If you or someone you know can no longer work due to a long-term disability or has been denied or turned down for Social Security Disability benefits, we can help. Our disability attorneys have over two decades experience in helping adults and children obtain the social security benefits they so desperately need. We are not only competent to assist the disabled with the filing of the initial applications, requests for reconsideration, disability hearings before administrative law judges, and appeals from disability decisions, we are familiar with virtually every illness, injury or disability imaginable. Moreover, we strive to represent you with sincere compassion and understanding . In most cases, we do not charge a legal fee unless we can win your case.
- Initial Applications
Social Security Disability Eligibility
Let our attorneys at McGahren Law provide with you competent, caring and knowledgeable representation so that you can obtain the Social Security Disability benefits and relief you need. (SSI and SSDI).
McGahren Law can help Georgia residents obtain the Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits they need to continue meeting their household and financial obligations. Some people are aware of the difficulties many applicants experience when attempting to obtain SSD benefits; however, individuals who are unable to work because of a long-term disability are encouraged to apply for benefits. Our disability lawyers will work hard to help you through the entire process in an effort to obtain a favorable outcome.
Eligibility: A Closer Look at the Process
Individuals living in Georgia can apply for disability benefits at their local field office, over the toll-free phone line or online through the Social Security Administration’s website. Those seeking benefits should be aware that the state does not offer benefits for short-term disability. However, there are two disability programs offered by the state: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplement Security Income (SSI).
To be eligible for benefits under the SSDI program, an individual must be: (i) suffering from a disability that hinders him or her from being able to perform substantial work, (ii) the disability must actually lasts (or be expected to last) for at least a year and (iii) the individual must have enough work credits in the Social Security system (which will have been earned from working at least 5 of the last 10 years). If you need help with the application process, do not hesitate to contact McGahren Law for assistance.
For purposes of SSI benefits, an individual must also suffer from a disability that keeps him or her from performing substantial work, lasts at least a year (or is expected to last that long), and have a low amount of income and assets.
Once the application has been processed, it will be sent to the Disability Adjudication Services agency where a claims examiner will review the application and seek to obtain all of the applicant’s pertinent medical information from his or her physicians. Once all the information has been received, a determination will be made as to whether or not the applicant is disabled for purposes of receiving benefits.
As noted above, it is typically quite difficult to obtain approval for benefits at the application stage of the process. However, no one should give up hope. If you were attempting to handle this on your own, this is where the disability attorneys at McGahren Law can step in to help you increase your odds of being approved for the benefits you so desperately need.
Those who have been denied should consider making a Request for Reconsideration, which is the second level of the process. Reconsideration is the first appeal that an applicant can make after being denied for disability benefits. Appeals (or reconsiderations) must be filed within 60 days of the initial denial (with a few extra days provided for mailing the required documentation). The good news is that applicants actually have a better chance of being approved on appeal than at the application phase and reconsideration decisions are generally made much quicker too.
Still, even if you are not awarded benefits at the reconsideration phase, you may choose to proceed to the third phase of the process, which is known as the Request for Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge phase. This hearing is considered to be the second appeal within the SSD appeal system. Anyone considering moving forward to this phase is strongly encouraged to work with one of our attorneys to ensure you have the best possibility of achieving a successful outcome.
McGahren Law can provide you with the representation you need to help you obtain benefits when you need them the most. Call our office today to discuss your options.
Social Security Disability FAQs
Anyone who has attempted to learn more about Social Security Disability (SSD) on his or her own may have found the information to be quite extensive and too complicated. That is why here at McGahren Law, we work hard to make certain our clients gain as much understanding as possible about SSD and the hearing process.
The following questions and answers will provide general guidance with respect to many commonly-asked questions. However, the information is not meant to replace the legal counsel you should seek from the knowledgeable Peachtree Corners Social Security Disability attorneys at our office.
Q: How is Social Security Disability defined for purposes of obtaining benefits?
A: Individuals will be deemed disabled if they have an emotional and/or physical condition that leaves them unable to participate in “substantially gainful” activities (aka work). The condition must be expected to last (or has already lasted) at least a full year, or it must be expected to result in the individual’s death. The applicant’s age, work history and education are all taken into account when assessing one’s ability to perform gainful activities.
Q: What stages are involved in the SSD process?
A: Generally, there are four stages to the process. The first stage is the initial application stage. Applicants should be aware that most individuals will be denied at this stage; however, applicants are given 60 days to file an appeal after that denial. The second stage is referred to as the reconsideration stage. Should you receive an unfavorable decision at this stage, you will have another 60-day period to appeal. This is when you will reach the most critical stage in the process known as the hearing stage. At this point, you will actually meet with an administrative law judge (ALJ) and state your case. If you are denied at the hearing stage, you will then be allowed another 60 days to file an appeal to the Appeals Council, which is the fourth stage in the process.
It should be noted that if you are unsuccessful at the Appeals Council, you do have the right to appeal to a federal court; however, doing so will be quite difficult and will require the skills of a well-versed attorney.
Q: When will I receive an initial decision?
A: The amount of time it takes for an applicant to receive his or her initial decision varies from state to state, as there is a separate agency that makes the initial medical assessment. It is not uncommon, however, for it to take six months for a decision.
Q: What can I expect to occur at the administrative hearing?
A: More than likely, the ALJ handling the hearing will ask you several questions directly; however, if we are representing you at the hearing, the ALJ may permit us to question you first. During the hearing, you will be allowed to speak about your health history and symptoms, and the judge will be provided all reports we have obtained from your doctors.
Q: How much will I get for SSD?
A: The agency uses a formula that is extremely complex and would best be explained during an in-person consultation with one of our attorneys. Generally speaking, however, the more money you make, the more you will receive for SSD.
If you or someone you love would like to apply for SSD, or if you have been denied benefits, the attorneys at McGahren Law are here to help. Contact us today for assistance.