Social Security Disability

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Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Benefits after Your Injury or Illness

If you are suffering from an injury or illness that will prevent you from working for at least twelve months, contact the Law Firm of Stephen M. Andrews today.

Millions of people in the United States rely on Social Security Disability benefits as a main source of income. Although these benefits are extremely useful for families, receiving them is not always an easy process to get them. According to statistics, more than 65% of new claims for Social Security Disability benefits in Florida are denied every year.

This can lead to a lengthy appeals process and prevent injured workers from getting the benefits and compensation they deserve. Having to file an appeal, go to court hearings, and file further evidence can prevent workers from taking care of their needs while dealing with their injuries and disabilities. By the time many disabled workers are provided benefits, their credit has suffered, they may be on the verge of losing their homes, and may have endured overwhelmingly negative consequences of being unable to work while being left with no source of income to support themselves and their families who counted on them.

When people are unable to work due to an illness or disability, they can benefit greatly by reaching out to a knowledgeable Social Security Disability attorney in Florida as soon as possible. Working with an aggressive and competent attorney from the Law Firm of Stephen M. Andrews can help you obtain the benefits you are entitled to.

Attorney Andrews has nearly 40-years of experience helping injured Floridians get the compensation and benefits that they deserve after being forced out of work due to an illness or injury. Our dedicated team strives to help our clients throughout every step of the legal process to ensure they are in the best position possible to prevail on their claims for benefits.

Regardless of whether you are filing an initial claim or appealing a denial, we can help you. Contact the Law Firm of Stephen M. Andrews today to get help with your claim.

Introduction to Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability (SSD) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is the most common type of benefit provided to disabled Americans by the Social Security Administration. These benefits are available to Floridians who worked but have been deemed to be disabled due to an illness or injury. The amount of money you will receive for disability is dependent upon various factors. Your work history and earnings within the 10-years proceeding your disability will help determine if you qualify for benefits, as well as, the extent of benefits you are entitled. If you are found to be eligible for Social Security Disability, you may qualify for retroactive benefits. These benefits are available to disabled Americans who are found to be disabled before the date of their application.

In lieu of Social Security Disability benefits, injured Floridians may qualify for Supplemental Security Income. These benefits are available for injured people who have a limited work history, limited income, and limited assets. Certain guidelines must be met to qualify for Supplemental Security Income.

When applicants submit applications for benefits, the Social Security Administration will review various factors to determine if you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or both. Working with a knowledgeable SSD attorney in Florida will ensure you get the benefits you are entitled to.

Developing a Disability Case

The vast majority of Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and Northern Florida applicants are unaware of the steps necessary to create a solid claim for Social Security Disability benefits. For this reason, working with a disability lawyer Tallahassee can help you gain the best position possible when applying for benefits.

Our team at the Law Firm of Stephen M. Andrews advocate on behalf of disabled residents throughout Florida to ensure they are able to prevail with their claim. When filing for disability benefits, there are four stages. The steps and stages you are required to go through will depend on whether your claim is accepted or rejected. These steps include the following:

  • Stage #1 – The Initial Filing of Your Application: The initial application for benefits is the first step in requesting disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. Filing the initial application can be done in your local Social Security Office, over the phone, or through the use of an online application. Applications for SSD benefits are rarely accepted at the initial stage. Most cases result in applicants being denied benefits multiple times. When applicants are denied during the initial filing, they can choose to do nothing, file a new claim, or file a Request for Reconsideration of benefits.
  • Stage #2 – The Request for Reconsideration of Benefits: If your initial application for benefits is denied, you have up to 60 days from the date of the denial to file a Request for Reconsideration. During this time, your claim will be reviewed again by the Social Security Administration. If your request is approved by the SSA, you will receive disability benefits. If your claim is denied for a second time, you will either file a new claim or file a request for a hearing. You can also choose to end the application process and go without benefits, but this is not beneficial.
  • Stage #3 – The Hearing: When a Request for Reconsideration is denied by the Social Security Administration, you have up to 60 days from the date of the denial to file a Request for a Hearing. People who are denied previously have their best chances of being approved during this stage. Hearings are held before an Administrative Law Judge. You will receive a notice of your hearing around 30-days prior to the hearing that specifies the date, time, and location where your case will be heard. Although working with an attorney is not a requirement, it is highly recommended. A qualified disability attorney from the Law Firm of Stephen M. Andrews can help you present your case in the most favorable manner to help you get the outcome you expect.
  • Stage #4 – Appeal Council: After your hearing, you will receive a notification of the decision from the Administrative Law Judge. This can take a few months to arrive but will outline whether your claim was approved or denied. Either way, you will receive a formal Notice of Decision. If your claim is approved, you will receive a Notice of Award that states your total monthly payment award amount and the amount of a lump-sum payment for previous months. If your claim is denied, you have the ability to appeal the denial in front of the Appeals Council. However, the Appeals Council commonly confirms the decision made by the Administrative Law Judge. If your claim is denied by an ALJ, you will want to seek assistance from a qualified attorney who can advocate on your behalf and help you file a new claim.

