Do you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits? How do you apply for and obtain Social Security disability payments? Has your Social Security disability application been denied? Should you Appeal? Do you really need a disability lawyer? Should you pursue your disability denial in Federal Court?
In my work as an Indianapolis disability lawyer, I frequently respond to these questions……..the answers are often not quick or easy. Social Security Disability rules and regulations can be complex but the main focus is determining whether an applicant is able to perform and full time work despite his physical or mental health issues. The agency evaluates your health issues and the degree of functional impairment that results from the impairments. They then make a determination about whether you can return to any past type of work performed. If not, the agency determines whether the impairments will allow for any other work. Each stage of this evaluation is subject to error that can result in a denial. While errors can be remedied on appeal, it is important to consult an attorney prior to application. I may be able to help you understand the issues and evidence you need before application to limit agency errors and work with you on filing your claim.
Many clients do not call any attorney until they are already denied disability. I understand an applicant’s frustration at receiving a denial letter. They ask “What do I do now?” The answer to this question can be quite simple . If you cannot work because of a physical or mental impairment, then you should appeal the denial of your claim for Social Security disability benefits. Indiana follows the national trend, in that most initial applications for disability benefits are denied; however, almost half of the applicants who pursue their claim through to an administrative hearing are awarded benefits.
How to File a Disability Application or Disability Appeal
1. Call my office, and we will talk to you about getting the application or appeal on file. While I prefer to file all my clients applications and appeals, you may also apply or appeal online here or you may call the Social Security Administration’s toll-free number (800-772-1213) and schedule an appointment to file your appeal by phone or in person.
2. If you have been denied:
a. Do not delay. You have 65 days from the date on your denial letter to file your appeal. If your appeal is late, without “good cause,” you will have to start the whole process over again.
b. If you do file on your own, get proof of your filing. Always obtain proof of your filing, just in case the Social Security Administration loses your paperwork.
Learn more about the appeals process
Most of my Indiana disability clients find that the more they know about the Social Security disability appeals process, the less anxious they feel. This website can be an easy first step in educating yourself about the process. I have assembled collection of articles in the library below, and a series of short informational video. These materials cover Social Security disability benefits from the filing of the initial application through the administrative hearing and beyond.