Do you have a disability that prevents you from working? Contact Steinger, Greene & Feiner to see if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. We’ll help you submit a strong application so you can secure the financial support you and your family need. Don’t wait to take the first step. Contact one of our Jacksonville, Florida, based Social Security Disability lawyers today.
What Is Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two similar yet distinct federal programs that provide financial assistance to those who meet specific disability criteria. Common disabilities that qualify a person include respiratory disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, and mental disorders. Here are the differences between SSDI and SSI.
If you’re insured, you and qualifying family members can obtain benefits from the federal government. To qualify, you must have worked long enough and paid enough Social Security taxes on your income during that time. You must meet two earning tests that take your age at the time you became disabled into account. Lastly, you must submit information documenting your medical condition that will either prevent you from working for one year or result in death.
To claim benefits for yourself and any children, you must have limited income and resources due to factors like physical disability, blindness, or old age. Like with SSDI, you must submit information documenting your condition.
Click here for more information on how to apply for SSDI and SSI benefits.
Why Choose a Jacksonville Social Security Disability Lawyer?
When it comes to hiring a Social Security Disability lawyer, staying local is the way to go. Jacksonville attorneys not only understand the city’s legal landscape but are also familiar with the local Social Security field office and judges who handle these case types.
The Importance of Hiring a Specialist
The Social Security Disability claims process is complex and distinct from those involving other case types. While a general personal injury lawyer can provide legal representation, only the expertise of a specialist will significantly improve your chances of securing benefits. That’s because a lawyer who specializes in Social Security Disability law knows the Social Security Administration’s rules, how they define disability, what documentation is required to apply, and what requirements an applicant must meet to qualify for benefits.
These are the top two benefits of hiring a specialist as your Social Security Disability attorney:
1. Achieve a higher success rate
SSDI and SSI applicants have a higher chance of securing benefits with legal representation than without it. According to a study published by Martindale-Nolo Research, 60% of applicants who hired an attorney in 2017 were approved for benefits, compared to just 34% for those who didn’t hire an attorney.
A lawyer is most helpful before and after the initial application, as most applicants are denied benefits during this stage. For example, a lawyer helps the applicant submit an appeal and represents them at their appeal hearing. 71% of surveyed applicants who appealed their denial hired a lawyer to represent them at their hearing. Of those applicants, 50% were approved for benefits, while only 23% of applicants without legal representation were approved.
2. Understand complex regulations
Obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is more difficult than it might seem. Claiming you have a disability and can’t work because of it won’t cut it, unfortunately. You must provide evidence of your condition and clearly prove that it impedes your ability to work and provide financially for yourself and your family.
A Social Security Disability lawyer knows how the Social Security Administration (SSA) defines “disability,” the hours that must be worked and Social Security taxes that must be paid to qualify for benefits, and other rules and regulations that impact your likelihood of securing benefits.
How Steinger, Greene & Feiner Can Help
Thanks to our wealth of resources and 25+ years of experience handling these cases, Steinger, Greene & Feiner is equipped to achieve the results you want. Here are some of the services our attorneys provide to Social Security Disability clients.
- Review your claim during a free evaluation to determine whether you have a strong case
- Understand the essentials of Social Security Disability law and what legal options are available
- Gather all necessary documentation for your application
- Submit your application to the SSA at your local Social Security field office
- Submit an appeal if your claim is denied
- Handle communications with the Division of Disability Determinations (DDD), which determines whether Florida residents qualify for Social Security Disability benefits
- Prepare for an SSDI hearing if necessary, like knowing what questions you’ll be asked and how to answer them
- Keep you informed about your application status and hearing date
Hear From Satisfied Clients
“From beginning to end my attorney Alison Davis was so attentive and on top of every detail of the process. It isn’t something that you can do on your own, and Steinger, Greene, and Feiner is a great option. I hope I don’t need to but would definitely use them again. Very happy with my settlement, and as they say “I love my attorney!”
“This is one of the best attorneys I have ever used. They kept me informed on what they were doing and how they did it. To all who are looking for a good attorney, this is the one to use. You won’t regret it. They are the best. He will be my attorney from now on when I need him.
“I had the best experience with my attorney, Josh. He was always available to answer any questions I had. He is kind and thoughtful and had the best personality, even if a question I had was silly. He always reassured me everything was going to be alright, and it was. I will be referring him and your law firm to anyone who needs an excellent Personal Injury Attorney.”
