Overcoming the Challenges of Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits in Tampa

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides two types of benefits to disabled individuals in the U.S.:

  • Social Security Disability Benefits (SSD)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

If you suffer from a mental or physical disability, you may qualify for these benefits. But the process of applying for benefits is incredibly frustrating and stressful, and sadly, the vast majority of initial applications are denied. Don’t face these challenges alone—let the Social Security disability attorneys in Tampa help you fight for the benefits you deserve.

Attorneys at Carlson Meissner Law Firm on Social Security Disability

Attorney from Carlson, Meissner & Hayslett P.A.

Who is Eligible For Disability Benefits?

There are different eligibility requirements for each type of disability benefits. To qualify for SSD, you must have paid in enough to the SSA through payroll taxes to be considered an insured individual. You must also meet the SSA’s definition of disabled. To meet this definition, you must show:

  • You suffer from a mental or physical condition that has lasted for at least 12 months or is expected to result in death or last for over 12 months.
  • You cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity as a result of your disabling condition.

If you meet these conditions, you may qualify for SSD benefits. You have to meet the SSA’s definition of disabled in order to qualify for the SSI program, too. But in addition, you must show that you have limited financial resources and income to qualify. This is because the SSI program only provides benefits to low income individuals, so if your income or financial resources are over a certain limit, you will not qualify for this program.

A lawyer at Carlson Meissner.

How Can You Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits?

The initial application can be completed at your local Social Security office or online at www.ssa.gov. Whether you apply in person or online, it is helpful to have lists of your medications, the doctors that you have seen, and copies of all of your medical records available to you. A disability determinations officer will review your application once it has been submitted. After completing this review, the officer will either reject or accept the application. This process usually takes between 30 to 90 days.

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What Happens If Your Application For Social Security Disability Benefits is Denied?

Most initial applications are denied. If your application is denied, the next step is to file a Request for Reconsideration. You can provide updated medical records to SSA when you submit this request.

You may also be asked to submit to an evaluation by a physician contracted by the SSA. This doctor will provide Social Security additional reports and comments regarding his or her opinion about your conditions and your ability to work.

A different disability determinations officer will review this information and determine whether or not you should be approved for benefits. This process also takes between 30 to 90 days in most cases. If you are denied in the Reconsideration stage, the next step in the process is to request a hearing. Currently, the wait to obtain a hearing is somewhere between 18 -24 months. Approximately two months prior to your hearing, you will receive a list of the exhibits that are contained in your file at Social Security.

It is your responsibility to provide thejudge who will be hearing your case with any new records prior to the hearing. Some judges also require written memos regarding the legal issues involved in your case. During the hearing, the judge will give you an opportunity to explain your case, call witnesses, and present evidence that shows you qualify for benefits. Then, the judge will decide whether or not you should be approved.

When Should You Contact A Social Security Disability Attorney?

An attorney can assist you with every step in the application process, beginning with the submission of the initial application. Hiring an attorney at this stage will ensure you submit the correct information and do not make any mistakes that could delay your case or affect your eligibility.

Although it is wise to hire an attorney during the initial application process, many people choose to wait until their application has been denied. If your application has been denied, seek legal representation before your hearing. We have the skills and knowledge to make sure that you are properly represented at the hearing. We know how to elicit testimony from you and any professionals hired by the Administration, including medical and vocational professionals. It is often the case that the issues in Social Security disability cases rise and fall on the skill and savvy of your attorney, so it is in your best interest to obtain competent representation at this stage.

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Call Our Social Security Disability Attorneys Now to Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you are unable to work due to a disability, it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation from the Social Security disability attorneys in Tampa. Our attorneys won’t stop fighting until we are able to obtain the disability benefits you deserve. Learn more about how we can help by arranging a free consultation with our team today. To schedule a free consultation regarding your case, call our law firm at 813-473-6132 or fill out the form on this website.

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