Dothan Social Security Disability Lawyers
If you have been unable to work for at least 12 months due to a debilitating physical or mental condition, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The SSDI application process is lengthy and complicated. The vast majority of benefits claims are denied during the initial application, even claims which are valid. In addition, applicants only have a short window of time to file an appeal if the initial claim is denied. To ensure that you are ultimately approved for the benefits you need during this difficult time, it is important to have a seasoned advocate in your corner working tirelessly on your behalf.
What should you do if you’ve been denied Social Security Disability?
At M. Adam Jones & Associates, we have several decades of collective experience helping individuals in Alabama, South Georgia, and the Florida panhandle obtain approval for Social Security Disability benefits. Our attorneys have handled all types of SSDI cases, and we work closely with clients to provide the skilled and personalized representation they deserve. We understand the enormous physical, emotional, and financial struggles that disabled individuals face, and we put our skills, knowledge, and experience to work in order to to make the legal process as smooth and stress-free as possible. We stay by your side every step of the way, and we explore every available legal avenue to ensure a favorable outcome.
We have helped individuals get approved for SSDI benefits for a wide range of conditions, including but not limited to:
- Orthopedic Problems (especially injuries to the back, neck, arms, and legs);
- Psychological Disorders;
- Neurological Disorders;
- Gastrointestinal Disorders;
- Cancer and Related Issues; and
- Many Others…
The Social Security Disability Application Process
Applying for SSDI benefits is a complex process. There are several forms to fill out and a lot of information that needs to be gathered. When submitting your application, it is important that the information is as thorough as possible in order to avoid unnecessary delays and to approve the existence of your debilitating condition. Once your initial application is submitted, you can expect to wait a few months or so for a decision, depending on the caseload of the office your application goes through.
When your application is received be the Social Security Administration (SSA), it is reviewed to ensure that it meets all the technical requirements. If so, it is forwarded to be reviewed by a disability examiner. The first thing the disability examiner looks at is whether or not you have a condition that matches one of those that appear on the SSA list of disabling impairments. If your condition matches one of the impairments on the list, your application can be approved fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the impairments on the SSA’s list are very specific, and only a small percentage of claimants have an initial match. Most applications require a more extensive review.
If the disability examiner decides that more information is required to determine your eligibility for benefits, you may receive a notice from their office requesting additional documentation. This may include a request that you report for a consultative examination with a medical professional. This visit is scheduled and paid for by the SSA, and the purpose is to evaluate your condition and send a report back to the disability examiner. It is important to reply promptly with any information requested and to keep your consultative examination appointment (if one is scheduled). This will help keep your application on track.
A large percentage of SSDI claimants are initially denied benefits. In Alabama, approval rates during the application process vary by region, but on average, just 30% of initial applications are approved. Your chances of approval are much better if your application is thorough and clearly demonstrates a debilitating condition. An attorney with extensive Social Security Disability representation experience will know which information from your medical records is most relevant to show the disability examiner that you should qualify for benefits.
The SSDI Appeals Process
If you were denied benefits after filing your initial Social Security Disability application, there is still hope. You must act fast, however, because there is a 60-day deadline in Alabama (from the time of your initial denial) to request a disability appeal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) conducts hearings at one of four locations throughout the state:
Processing times vary by location, but the average wait time for an ALJ hearing statewide is approximately 17 months. This is a crucial stage in the process in which you have the opportunity to have your case heard by a judge and present evidence and witnesses to show that you are qualified. Approval rates at the ALJ hearing level are approximately 50%, but your chances are greatly increased if you have skilled legal counsel by your side during this process.
The appeals process in Georgia and Florida is slightly different than in Alabama. There is an extra step in the process known as a Request for Reconsideration. Reconsideration is review of the initial claim by someone who was not involved in the review of the initial application, and only about 15% of claimants are approved at this level. If your request for reconsideration is denied, you may appeal the case to be heard by an Administrative Law Judge.
Speak with an Experienced Alabama Social Security Disability Benefits Attorney
The SSDI benefits application process is confusing and intimidating, especially if you are not familiar with the process. However, it is important that you do not let the complexity of the process and the high denial rates deter you from obtaining the disability benefits you need and deserve.
At M. Adam Jones & Associates, we have in-depth knowledge of the Social Security Disability claims process, and we have helped numerous individuals like you become approved for SSDI benefits. We know that when you are out of work due to a debilitating condition, finances are tight. We provide free consultations, and we never charge upfront attorney fees in SSDI cases – you only pay us if we win your case.
If you are disabled and no longer able to work for an extended period of time, contact our office today at 334-699-5599 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.
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