Do you need to file for disability? Were you denied benefits?
Get professional legal help from our experienced Georgia Social Security attorneys.
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Our Georgia lawyers help seriously injured workers around Houston County get the lifetime benefits they deserve after a catastrophic work-related accident.
When you get seriously injured or are diagnosed with a medical condition that prevents you from working, the news can be devastating. The good news is that you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) to help cover your living expenses and provide some financial relief.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy getting approved for benefits. In fact, it’s quite common for disability applicants to be turned down on their first try, despite the fact that they’ve been paying into the Social Security system for years and were diagnosed with a catastrophic disability. As with most government processes, it can take months to get the benefits you so desperately need — even if you file all the right paperwork and meet all the deadlines.
The good news is that you don’t have to face these challenges alone.
By consulting an experienced Warner Robins Social Security disability lawyer, you can reduce the time spent waiting for benefits and make sure you aren’t denied for a simple mistake or clerical error. At the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Henson, we’ve helped our clients get approved for SSD benefits for over 50 years. We know the process inside and out, and we’ll make sure the government has everything it needs to approve your application as soon as possible. And if you are denied for some reason, we’ll fight on your behalf throughout the entire process.
What’s the difference between SSI and SSDI benefits?
What is SSD?
Social Security Disability, or SSD, is available to individuals who are under 65 years of age, have worked for a certain number of years and built up a certain number of “work credits,” and have contributed to the Social Security trust fund via FICA Social Security taxes.
What is SSI?
SSI, which stands for Supplemental Security Income, is funded through the general tax fund. Candidates receive this on a per-need basis and must have a limited income and $2,000 or less in assets (unless you’re married, in which case you must have less than $3,000 in assets to qualify for SSI benefits).
How to obtain disability benefits in Houston County, GA
While the exact process for seeking disability benefits can vary on a case-by-case basis, here’s a general overview of the procedure and timeline for securing benefits:
- Application. You can apply for benefits online at the official SSA website or through your local Social Security office if you are 18 years of age or older, currently receiving no other benefits, and were not denied benefits within the last 60 days.
- Documentation. Be sure to provide thorough documentation of the treatment process for your condition, including doctor visits, medications and physical therapy.
- Evidence. In the application, you’ll be required to provide a detailed work history, your current earnings, current household assets, details about your financial institution, a list of other financial benefits you may be receiving, your status as a U.S. citizen and (if applicable) any discharge from the military.
- Examination. Undergoing a physical examination by a doctor associated with the SSA may be required.
Social security & disability FAQs
Do I qualify for disability benefits?
If you have a disability that keeps you from working — such as a spinal cord injury, visual disorder, chronic heart failure, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, paralysis, etc. — then you may have the right to seek compensation through Social Security Disability. For SSD, you must be able to prove you can no longer work due to your disability.
If you’re applying for SSI, you must also have a limited income.
Can I get both Social Security disability and workers’ compensation at the same time?
Yes. An injured worker can receive SSD and workers’ compensation because both programs are run by different organizations — one by the federal government (SSD) and the other by the state (workers’ comp).
Normally, when a worker is injured, they receive workers’ compensation until their SSD kicks in. To get both at the same time, the injury must be estimated to take no more than 12 months to heal or result in death.
Why was my disability claim denied?
There are many possible reasons why your claim might’ve been denied, but here are the 5 most likely scenarios:
- Wrong forms. One of the most common reasons for being denied is simply filling out the paperwork incorrectly or submitting the wrong forms altogether.
- Lack of medical records. It’s important to keep track of every doctor’s visit, therapy session, prescription, and time taken off from work in order to recover. Being able to prove all of this treatment is essential. Failure to have these records can cause the Social Security Administration (SSA) to deny your claim.
- Previous denials. Filing more than 1 disability claim can impede your chances to receive benefits if you have to file again in the future.
- Income level. If your income is above a certain level, then the SSA may deny your claim to receive income-restricted SSI disability benefits. To give you a better idea of what that income looks like, many candidates who receive these benefits also often qualify for food stamps. However, your income level does NOT affect your chances of receiving SSD benefits.
- Failure to follow the treatment plan. You must follow the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. Failure to do so means the SSA will more than likely deny your claim because they cannot accurately determine if your condition prevents you from working.
Can I appeal a denied disability claim?
Yes. In fact, it’s encouraged that you appeal a denial since many applications are denied at first by the SSA. There are many possible reasons why you may have been denied. It’s best to appeal instead of starting a new claim for the same disability because the more disability claims you have, the more likely you’ll be denied again in the future.
If you applied for SSD or SSI and the Social Security Administration denied your claim, here’s the process to appeal: you must fill out and submit Form SSA-561, Request for Reconsideration, and resubmit the same paperwork with changes.
Unfortunately, more often than not, applicants will have to go to schedule a disability hearing. During the hearing, you or your attorney will present your case before an administrative law judge who will hear your explanation as to why you should receive Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income. A medical expert and a vocational expert may also be in attendance to advise the judge, and they’ll be asked questions about your treatment and ability to perform certain tasks in the workforce.
If the administrative law judge denies your appeal, you can appeal again to the Appeals Council, which consists of administrative law judges not previously involved with your case. This panel will review your case and either concur with the previous hearing’s findings, overturn the previous findings and reward you benefits, or send you back to the administrative law judge at your original hearing with observations on any errors they may have made in determining their decision on your case.
What do Social Security disability lawyers do?
After an initial review, our Social Security & disability lawyers will examine your potential case with a fine-toothed comb and discuss your best options for moving forward. Then we will start to gather evidence to support your claim for disability benefits.
We will get your permission to gain access to your medical records and speak with doctors about your condition. Before presenting your case to the SSA, we may hold a pre-hearing meeting to coach you on some of the questions you may be asked.
Why hire a Social Security disability lawyer in Houston County, Georgia?
At the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson, we don’t believe in settling for less than you deserve. We’re an experienced group of passionate advocates who are committed to giving your case our full time and attention.
If you decide to seek legal advice about applying for disability benefits, we are here to help. The dedicated attorneys at WPMH Legal have over 50 years of experience on our side to help you win your case. With offices located in Warner Robins, Macon and Albany, we serve clients across the state of Georgia.