Pre-Disability Application Claims
If you have recently been diagnosed with a progressive disease, or you have experienced an injury or illness that is affecting your ability to work, you may wish to get a head start on considering your options for disability benefits by consulting a qualified attorney. At Kantrovitz & Associates, our experienced Social Security lawyers have helped many injured Massachusetts workers evaluate their options. It may be worth the time now to consider what steps you may need to take in the future.Getting a Head Start on the Disability Application Process
Pursuing government benefits can be a notoriously time-consuming and lengthy process. The initial application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) involves many steps, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that average processing times are currently about 12 months. When you are out of work due to a medical condition, this waiting period can seem daunting and create significant financial hardship for you and your family. Thus, it may make sense to discuss the process with an attorney before you actually leave work.
At an initial disability consultation, a lawyer will likely go over your work history in detail, as well as your medical records. It is important to consider what physical and mental requirements your job entails and how your ongoing symptoms impede your ability to perform your duties.
An SSDI application typically requires that you provide extensive medical documentation of your condition and information concerning your work experience over the last 15 years. You also must show that you have not been employed for at least 12 consecutive months, that you worked for at least five of the 10 years before your disability started, and that you have paid social security taxes. Preparing this information in advance can help ensure that you present a strong claim.
The SSA sets forth specific sections in its manual describing conditions that can qualify you for SSDI. These are defined in detail according to the necessary symptoms that an individual must experience in relation to each condition, such as limited mobility or mental capacity, in order to qualify for benefits. During an initial pre-disability application consultation, we can help you to identify one or more sections that may be applicable to your condition. The next step would consist of contacting your medical provider for records and perhaps asking family members or acquaintances to provide supporting testimony.
Individuals who do not exactly meet the symptoms laid out by the requirements of the SSA manual may have further options. The agency provides residual functioning capacity (RFC) assessments for people who are in this position but still may be too seriously disabled to work. In this situation, however, it would be essential to show not just that you cannot perform the duties of your current job but that you are unable to work in any occupation that exists throughout the nation.
Unfortunately, a majority of SSDI claims are denied at the initial application phase. If that happens, an individual has 60 days to file a request for reconsideration, which will lead to review by a different examiner. These also are unlikely to be successful, which means that you may need to seek a hearing before an administrative law judge within 60 days after that period. You should be informed of the hearing date at least 30 days in advance. At the hearing, it will help your case if you can show evidence that your symptoms have deteriorated or changed since your claim was denied, or if you can produce additional medical opinions, hospital records, or testimony from vocational experts as well as personal acquaintances.
If you still do not receive the outcome that you desire from the hearing, you have two further levels of appeal that you may be able to pursue. These consist of bringing your case to the SSA Appeals Council and then to a federal court.Discuss Your Social Security Claim with a Massachusetts Lawyer
At Kantrovitz & Associates, we understand the emotional and personal difficulties that come with applying for SSDI. Our disability benefits attorneys are committed to helping Massachusetts residents file their claims as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you are interested in obtaining a preliminary consultation regarding your claim or have questions regarding the SSDI process, you can contact us at any time. Our Boston office serves individuals throughout Norfolk, Essex, Suffolk, Middlesex, and Plymouth Counties. We can be reached at (800)-367-0871 or online.