If you are suffering from a serious injury or illness that is preventing you from going to work, your options may seem limited. With bills to pay and a family to take care of, you might be considering filing for Social Security disability insurance.
If you are struggling to get your disability benefits approved, you need a team of powerful Social Security disability attorneys on your side. Norris Injury Lawyers is what you need. We are a family-owned Birmingham, AL, law firm with over 40 years’ worth of experience in resolving SSD claims.
Our team is ready to go to work right away to get your disability benefits approved! Call today at (800) 477-7510 or chat online with one of our online representatives. We are available 24/7 to address your legal concerns.
What Are the Odds of Winning a Birmingham Social Security Disability Case?
You might think you have an open-and-shut case for disability, but the process can take months, only to have your claim denied. You are not alone. According to the Social Security Administration, some 64 percent of initial claimants are denied.
The odds of winning are not in your favor, but there is good news for those who make appeals. In 2017, the US Government Accountability Office conducted a study on disability payments. It revealed that claimants are 3 times more likely to be approved for disability when they have legal representation.
That’s exactly why you need a Birmingham Social Security disability attorney on your side.
How Does the Federal Government Define Disability?
Winning a disability case can be difficult. The Social Security Administration has a rather vague definition for long-term disability.
According to the rules outlined on the SSA website, you “must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment.”
This impairment must either:
- Last for a minimum of 12 months, or;
- Result in death
The complication for many SSD claims is the term “substantial gainful activity.” This is often interpreted differently by administrative law judges.
This can include:
- Work you can perform for profit
- Work intended for profit
- Work of any nature intended for future profit
If you can do any type of work, even work that does not currently gain you a profit, then you may not be considered disabled. This is why it is so easy for Social Security claims to be denied on the first shot.
Appealing Social Security Claims
If your Social Security claim is denied, it can be incredibly frustrating. You need that income, but the SSA said you are not disabled, that you can still work. What should be your next step?
If the Social Security Association denies your medical claim, you can file an appeal. Eventually, your case can be heard by an administrative law judge who will make the determination. You only have 60 days from the time of your denial to appeal.
If you have not done so, this is the right time to hire an attorney to appeal the decision denying you SSD benefits. Once filed, the appeals process can take as long as 12 to 14 months. The request will make its way to the SSA’s Office of Hearings Operations during that time.
Before Your Long-Term Disability Hearing
If you have been denied disability benefits, you can continue to gather more evidence during the appeal process. This means it is okay to request new appointments with doctors to strengthen your case.
You have until up to 5 business days before your hearing date to submit any new and updated information for the judge to review. This is the “Five-Day Rule” which ensures the judge has plenty of time to review the new evidence.
What to Expect at a Hearing for Disability Benefits
When you go before a judge to determine whether you qualify for Social Security disability insurance, it helps to know what you can expect. Your disability lawyer should have coached you through the whole appeals process, including the questions you will be asked in the hearing.
You will be asked to give your testimony to share information about your disability, medical information, and ability to work. On hand will be a Vocational Expert (VE) who will hear your testimony and be asked by the judge what jobs you can do.
Many times, this is where SSD claims can fall apart. The Vocational Expert determines you are still capable of working. If the VE finds you are capable of gainful employment, that opinion may likely become the outcome of the hearing. Not all is lost, though. A Social Security disability insurance attorney will be there by your side.
Once the hearing is complete, you should hear back in about 3 months via mail.
If you do not agree with the judge’s decision, you can make another attempt by making an appeal to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council is a panel of men and women who look at your file to see if the judge made the wrong decision according to the law. If so, they can overturn the decision and award disability benefits.
How Much Do Birmingham, AL Social Security Disability Attorneys Cost?
If you decide to seek an attorney’s help with your long-term disability claim, you might be wondering how the pay structure works. Many lawyers have a contingency that they will only collect a fee if they win.
Norris Injury Lawyers also offers a No Fee Guarantee®. When you hire us, you will not have to worry about paying additional upfront fees. This is true even if your case drags on for years. Your attorney will not get paid until the case is over and you have won. And if you do not win benefits, then you are in the clear.
If a disability attorney agrees to take on your case, he or she will send you what is called a written fee agreement. If you agree with the fee, then it will be sent for approval to Social Security. Once they give the green light, then this fee will automatically be deducted from your back pay and sent to your attorney.
The fee, by law, cannot be greater than 25 percent, or $6,000, of your backpay, whichever is lower. This is the highest amount you can be charged. This is the government’s way of protecting disabled individuals from being taken advantage of.
Hire a Birmingham Social Security Disability Attorney Today
Disabled individuals sometimes end up fighting the system for many months. The process is not easy and some give up trying.
Realistically speaking, winning a disability case goes beyond sending your medical records. You must first prove you are eligible under the law and meet the standards set by Social Security. This can require the skills of an experienced team of attorneys who know how to win this fight.
You do not have to face the challenges alone. If you cannot work due to an injury or illness, give Norris Injury Lawyers a call.
You have been paying into the Social Security system your entire working life. Now you need those funds to survive.
We have been helping clients win their long-term disability cases for over four decades. Give us a call today at (800) 477-7510 for a free consultation on your case.