Tennessee Social Security Disability Lawyer
Social Security Disability Insurance is a benefit people may apply for, if they, their spouse or parents have contributed to the fund by means of payroll deduction (that’s the “FICA” deduction that appears on paychecks, named for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act). This program covers people who develop a disability, including workers injured on the job, their children and spouses. In April 2015, SSDI paid benefits to 10.9 million people. Unfortunately, there are many people who need SSDI but are denied benefits.
The Social Security Administration’s eligibility determination process can be frustrating and confusing. The SSA may take up to five months to process an initial claim, and many of those claims will be denied. Appealing a denial involves several steps, and some people might decide to give up on their claim rather than pursue it. But the appeals process is worth your effort, when you need benefits – and it’s a lot easier to go through with the help of an experienced Tennessee social security disability lawyer.
John R. Colvin has represented people whose benefits have been denied, defending their rights at various stages of the appeals process, including federal court. Often, the key to winning an appeal is providing additional evidence that supports a disability claim.
If you’ve been denied SSDI benefits, don’t give up hope. Call us today at (931) 962-1044 for a free consultation.
Filing Social Security Disability; Denial and Appeals
Between 2001 and 2010, only 28 percent of SSDI claimants were approved for benefits when they initially applied, and overall, about 45 percent of claims are approved.
When a claim is denied, a claimant may pursue a progressive series of appeals:
- Reconsideration: This is the first step in the appeals process, wherein a person not involved in the initial denial of the claim reviews it. The claimant does not need to be present for a reconsideration hearing.
- Hearing: A claimant who disagrees with the outcome of reconsideration may request a hearing. An administrative law judge reviews the case and may call witnesses, such as doctors and experts on workplace issues, in order to gather additional information. Unless ordered to do so by the judge, a claimant is not required to appear. However, at this hearing, a claimant or the claimant’s attorney is allowed to cross-examine witnesses, which could help in winning an appeal.
- Appeal: If a claimant disagrees with the administrative law judge’s decision, he may ask the Social Security Appeals Council to review the case, but the council is not obligated to review it.
- Federal action: When a claimant disagrees with the appeals council’s decision, or if the council has refused to consider the case in question, a claimant may file a lawsuit in federal court. This is the final stage of the appeals process, and very few appeals are successful at this level.
Ideally, you want to win your appeal at the earliest stage possible, so you don’t have to pursue progressive options. Only about 3 percent of claimants win awards on reconsideration, whereas the administrative law judge hearing accounts for approximately 13 percent of successful appeals.
Social Security Disability Benefits 101: Learn the Basics
How much longer do I have to wait for a hearing in my disability case?
The Social Security Administration recently released their updated end of calendar year 2015 Workload Data Report for each of their hearing offices across the United States. One of the major hurdles in any Social Security disability claim is the wait time that a Claimant is confronted with when pursuing his or her claim.
Reasons for Denial
A claim for SSDI benefits may be denied if reviewers believe the claimant’s disability is not severe or it won’t last for more than 12 months. Between 1992 and 2010, the most common reason for denial of benefits was that reviewers determined an injured worker was capable of adjusting to another type of work.
In determining whether a person is able to work, the SSA first considers whether someone’s disability makes his occupation impossible. If so, the SSA then considers whether a different type of work would be possible, taking into consideration the claimant’s age, education, and past experience, as well as skills that could be applied in a different job.
Reviewers in an appeals process may disagree about a claimant’s ability to work, and in what capacity, as there is no standard test to make that determination. Having a Tennessee social security disability lawyer who can make persuasive arguments on your behalf could sway opinion in your favor.
A Strong Advocate
If your SSDI benefits have been denied, or if you need guidance with the application process, we may be able to help. We understand how a denial of benefits can affect families, and we care about people receiving the compensation to which they’re entitled. Get your free consultation today – call us at (931) 962-1044, or complete our contact form.