Franklin Disability Lawyer
If you live in Franklin and need to talk to an experienced Social Security Disability attorney, call the law office of John R. Colvin. Our office is based in Winchester, but we’ve helped SSD applicants throughout middle Tennessee get the benefits they deserve.
We know that people waiting for disability payments may experience extreme financial hardship. That’s why we handle SSD cases on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing up-front for services. Our modest fee comes from any disability payments you receive.
Whether you need help with your initial application or an attorney to represent you in the appeals process, call our office today, at 1-931-962-1044.
Steps for Getting Benefits
Your SSD application will require you to submit medical documents that prove you are unable to perform “substantial gainful activity” – which means your disability prevents you from working as you used to and earning a certain amount of income per month (in 2017, SGA is defined as more than $1,170 monthly, or more than $1,950, for people who are blind). You’ll also need to prove that you’re unable to perform some other type of work, so the SSA may ask to see evidence of your work history, education, and other training.
The Social Security Administration denies roughly 60 percent of SSD applications, and in 2014, the SSA turned down 934,673 applications nationwide, based on technical reasons. Technical denials may occur if an applicant is still working and earning income. Often, though, these denials occur because the applicant has failed to provide proper documentation, or missed a deadline or meeting.
When you hire a disability attorney to handle your SSD case, you don’t have to worry about missed deadlines and other mistakes that could cause the SSA to reject your claim.
The SSA Backlog
SSD applicants are subject to the SSA’s five-month waiting period. So if you were found disabled as of May 1 and apply for benefits June 1, you would not be entitled to receive benefits until October 1 – five months from the date of disability onset. Unfortunately, the actual wait for benefits is usually much longer.
Before you can receive benefits, the SSA must approve your claim. And with a large backlog of case files, it’s taking longer and longer each year for the SSA to process applications. It may take several months, a year, or longer for the SSA to make a decision about an initial claim.
In some instances, the SSA may expedite an application. People who are terminally ill may qualify for priority processing of their claim, although they would still be subject to the five-month waiting period. The SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program also allows for faster processing when applicants have certain qualifying medical conditions. And members of the military who have suffered a disabling injury or illness qualify for expedited claims processing, too.
Once your claim is approved, you can receive back-payments for the time you would have been receiving disability checks if your claim had been approved. Normally back pay is calculated from the date you became entitled to disability benefits due to your disability to when the Administration places your case in current pay status. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal that decision.
How to Appeal a Denial
After a claim is denied, an applicant may ask for a request for reconsideration. A reviewer that did not participate in the initial review of your claim reviews it and issues a decision, which often confirms the original denial. When that happens, you can request an Administrative Law Judge hearing.
The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, in Franklin, is asked to review many denials every year. And according to 2016 hearing outcome data, the Administrative Law Judges in that office are efficient in issuing decisions that reflect the national averages. That’s the good news. The bad news is, people appealing their SSD claims have to wait an average of 16 months before the ALJ hearing.
Should the ALJ deny your claim, the next step is to ask the Appeals Council to review your claim; however, the council is not required to review your claim. And if the Appeals Council determines the previous denials were justified, the final remedy for SSD applicants is to file a civil lawsuit in federal court.
Beyond the ALJ hearing, applicants nationally experience less success in the appeal process. With a lawyer on your side from the beginning, you have a better chance at getting a favorable ruling and avoiding a lengthy appeals process.
Get the Help You Need
Because of long delays in the SSA’s review and processing of applications, SSD applicants must move quickly to fulfill application requirements. John R. Colvin has years of experience helping people submit their applications and appeals, and he has gone to work helping people whose claims have been denied.
Don’t wait to ask for help. You can reach us via our online contact form, or at 1-931-962-1044, to request your free consultation.