When you have a condition that makes it impossible for you to work, you need to apply for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA). At Osterhout Berger Disability Law, we have a team of attorneys with over 50 years of combined experience, and we’ve helped thousands of people in Lawrence and surrounding areas obtain the SSA disability benefits that they needed.
Applying for SSD Benefits
When you begin the application process, there are a few places that you might think of starting the paperwork. You might be tempted to fill everything out online because it’s comfortable and convenient to never have to leave your home. Unfortunately, the downside to this idea is that the SSA application for disability benefits can be lengthy and confusing, and if you make even one mistake, it could cost you benefits. You won’t have access to anyone for questions at home, so you might choose to go to the SSA office in your area to start the application process. The benefit to this option is that you’re able to talk to the office workers when you have a question. This has its drawbacks, too. The office workers at the SSA aren’t invested in seeing a positive outcome for your case, so you’re still the one who has to deal with all of the details. The best option is to come to us at Osterhout Berger Disability Law. We have attorneys who would love to see you get the benefits that you need through the SSA, and they have the knowledge and experience to make it happen.
Starting the application process can be daunting, and having an overview of what you can expect will make you more prepared. First of all, you’ll need to compile a list of all of the doctors that you’ve seen for your condition, and you’ll need to submit a list of all of the medical facilities where you’ve seen medical professionals. This list will include the facilities where you’ve had scheduled appointments, but it will also include any hospitals you went to for emergency care for your illness or injury. You also need to describe the ways that your condition interrupts your life and makes it difficult or impossible to work. Your doctor will also give the evidence to your claims in their report on your condition.
In certain cases, applicants are asked to complete something called a consultative exam, which is an appointment with a doctor that the SSA chooses. The consultative exam could entail going through more tests, or it could require that you answer some of the doctor’s questions concerning your condition. Either way, the purpose of this type of exam is to learn more about your condition and how it affects your life and abilities.
Appealing a Denial
There are times when even well-laid claims are denied by the SSA. In cases like these, it’s often beneficial to appeal the denial. It’s possible that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) made a mistake to your claim, or there might have been an update to the Blue Book, which is the book that the SSA uses to determine whether or not someone is eligible for disability benefits with the SSA.
If we determine that the ALJ made a mistake with the processing of your claim, we’ll start the appeal process within 65 days of receiving the denial of the claim. In this instance, we’re solely trying to show that the ALJ made a mistake. This point confuses a lot of people because they think that they should submit more evidence that shows that they have a condition and that it prevents them from being able to work. Instead, the approach that you’re going to take in this instance is to show that the ALJ made a mistake. For instance, the judge might fail to apply a recent federal district court ruling to your case that’s similar.
We might also determine that the Blue Book changed its criteria on your condition. If we sent in the evidence before the change occurred, you might be missing out on benefits simply because we didn’t include information that was irrelevant at the time but is now relevant. This is one of the few times when we might include more evidence about your condition in an appeal.
There are a couple of levels that you can appeal at, but you must start with the Appeals Council, which is the only place to appeal within the SSA. You must complete the appeal within 65 days of receiving the notice that your claim was denied. If this fails, you might also have the opportunity to appeal with the federal district court. It’s rare to receive a positive outcome at this level, but if you do appeal, you can be certain that your case will get the attention that it deserves because the federal district court takes all cases that come before it seriously.
What We Do To Win Your Case
When you work with Osterhout Berger Disability Law, you’ll receive lots of services to ensure that you have a positive experience and have the best possible opportunity to attain the disability benefits through the SSA that you need. Namely, when you work with us, you’ll have the benefit of working with professionals who will communicate with you about the process via email, text, phone call, and traditional mail. We’ll explain the entire process from the start, and you can ask any questions that come up throughout the process. We’ll also continuously communicate with you about your particular claim.
A big part of the application process involves compiling all of your medical evidence, and we’ll show you what you need to fill out ahead of time. We’ll also work with you to ensure that all of the paperwork is turned in on time so that it will count toward the decision that the judge makes.
If you’re stressed out about appearing before a judge, you’re not alone, and we’ll make the process less intimidating by walking you through all of the questions that the judge is likely to ask you before you get to the hearing. We’ll also help you come up with responses that are going to put you in a positive light.
When you don’t understand the legal jargon, you might not know how to best respond. We’ll take care of that by representing you on the day of the hearing. We’ll also question any expert witnesses that we call upon to strengthen your case.
If your claim isn’t successful, we’ll start the process of submitting the appeal right away so that you’ll meet the 65-day deadline.
What We Need You To Do
While we do everything possible to make your claim go smoothly with as little hassle for you as possible, there are a few things that only you can do. For instance, we need you to return our phone calls and other forms of communication promptly so that we can keep you updated and you can fill out the paperwork that only you’re legally allowed to give permission for. As an example, you’re the only person who can authorize the release of your medical records to the SSA.
You also have to continue to go to your medical appointments and do your treatment plans. This is important because when you fail to do either of these things, you give off the impression that your condition isn’t as debilitating as you say it is. You might also cause the judge to question whether your condition would improve if you did your treatments.
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.