Social Security Disability Claims & How We Help
People who don’t really need the benefits, or who are “faking sick,” are approved for benefits right away.
In general, it is very difficult to be approved for benefits. Over the years, the rules have changed to make it more and more difficult to prove disability, which makes it less and less likely that people who are not actually disabled and deserving of benefits get approved. People who are approved for benefits have significant amounts of medical records and support from their own doctors, and often more than one doctor.
Applying for SSD Benefits
Do You Qualify?
You pay Social Security taxes when you work so when you reach the required age you will have Social Security Retirement Income and Medicare. But an unexpected illness, injury or decline in your health could force you to stop working at an earlier age. If you’re in this situation, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits/payments from your Social Security account before retirement age when your disabling condition is expected to keep you from returning to work permanently or for more than 12 months. You may also qualify for disability payments from a deceased spouse’s Social Security account, or from a retired or deceased parent’s account if you are a young adult with a severe medical condition.
If you are not eligible to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may be able to file a claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI has additional income and resource limitations.
How We Help
Determining eligibility for disability can be daunting, especially while dealing with a disabling condition. There are numerous factors, documents and requirements that make the process dificult to successfully navigate alone. We provide a free consultation to evaluate your individual situation and help determine both your eligibility to file a claim and the claim type.
Initial applications for Social Security Disability benefits can be filed online, by phone or in the Social Security office. The process is complicated, confusing, and if filed by Social Security alone or through an advocate service, it often may not have all of the required information in the format needed to gain an approved outcome.
How We Help
When we help you file your SSD application you can rest assured that it will be accurate and appropriately formatted to provide the Social Security Administration a complete picture of your disabling condition for the best possible outcome. Although Social Security does not have an online version of the SSI application, we will assist you with the process of making an appointment with Social Security to file for SSI, and, as your representative, we will begin working on your claim immediately after the Social Security Administration processes your SSI application.
We also provide you with a case manager who works alongside your attorney to help you every step of the way. Your case manager will be the contact person who deals directly with Social Security for you. While your application is reviewed by the Disability Determinations Service (DDS), the agency that makes the decision on your claim, your case manager will contact your doctors and other treatment providers for statements to assist your case. Your case manager will also handle requests from the disability examiner reviewing your claim and will be proactive in obtaining documentation to maximize your chance of an approval.
There may be numerous deadlines to return paperwork, attend scheduled Social Security medical examinations, or provide additional information. Your case manager will ensure you are aware of any appointments, assist you with completion of forms and establish a schedule to make sure requested documents are returned to the disability examiner in a timely manner. Other firms do not have a support staff large enough to provide you with this level of comprehensive service.
No Fees Until We Win Benefits for You.
First Appeal – Reconsideration
If your initial application for disability benefits is denied, you can and should appeal the denial. The first appeal is called Reconsideration, which is a paper review of the first or initial decision. Your claim is returned to the Disability Determinations Service (DDS) and assigned to a disability examiner who did not previously review your case. This appeal is structured by Social Security to be a confirmation or reversal of the initial decision on your claim.
How We Help
We will file your appeal, again ensuring that accurate and detailed information is presented to provide a positive decision. While your claim is pending at the DDS your case manager will contact the disability examiner and review the list of documents in your file. Additional forms may be requested or medical examinations scheduled. We will continue to update and develop your documentation to provide an avenue to a reversal of the initial denial and so that a record is built effectively for an appeal hearing, should it be necessary.
Second Appeal – Hearing
The majority of disability cases are approved at the second appeal, which is a Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge. Your claim will be sent to one of three Offices of Hearings and Appeals in Arizona. In time, your case will be scheduled for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge and, if the judge chooses, an independent vocational expert or medical expert.
How We Help
Your case will be prepared by our team of hearing specialists who work directly with your attorney to obtain all necessary medical records and evidence to develop the legal basis for your case to be approved. Our Social Security Disability attorneys’ experience and extensive knowledge of Social Security Law will ensure you are well prepared for your day in front of the judge.
You will meet with your attorney prior to the day of the hearing so that you are aware of the entire process and have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss any concerns you may have about the hearing. Because we are local, Arizona attorneys we have the advantage of knowing the judges in the three Offices of Hearings and Appeals. We are familiar with their individual requirements, preferences and procedures. We have a well-established presence at hearings, having represented over 15,000 clients at hearings.
On the day of the hearing, your SSD attorney will be by your side and will know how to effectively present evidence to support your disability case and assertively question any independent medical and vocational experts the Social Security Administration may call upon to testify your appeal.
Appeals Council, USDC, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
In the event your claim is denied by the Administrative Law Judge, the next step is to file a Request for Review of the judge’s decision to the Appeals Council and even to the federal court system – the US District Court and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
How We Help
It is important for you to know that many attorneys, especially the large national firms, do not continue
representation beyond the level of the Administrative Law Judge. That is not the case with Ober Pekas Ronstadt. We have an excellent record and long history of successful representation in the federal court system.
Facing Termination of SSD Benefits?
Continuing Disability Review (CDR)
Most SSD and SSI claims will be reviewed for termination periodically for reasons such as: return to work or improvement in your condition or financial circumstances. When this happens, Social Security will notify you by mail that a review is taking place and request information about your current medical treatment and work activity. If they believe you no longer qualify for benefits, they will notify you of their decision and of the date your benefits will stop.
How We Help
The Continuing Disability Review can be overwhelming but it is crucial that you appeal a notice of termination immediately. We will answer your questions about the process with a free consultation. We also provide you with guidance through the first appeal and in the event you receive a second notice, our attorneys represent SSD and SSI recipients if a Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge is necessary.
We Serve All of Arizona
|and anywhere YOU are in AZ.|
Choosing our Arizona Disability Attorneys provides advantages you can’t get from national firms and non-local advocates.
We’re Here for You.
Get Help Today!
Free Consultation. No Fees Until We Win You Benefits.