SSDI benefits are notoriously difficult to obtain. The Social Security Administration (SSA) that manages the program has established complicated criteria for determining eligibility, and their staff applies these criteria rigorously. It should be noted that with perseverance and a thorough approach, it is possible for claimants in Fulton County to demonstrate that they are eligible for benefits and to receive an award.
A Fulton County SSDI lawyer could make the process easier right from the start. When you work with a team of experienced attorneys who understand the procedures and what the agency requires, you may be able to avoid much of the uncertainty and mistakes that could cause your claim to be delayed or denied.
Overview of SSDI
The acronym SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. This program is a form of insurance paid for by workers through their payroll contributions under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act or FICA. Only employees who have paid Social Security tax for a requisite number of years are eligible to receive disability payments through this program. Self-employed workers who pay FICA tax are also eligible.
In conjunction with the work requirements, SSA requires those seeking benefits to prove that they are suffering from a physically discernable disability that renders them unable to work at any meaningful employment for one year or more. Since demonstrating the required level of disability often proves quite difficult, a skilled SSDI lawyer in Fulton County may be able to help.
Applying for Benefits
The process of applying for SSDI seems simple. Applicants may either fill out a form online or make an appointment to apply by phone or at a local SSA office. The applicant should be prepared to provide information such as:
- Proof of identity;
- Names and contact information for doctors and medical facilities that provided care for the disabling condition, and the dates of each visit;
- Dosages of medications;
- Medical records from hospitals, therapists, doctors, and other medical professionals;
- Test results;
- Information about employment and occupation; and
- W-2 forms or tax returns.
While the SSA urges applicants to apply even if they do not have all the necessary information, the lack of necessary information could provide grounds for denying a claim.
Appealing a Social Security Disability Insurance Denial
The SSDI application process includes four opportunities for appealing denials, so it almost appears that there is an expectation that many claims will require an appeal to succeed. The first step to take after an initial determination is denied is to request a reconsideration, which a team of seasoned attorneys could help with. During a reconsideration, staff members review information.
If reconsideration does not lead to a successful outcome, an applicant may request an administrative hearing. A hearing before an administrative law judge often provides the best opportunity to demonstrate that the applicant qualifies for benefits. Judges may take a more liberal stance when it comes to applying criteria than agency staff is permitted to take.
In situations where the hearing also results in a denial, the applicant may appeal by requesting a review from the Appeals Board. If all else fails, then the case may be appealed to federal court. Individuals who have received denials for their application could speak with a Fulton County SSDI attorney to learn how they may be able to appeal the decision.
Contact a Fulton County SSDI Attorney for Guidance
While the SSA does not require those seeking these types of benefits to obtain assistance from an attorney, the procedures do allow for applicants to work with legal advisors or other representatives. An advocate who understands the process can often present a claimant’s case more thoroughly than someone who is experiencing the administrative procedures of the SSA for the first time.
A knowledgeable Fulton County SSDI lawyer could provide advice and answer your questions to get you started or could provide representation throughout the process to help you make the best case. To learn how a dedicated attorney could help you work toward achieving the benefits you deserve, call for a consultation today.