Do you need a Little Rock Social Security Disability Attorney?
Navigating the Social Security system is seldom easy, and obtaining the compensation you deserve may require legal help from a leading Social Security Disability lawyer Little Rock AR trusts.
Aside from traditional Social Security benefits that Americans earn by paying into the system, there are two types of help for people who have disabilities that prevent them from working. Social Security Disability compensation is available for those who have paid into the system at or above a specified level over time. Supplemental Security Income is a program for those who have not.
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Understanding Social Security Disability Benefits
Applying for Social Security benefits because of a disability is easy, but often the initial application is just the beginning of the process.
In order to apply according to the Social Security Administration, a person must be:
- Age 18 or older
- Not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record
- Unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death; and
- Not been denied disability benefits in the last 60 days.
A person may apply in person at a Social Security office, after setting up an appointment or may apply online at www.ssa.gov. The initial application includes questions about work history, education, and medical conditions/treatments. As a disability lawyer, Little Rock AR offers would agree, it may be wise to gather all documents relating to those areas beforehand, including information regarding past medical appointments and medications.
To qualify for social security disability, you must meet strict criteria. Part of Social Security’s definition of disability is the inability to work any job. That means that if you are a roofer and can no longer perform this strenuous job due to back problems, but you can sit and perform a less strenuous job like assembling watches on an assembly line, then you are not disabled under Social Security Administration’s guidelines. Even working part-time shows that you have the ability to work.
In addition, the disability must be expected to last for twelve continuous months or be expected to end in death.
Further, the condition must be a “medically determinable impairment.” You cannot be determined to be disabled just because you say you are disabled. You have to have medical documentation to prove your disability. Your doctor must back up his/her medical diagnosis of your impairment with medical history, diagnostic tests and laboratory results. (Get my book Documenting Disability for Health Care Providers.)
To summarize, in order to be found disabled for purposes of the social security administration your condition must be:
- A medically determinable impairment.
- Functionally limiting so that all work in precluded.
- Expected to last for twelve continuous months or be expected to end in death.
Don’t let the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability deter you from applying if you are unable to work. If you are denied, they are required to provide you with a written explanation and then you can decide whether or not to appeal their decision.
The Social Security Administration has developed a 5 step test to determine if you are disabled according to their definition. When a claim is initially filed, it will go through this 5 step evaluation process.
The 5 questions to consider in determining whether or not you are disabled according to the strict definition as set out by the Social Security Administration are as follows:
1. Are you gainfully employed?
2. Is your condition severe? (The condition can be mental or physical or both, either way it interferes with your basic activities at work)
3. Is your condition found in their list of disabling conditions? (You can find these online through the SSA website at:www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm
4. Can you do the work you previously did?
5. Can you do any other type of work?
These factors are a checklist to determine your potential eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. If you are not working then you proceed to step 2 to determine if your condition interferes with work-related activities. If it does not then you are not considered disabled. So, overall, you must pass the first 2 criteria before your claim will be considered. In summary, there are 2 ways to be found disabled under this Social Security Administration checklist:
(1) A finding that the claimant’s impairment meets an impairment described in their listing of impairments; or
(2) A combination of the medical and vocational issues qualifies the claimant for disability. Finding Clinics that provide Free Healthcare
Lisa Douglas has the Social Security Lawyer Little Rock, AR can trust
Historically, only about one-fourth of Social Security Disability claims are approved initially. Reasons for denials vary. In some cases, authorities contend that the medical condition does not prevent the applicant from working. In other cases, the condition may be temporary and not long-lasting, or might not prevent work of another type.
However, an initial Disability Denial of a Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income claim is not the end of the road. In fact, there are four levels of appeals after a denial. Enlisting the help of a top Social Security disability lawyer Little Rock AR knows could be instrumental in a successful application.
Though an applicant who has been denied claim can appeal the decision on his or her own, an experienced Social Security disability lawyer can help an applicant appeal the decision by bolstering the case for benefits, filing documents in a timely manner and explaining every step of the process.
The four levels of appeal are:
- Reconsideration. This is simply a review of the case by someone who did not participate in the initial decision. Applicants generally are not present during a reconsideration.
- Hearing. If the reconsideration results in a denial of a claim, an applicant may ask for a hearing before an administrative Disability Law judge. This judge will not have participated in the original decision or the reconsideration. The applicant will be notified of the time and place of the hearing (usually within 75 miles of the applicant’s residence) and will have the opportunity to provide new information. Witnesses, including medical personnel, may testify during the hearing, and if a disability lawyer Little Rock AR provides is present, he or she may question the witnesses on the applicant’s behalf.
- Appeals Council. If the hearing judge denies the claim for Social Security disability benefits, the applicant may then ask for a review by the Appeals Council. The council srves as an appellate court might and has similar options. The council can decide whether to review the case, and then whether the case should be sent back to a judge for another hearing. The council may decide the case itself, too.
- Federal court. The highest level of appeal is to file a lawsuit in a federal district court.
The listing of impairments (found at: www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm ) describes impairments that are considered severe enough to prevent someone from engaging in gainful employment. This listing is broken down into major body systems and are as follows:
- Musculoskeletal System
- Special Sense and Speech
- Respiratory System
- Cardiovascular System
- Digestive System
- Genitourinary Disorders
- Hematological Disorders
- Skin Disorders
- Endocrine System
- Impairments that Affect Multiple Body Systems
- Mental Disorders
- Malignant Neoplastic Diseases
- Immune System
As previously discussed, you can find these at the Social Security website www.ssa.gov or you can order their free publication by calling 1-800-772-1213.
A favorable decision would require your medical condition meet one or more of these disabling conditions. This medical condition should be documented in your medical records with the diagnostic tests to prove this condition exists.
Contact a Social Security Disability Attorney in Little Rock, AR today!
If you or a loved one has a disability preventing work, contact a Social Security disability lawyer Little Rock AR respects to help you receive all benefits available. Contact the Law Offices of Lisa G. Douglas at www.lisagdouglas.com or call us 24 hours a day at (501) 798-0004.