Understanding the Social Security Disability Claim Process
The Initial Application
We highly recommend filing for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. It can take several months for your claim to be processed. If your claim is denied, you’ll go even longer without the financial assistance you need to support yourself and your family.
Here’s a breakdown of the information you must provide with your application:
- Your Social Security number
- Your birth certificate
- Proof of citizenship or lawful alien status
- Details of your medical condition, test and lab results, medical records, and doctors’ reports
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all medical facilities and professionals who provided care
- The dates you received medical care
- The names and dosage amounts of all current medications
- Your most recent employer, most recent job title and duties, recent income, jobs held before your disability, and worker’s compensation information
- Most recent W-2 form or federal tax return from the past year if you’re self-employed
The Social Security Administration will review your application to ensure you meet all basic requirements for claiming benefits. If you meet these requirements, your application will then go to Florida’s Disability Determination Services office, which will evaluate information like medical evidence to either approve or disapprove your application. If your application is approved, you’ll receive a letter outlining the total and start date of your benefits. If your application is denied, you’ll receive a letter explaining why and how you can appeal the decision.
Potential Reasons for Application Denial
These are the most common reasons why Social Security Disability applications get denied.
- Your disability isn’t severe enough to qualify for financial assistance
- Your application was missing pertinent information
- You didn’t file your application on time
- You didn’t follow the treatment plan provided by your doctor
- You didn’t appear in court for your disability hearing
But don’t worry. Just because your initial application is denied doesn’t mean you can’t still obtain benefits. If your benefits claim is denied, you can submit an appeal.
The Appeals Process
- Reconsideration: Ask the SSA to reconsider your application.
- Hearing: Request a hearing with a judge if your application is denied during the reconsideration stage.
- Appeals Council: If you disagree with the judge’s decision, you can request a review with the Appeals Council.
- Federal Court Review: Finally, if you don’t agree with the Appeals Council’s decision, your last resort is to file a district court action with the U.S. District Court. If your claim is still denied, you cannot obtain Social Security Disability benefits.
A lawyer can help during each stage of the appeals process by:
- Explaining complex rules and processes
- Gathering information and organizing documents
- Providing advice and support
- Handling all external communications
- Representing you in court
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Social Security Disability
1. Not providing enough medical evidence
Like with any other case, providing sufficient evidence is essential for the success of your Social Security Disability claim. Gather all personal information, medical records, proof of employment and income, and other relevant documentation required by the SSA. Anything information that supports your claim of disability will strengthen your case.
2. Missing the deadline for filing an application
If you miss deadlines during the application or appeals process, you risk losing out on benefits you could have received. The tricky part is submitting an application at the right time. If you submit too soon, you may not have enough evidence to prove that your disability will have long-term effects or even cause death. If you file too late, you may have so much debt that any benefits received won’t provide enough financial support.
If you miss important deadlines, your only option is to submit a new application. This can be costly both in terms of your money and your time. Thankfully, a skilled Social Security Disability lawyer in Jacksonville will keep track of deadlines for you and ensure they’re met.
3. Not following your doctor’s orders or treatment plans
When your initial application is in the review process, the SSA will check to see whether you sought medical care for your disability and whether you followed any recommendations your doctor provided to try to improve your condition. If you included in your application that you received medical care and followed the doctor’s orders, but the SSA discovers this information is false, you will likely be disqualified from receiving benefits.
4. Failing to appear for your disability hearing
Let’s say you submitted an application to the SSA to obtain Social Security disability benefits. During the initial review, your application is denied. After consulting an attorney, you submit an appeal to the SSA asking them to reconsider your application. If they deny your application a second time, you can request a hearing with a local judge who will review your case in an official hearing. The judge will then determine whether you qualify for benefits.
If you don’t appear in court for your hearing, the judge may dismiss your case entirely. To prevent this from happening, hire an attorney to make sure you show up to your hearing and have the best representation available.
Contact a Jacksonville Social Security Disability Lawyer Today
The first step in securing benefits is finding out if you qualify for them. Contact our team today to schedule a free case evaluation. A Jacksonville Social Security Disability lawyer will review the details of your case to determine whether you meet the disability requirements outlined by the SSA. If you qualify, you can count on us to provide elite representation every step of the way and secure maximum benefits for you and your loved ones.