Florence Disability Lawyer
John R. Colvin, Attorney at Law, is proud to serve the beautiful city of Florence, Alabama. Perched along the Tennessee River, Florence is often referred to as “Alabama’s Renaissance City.” This name is primarily derived from Florence’s annual Renaissance Faire — the official Renaissance festival for the state of Alabama. Every October, tens of thousands of visitors from throughout the state and beyond flock to Florence’s Wilson Park for a celebration like no other, complete with period music and dance, swordplay, delicious eats, and improvised theater performances.
The W.C. Handy Music Festival occurs annually in mid-summer with some of the nation’s best musicians coming to perform. The festival boasts art shows, local food and educational events.
The rest of the year, Florence is known for its beautiful parks, bustling downtown, and welcoming demeanor. Notable locations in Florence include the Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital, the University of North Alabama and the Kennedy Douglass Center for the Arts.
There are several industries in the Florence region that employ local workers. The healthcare industry in the area includes Gentiva Health Services, Coffee Health Group and the Helen Keller Hospital. Other notable employers in Florence and Muscle Shoals include Sara Lee Foods, Wise Alloys and the American Wholesale Book Company
Life in Florence isn’t all fun and recreation, though; residents work hard to make a living. Some, however, struggle to hold down work due to illness or disability.
Residents in Florence are as vulnerable to illness and injury as those residing elsewhere. Some accidents are deadly; in 2014, a man was electrocuted while completing an electrical repair in Florence. Others may not make headlines but require community assistance and support nonetheless. Often, however, that support is unavailable when Florence residents need it most.
As of the 2010 United States Census, 18.7 percent of the Florence population was over the age of 65. Additionally, 11.5 percent of those under the age of 65 had a diagnosed disability as of 2012. Clearly, there is a strong need for Social Security Disability Insurance in and around Florence — and yet, many of the community’s finest residents are denied the benefits they so desperately need.
How We Help Florence Residents
Many Florence residents rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Many others are not yet approved for SSDI, despite suffering disabilities or being unable to complete everyday tasks at work. Unfortunately, many disabled individuals who would enjoy happier and healthier lives with SSDI are denied.
Determining eligibility for SSDI can be frustrating, particularly if you lack legal representation. The Social Security Administration often takes several months to respond to applications. Many initial applications are denied, forcing applicants to wade through a complicated and stress-inducing appeals process.
We understand the frustration our clients experience as they apply for SSDI or appeal denials. We hope to ease this burden by providing patient guidance through the application process and aggressive representation in appeals.
Reasons Why SSDI May Be Denied
A variety of circumstances can lead to denial of Social Security benefits. Some applicants, despite suffering greatly, lack the hard evidence needed for approval. These individuals may struggle to convince the Social Security Administration of the full extent of their impairments — or how their physical condition makes it difficult or virtually impossible to hold down a decent job.
If the SSA suspects that a patient has failed to follow treatment exactly as a doctor has prescribed, benefits may be denied — even if patients make every effort to follow directions. Often, however, patients have valid reasons for not following through with recommended treatments.
For some, a previous denial is all it takes to be denied once again — despite suffering new injuries that make every day on the job a nightmare. One denial can prompt a downward spiral of future denials and failed appeals.
SSDI Appeals: How a Florence Attorney Can Help
If you applied for disability benefits and were denied, your situation is unfortunately all too common. According to experts, a shocking 72 percent of initial SSDI applications were denied between 2001 and 2010. Following appeals, however, 45 percent of applications were approved — so there’s reason for hope.
Thankfully, a successful appeal is not out of reach if you work with the right SSDI attorney. Your lawyer can help you craft an effective appeal, even if you handled the initial application on your own.
If you disagree with the decision arrived by the state disability determination section, you can appeal and request a hearing. During your hearing, a judge will review your case closely and may call upon witnesses for further information. Your treating physicians and occupational therapists and other medical professionals can provide written documentation of your current physical and mental abilities and whether you’re capable of fulfilling workplace duties.
The administrative law judge’s ruling, while not routinely overturned in SSDI cases, may be reviewed by the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council’s review can take several months and if their review fails to provide the requested relief, the next option in the appeals process is a federal lawsuit. The filing of a civil action in the United States District Court is only undertaken in the minority of cases and is usually based primarily upon whether the applicable law was properly followed by the judge.
No two SSDI cases are quite alike and it takes an attorney who is aware of this fact and that can personalize his legal services accordingly. John R. Colvin is a client-focused lawyer with over twenty years of experience representing disabled individuals throughout the Tennessee Valley. Contact us today to learn more.