Social Security Disability
Georgia Social Security Disability Attorney
Social Security disability benefits are a lifeboat for people who can no longer work because of an illness or injury. At The Law Office of Rick J. DeMedeiros, we meet with people every week who have applied for benefits only to be denied. We understand how stressful it can be not knowing whether you will be able to support yourself and your family.
Fortunately, help is available. A social security disability attorney can help you bring an appeal of any denial and can get you the benefits you need. For immediate assistance, please call us today.
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
To qualify for benefits, you must have a disability that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in your death. You also must have sufficient work credits to qualify, which means you must have worked around 5-10 years before applying for benefits. The number of work credits you need will depend on certain factors such as your age.
If you believe you qualify, you can apply online or with the Social Security Administration (SSA) office nearest to you. You will need to submit supporting medical documentation, which a disability officer will review.
Initial Denials are Common
According to statistics, over 70% of people who apply for disability in Georgia are initially denied. Fortunately, a denial does not end the matter, and you will have additional chances to get approved. However, you have very strict deadlines which you must meet. If you go over the deadline, you can expect to be denied benefits permanently.
There are many reasons for denial, including:
- You do not have sufficient work history to qualify for benefits.
- You are not sufficiently disabled to qualify for benefits.
- You are disabled, but your disability is not covered by Social Security disability
Read your denial letter, since it should contain information telling you exactly why you were denied.
Request for Reconsideration
After a denial, you can ask the SSA office to reconsider your application. Essentially, a different disability examiner will review the evidence submitted and make a determination of whether you qualify. You have a very short window of time to request reconsideration, so you must move promptly.
Unfortunately, only a small percentage of people are approved after a reconsideration—around 11%.
You can also ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), who will decide whether you qualify for disability benefits. Many people have greater success at the hearing stage because the ALJ is entirely independent, unlike the initial examiners who are employed by SSA.
A hearing requires extensive preparation. Since months will have passed since you initially applied for disability benefits, you will need to gather new medical records. Also, preparing the record for appeal allows you to address any weaknesses in your initial application. You should make sure you have evidence that directly responds to the reasons given for your denial.
Applicants have a much higher success rate at the administrative hearing stage—around 55%, though the success rate depends on the Georgia office. As you can see, it makes sense to continue to appeal. Don’t let the first “no” dissuade you from still trying to obtain benefits.
How a Social Security Disability Attorney Can Help
After an initial denial, you might be confused about why you do not qualify for benefits. Often, a lawyer can quickly analyze your application, along with your denial letter, and identify the reason.
A lawyer also will understand what evidence you need to convince an administrative law judge that you qualify for benefits. Many attorneys appear before the same ALJs and understand how they think. Although every case is different, and no one can promise success, you will increase your chances of being approved for benefits if you hire an experienced social security disability attorney.
Even better, social security disability attorneys do not charge attorneys’ fees to bring appeals. Instead, they get paid only if you win and receive a portion of your unpaid benefits.
Experienced Legal Counsel
Rick J. DeMedeiros is an experienced social security disability attorney in Georgia who has helped many clients obtain badly needed benefits. He has experience with administrative hearings and requests for consideration and is happy to discuss your options with you.
To learn more, or to get answers to your questions, please reach out today. Potential clients can schedule a free, no-risk consultation by calling 888-995-7425 or submitting an online contact form. Please avoid delay.