The Benefits of Disability Consultants
Disability Consultants understands the impact and stress that starting a disability claim or receiving a denial from the Social Security Administration can have on a person and his/her family. Starting the process incorrectly can lead to the loss of benefits that are rightfully yours. Frequently more and more applications for Social Security Disability are initially denied. However, an initial denial does not necessarily mean the applicant is not entitled to benefits. Unfortunately, many people who file on their own or who have been rejected choose to either abandon their claims, giving in to a process that can be confusing and intimidating. At Disability Consultants we have the knowledge and experience to help you understand your rights, and to effectively initiate or appeal a decision, ultimately achieving the benefits you deserve.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability
If you are expected to miss work for at least one year due to illness or injury, you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you become unable to work. You can apply by calling or filling out our Free Consultation questionnaire. We will start by scheduling an appointment with you to meet with one of our qualified case managers to answer any questions you might have regarding the application process, and to file your claim or appeal that day. He or she will also handle the paperwork needed to help expedite your claim to Disability Determination Services (DDS), which will make an initial determination as to whether you are considered disabled under the SSA’s requirements. The case manager will also help you with available resources in your area.
We strongly encourage you to speak with a Disability Consultants team member before beginning the application process yourself. Either call our office (352)326-5009, chat with a case manager, or fill out our Free Consultation questionnaire and we can begin the process of filing for benefits and gathering the documents needed to submit your claim.
How Can a Representative Help
First-time applicants face a difficult process when trying to apply for disability benefits. Nearly 60 percent of all first-time applicants are initially denied disability benefits, and close to 90 percent of applicants seek the help of a representative at some point in the process. Likewise, the process of applying for and appealing denied claims is often confusing and complicated. An experienced Disability Representative can help your chances of success. At Disability Consultants we can help gather information vital to your claim’s success and ensure you complete the necessary steps for obtaining the benefits you deserve.
By hiring an Accredited Disability Representative to advocate your claim, our team members can help guide you through the following process:
Preparation: Preparing your claim, which includes gathering documents and other required information, is an important part of the claims process. We can help gather the documentation needed to substantiate your claim, such as personal information; military information (if applicable); IRS forms; financial information; contact information; detailed medical records and referrals; medication history; a list of prior employment history; and information on associated disability claims (if applicable). We can help ensure your claim satisfies the SSA’s requirements, which often expedites the application process.
Communication: We can keep track of the status of your claim, keep you alerted to any requests for new information, and speak with Social Security Administration (SSA) representatives on your behalf to answer questions that may arise regarding your application.
Finalizing a Claim: If your disability claim is approved, your representative will review the SSA’s calculations to determine if any information was missed or if errors were made. They will also be available to answer any questions you may have concerning your new benefits.
Appeal: If your application for benefits is denied, we can file an appeal on your behalf.
Appealing a Denied Claim
If your application for benefits has been denied, or you believe you were not compensated properly, you may appeal the decision by filing a written request within a 60 day period of receiving the decision letter. There are four levels of appeal of which your claim could proceed:
Reconsideration: If your initial application for benefits has been denied, we will file a request for reconsideration. During this stage, a claims examiner who was not involved in the initial review process will reconsider your application. They will take into consideration new evidence that you or your representative has uncovered for your claim. Your representative can respond, on your behalf, to any questions by the claims examiner during this stage.
Hearing: If your claim is denied again, or if you disagree with the results, you can request a hearing by an administrative law judge. During this stage, we can prepare you for questions that could be asked at your hearing; request the judge to subpoena witnesses vital to proving the legitimacy of your claim; argue your case before the judge; question witnesses and experts; present new evidence justifying your disability.
Types of Social Security Disability Benefits
Disability Insurance Benefits (SSD or SSDI): This is the most popular benefit provided by the SSA. Disability insurance benefits cover millions of people who have worked recently, but are now disabled and unable to work. Eligible applicants include those who have worked a total of at least five of the ten years before developing their disabilities. Dependents, including children and spouses, may also be able to collect if a parent qualifies for SSDI. Disability benefit amounts are based on the applicant’s work history and earnings.
Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC): Disabled children between the ages of 18 and 22 may be eligible for benefits if their parents receive Social Security retirement benefits or SSD, or are deceased.
Disabled Widow or Widower (DWB): These benefits are provided to widows or widowers over the age of 50 who develop disabilities within seven years of their spouses’ deaths. The widow or widower is required to have been married to the deceased for a minimum of ten years.