Disability Claims for Mental Illnesses and Disabilities in Florida

Not every illness a person suffers from is visible. In fact, millions of Americans suffer from mental illnesses and other disorders. Suffering from an emotional or mental instability can have a devastating impact on a person’s ability to focus, engage with others, and work.

The Social Security Administration maintains a list of impairments that they use to outline various mental health disorders and conditions. These listings outline various medical conditions that result in an automatic approval of benefits so long as applicants meet all of the requirements. These conditions, which are referred to as listings, include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Affective Disorders
  • Autism
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Organic brain disorders
  • Intellectual disorders

Most applicants are unaware that their conditions may qualify them for expedited approval. Working with an attorney can help you identify the conditions that you may suffer from that may meet the requirements of the list.

Our team at Law Firm of Stephen M. Andrews can review your file to make sure you have all the medical evidence necessary to satisfy the criteria. Attorney Andrews will help you obtain any missing evidence and help you get the testing you need to meet the listing. Some other mental conditions that are eligible for automatic approval include:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance addiction disorder
  • Dementia/Alzheimer’s

An array of requirements are in place to ensure you meet all of the criteria for these listings. It is crucial that you work with a Florida disability attorney who can guide you throughout the claims process and make sure you have all the evidence necessary to support your claim. Contact our law firm today to discuss the circumstances surrounding your claim.

Claims for Depression and Anxiety in Florida

Over the past decade, we have seen a substantial increase in the number of Social Security Disability claims focusing on depression or anxiety, whether in full or in part. These conditions are particularly challenging to prove. The diagnosis of anxiety and depression is generally made on subjective evidence, which is based on how the patient experiences their illness. Unlike physical disabilities that maintain objective evidence, like x-rays or lab tests, these conditions depend on evidence made in observation of a patient.

When it comes to determining whether a person is disabled by depression or anxiety, the Social Security Administration will assess your mental illness by using the mental residual functional capacity assessment (RFC). This assessment is a comprehensive report that reviews the impact of your mental illness on your ability to perform the mental activities required to perform your job. Some of the criteria the RFC analyzes includes:

  • Your ability to follow simple directions
  • Whether you are able to work in a typical job setting without the need for any additional supervision
  • Your ability to make minor work-related choices and decision
  • How well you interact with other workers and the public
  • Your ability to respond to criticism and direction from your supervisor
  • Whether you are disruptive to other workers

Once the RFC evaluation is complete, your attorney will receive a copy. This provides them with the opportunity to review the RFC information gathered and carefully compare it to the evidence in your file. This information provides your attorney with a better understanding of the Social Security Administration’s position on your claim for benefits. It also provides invaluable insight as to any weaknesses evident in your claim.

Many cases surrounding mental illnesses benefit immensely by having medical evidence available. Doctors who have treated claimants for the conditions and illnesses they suffer from can provide evidence in support of their claim. This can help show the Social Security Administration the issues you are struggling with and various details surrounding the longevity and severity of your illness.

A qualified disability attorney from the Law Firm of Stephen M. Andrews will review the evidence of your claim, recommend testing, and perform various tasks to ensure you are in the best position imaginable to get the benefits you need and deserve for your disability. Contact our law firm at your earliest convenience to see how we can help you.

The Law Firm of Stephen M. Andrews Can Help You

For nearly four decades, Attorney Andrews at the Law Firm of Stephen M. Andrews has helped numerous disabled clients throughout the state of Florida get the compensation and benefits they deserve. Our attorneys are dedicated to providing those in need with effective and aggressive legal representation to ensure they are in the best position possible to move forward.

Attorney Andrews will help you file your claim for Social Security Disability benefits, handle an appeal, and provide competent legal representation to you in a trial to ensure you get the benefits you deserve. Attorney Andrews strives to ensure disabled Floridians are in the best position possible to move forward and focus on overcoming their injuries. If you suffer from a disability or illness that prevents you from working, contact our law firm today at (850) 906-9599 to discuss legal options available for you.

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The Stephen M. Andrews provides personalized attention to each client to ensure they are in the best position possible to move forward after being harmed.

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