It’s important to remember that the purpose of an appeal isn’t to try to prove that you have a particular condition or that your condition negatively impacts your ability to go to work and function on a daily basis. Instead, you’re trying to show that the ALJ made an error or something about the qualifications for your condition changed and you now meet the criteria. It might sound like it’s the same thing, but it’s the difference between the types of evidence that you bring in. For instance, you’re not going to bring in more evidence about your condition unless it’s evidence about a certain criterion that wasn’t relevant when you applied.
What We Do To Win Your Case
As your attorney, there are several things that you can expect that we’ll do to ensure that you have the optimal opportunity to win your claim or appeal. First of all, we’ll keep in communication via text, letter, phone call, and email so that you can be certain that you understand what’s going on with your case. We also fully explain the process in the beginning, but we’re happy to explain things in more detail at any point.
We also work with you to build your case and obtain all of your medical records. Every piece of information is key, and we want to know that the judge has all of the required information to increase the likelihood that you’ll win your case. We make sure that all of our clients’ medical information is submitted to the judge before the time of the hearing, and we can also remind you to go to all of your doctor’s appointments and continue with your medical treatment plan.
Being prepared for the hearing is also key when you’re making a claim for disability benefits. At Osterhout Berger Disability Law, we’ll prepare you for your hearing by asking you the questions that you’re likely to be asked so that you already have an answer ready. Understanding which points in your case are key is also important, and we’ll go through all of the highlights of your case so that you understand what’s most important. We’ll also represent you on the day of your hearing because we know that you need someone to take care of the confusing process and explain all of the legal jargon.
Finally, if we’re not initially successful with your claim, we can discuss with you your options and start the appeal process. We’ll begin this process as soon as possible so that we can optimize the possibility of winning your appeal.
What You’ll Need To Do
At Osterhout Berger Disability Law, we do everything that we can to make your experience as simple as possible, but there are a few things that we need you to do. For instance, you’ll need to stay in contact with us by returning phone calls, text messages, emails, and other forms of communication that we send. There are some things that only you can do, such as filling out the form that lets hospitals release your medical records. If you don’t fill those out in time, there’s no way for us to ensure that the judge has all of your medical records in time. Moreover, we want to know that you always understand what’s happening with your case so that you always know that you had the best opportunity possible to win your case.
We also need you to continue your treatment plan and go to all of your scheduled medical appointments. When you fail to do everything in your treatment program or miss appointments, it sends the message that your condition isn’t as bad as what you say. It also sends the message that your medical treatments might be enough to make you well enough to return to work if you actually followed them.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.