Under federal law, Social Security Disability benefits are available to individuals who are unable to work due to a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or is expected to result in death. You are eligible to apply for Social Security Disability benefits if you meet either of the conditions mentioned above, and you also meet the earnings requirement.
If you believe you are entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, contact the attorneys at Rutter Mills to discuss your potential claim for benefits. By hiring an attorney, you can get assistance with the SSD process, and in the event that you are denied benefits, your attorney can challenge this decision by filing an appeal.
The Social Security Disability Benefit Application Process
You can elect to apply online on the Social Security website (www.ssa.gov), by mail, in person, or by phone. Since it can be a lengthy process to apply for SSD benefits and have your application processed, you should get started on the application process as soon as you become disabled. You may need a lot of information to apply for benefits, including your relevant medical records, lab and test results, contact information for all of your doctors, and W-2 forms.
Having an attorney handle the process for you is beneficial as your attorney will be able to advise you on exactly what materials you will need to include with your application. With an attorney handling your application, you can avoid setbacks and denials based on insufficient information and potentially receive your benefits faster than you would if you handled the application on your own.
Once the application is submitted, it will be forwarded to the Disability Determination Services office for the State of Virginia. The state agency will evaluate your application and review the relevant medical records and may even speak with your doctors regarding your medical condition. Depending on the facts of your case, the state agency may require you to attend an additional medical exam to obtain additional information.
The Social Security Disability Benefits Appeals Process
If you applied for Social Security Disability benefits and your claim was denied, you do have the option of appealing that decision. Your request must be in writing and will need to be completed within 60 days of the date you received your denial letter. There are four different levels of the appeal process.
The first level is to request a reconsideration of the decision. For the reconsideration, someone new will look at the material you submitted and any new material you wish to have considered. If benefits are still denied after that, then the next level involves a hearing by an administrative law judge. If you do not agree with the decision, then you are able to appeal to the next level, which involves a review by the Appeals Council. If you are not happy with that decision, the final step is to file a case in the federal district court.
Since the appeals process can be complex and involves court proceedings, it is highly advisable to hire an attorney to handle your claim for benefits. Call the attorneys at Rutter Mills today to get assistance with handling your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.