Flagstaff Social Security Disability Lawyers
If you are considering filing an application for Social Security Disability benefits, or you have already filed one and been denied, contacting an attorney is an important next step.
The Flagstaff Social Security Disability lawyers at Phillips Law Group may be able to help you file an application or appeal a denied claim. For more than 27 years, our firm has been obtaining compensation for injury victims in Arizona. We are well-versed in the eligibility criteria for disability benefits and how to build a detailed case for why an applicant should receive benefits.
In a free consultation we can review where you are in the process and determine how we might be able to assist you. There is no obligation on you for meeting with us. You decide if you want to hire us to represent you throughout the Social Security Disability application process. There are also no upfront fees for our clients – our attorneys do not receive payment unless our clients are compensated first.
Call our firm anytime, night or day 1-800-706-3000.
How Does the Social Security Administration Determine Eligibility for Benefits?
In your application, you must establish that you have a disability that meets certain criteria to be awarded benefits:
- Your disability is expected to last a minimum of one year or cause your death
- The physical limitations from your disability are so severe you cannot do basic work (lifting, walking, sitting, standing, remembering, etc.)
- You do not earn more than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit (in 2019 the limit is $1,220 for non-blind individuals and $2,040 for visually impaired individuals)
- You are unable to do the work you used to do or any other type of work
- Your condition is found in the Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book or your symptoms fit the criteria for one of the listings
- Minors may be eligible if their condition severely limits activities they can engage in.
Our Flagstaff Social Security Disability attorneys can explain these requirements in greater detail in a free consultation.
Call Phillips Law Group today to learn more. 1-800-706-3000
Federal Disability Benefit Programs You Can Apply For
Depending on your situation, you may have a condition that makes you eligible for one of the programs discussed below. This is an issue you should discuss with your Flagstaff Social Security Disability attorney in a free legal consultation.
Social Security Disability Insurance
This provides benefits to people who were working but have a disability that now prevents them from working. Applicants to this program must have a qualifying medical condition and a certain number of work credits based on their age. One work credit is equal to a certain amount of income, and workers can earn up to four each year. Many applicants need to have at least 40 work credits to potentially qualify for benefits.
Supplemental Security Income
This is a separate program for people with disabilities who do not have much work history and few assets. If you have a qualifying medical condition and less than $2,000 in assets (less than $3,000 for couples), you may be eligible for this program.
You may think you are disqualified because of how much you have in assets, but it is important to note there are complex rules on what gets counted as an asset. There are many things that may not be counted against the asset limit, so it is important to discuss this situation with a qualified attorney.
Disabled Adult Child Benefits
People who become disabled after the age of 18 but before age 22 who do not earn more than the SGA limit and have a qualifying medical condition may be eligible for benefits.
Widows or widowers could be eligible if they are at least 60 years old – the minimum age is 50 if the widow/widower has a qualifying disability. However, the amount of benefits may change when the widow or widower turns 62.
We are prepared to assist you with your disability application or appeal.
What Information Do I Need to Complete an Application?
There are three different ways you can apply for benefits. You can call the toll-free number: 1-800-772-1213, do the application online, or go to the nearest Social Security office.
However, before you apply for disability benefits, there are numerous documents you should gather to help you complete an application. Applications can be denied for minor mistakes or oversights, so it is important to be thorough when preparing to complete an application and when filling one out.
Some of the documents you should gather to help you include:
- W-2 or copy of recent tax return if self-employed
- Medical records from medical facilities, doctors, caseworkers, therapists and other health care providers who treated you
- Birth certificate
- Social Security number
- Notes on your work history, including who you worked for and when
- Medical test results
- Names, address and phone numbers of doctors who provided treatment and the dates you saw them
- Names of prescription medications and their dosages
- Marriage certificate if your spouse is also applying for benefits
Phillips Law Group’s Flagstaff Social Security Disability attorneys can help you gather what you will need. It costs nothing to meet with us to find out more about how we can help you through the process.
Why Social Security Disability Applications are Often Denied
There are some common reasons why applications are denied. It is important to learn about these reasons so you can potentially avoid some of the same mistakes:
Lack of Evidence of Your Disability
You need detailed evidence and documentation of your medical condition and the limitations it has created. Unless you have documentation from your doctors saying you are unable to work and earn more than the SGA limit, you are unlikely to be approved.
It is important to discuss your situation with a qualified attorney. Our Flagstaff Social Security Disability lawyers can review your situation to determine if you have enough documentation of your disability and help you to collect more if necessary.
You Disobeyed Doctor’s Orders
The Social Security Administration must reach the conclusion you cannot work because of your disability. One way to do this is to provide evidence that treatment is not making your condition better or allowing you to continue working as you did before. However, if you stop treatment, the SSA will not have all the information it needs to make an informed decision.
You Have a Short-Term Disability
Unless your disability is going to last a minimum of one year, you will not be eligible for benefits. You should consider other options if you have a disability that is only expected to last a few months. You may be able to pursue workers’ compensation benefits or short-term disability benefits.
Failure to Cooperate
It is very important to provide the SSA with the information they ask for, show up to medical exams and do whatever else you can to cooperate. Your attorney can stay in contact with the SSA to check that they have everything they need and provide anything they do not have.
You Have Already Been Denied
In most cases, it is best to appeal a denied application instead of filing a new one. If you have already been denied and you file a new application, it will probably be denied again.
Lack of Work History
One of the criteria for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is having a certain number of work credits depending on your age. There is also a requirement that you have earned a certain number of credits in the last several years. This is something an attorney from Phillips Law Group can explain to you in more detail.
Your Income or Assets are too High
You cannot earn more than the SGA limit to receive SSDI benefits and you cannot have assets that exceed a certain monetary value to be eligible for Supplemental Security Income.
Call an attorney from our firm to review your situation. If you hire us we can handle your application on your behalf at no upfront cost.
We are prepared to help you. 1-800-706-3000
How to Appeal a Denied Claim
Once an application is denied, the applicant has 60 days to start an appeal. The first step in this process is called a request for reconsideration. In this stage, a claims examiner who was not involved in the denial of your application reviews it, along with any new evidence submitted by you or your attorney.
If we are unsuccessful at this stage, the next step is to have a hearing before an administrative law judge. You will be questioned about your condition, how treatment is going, your employment and other relevant issues. Our Flagstaff Social Security Disability lawyers can prepare you for the hearing and the questions you may be asked.
If the judge fails to overturn the denial, the next stage of an appeal is to have your claim reviewed by the Appeals Council. The problem is, the council gets to decide if it wants to hear your case. If it hears your appeal, it will review the judge’s decision and decide whether or not it was correct.
The last option for appealing is to file a lawsuit in federal court. The problem with this stage is you cannot submit new evidence.
Working and Receiving Benefits
Working while receiving benefits is allowed, as long as you do not earn more than the SGA limit. This limit is $1,220 per month for non-blind individuals and $2,040 for blind individuals.
There are different limits for the Supplemental Security Income program: $771 per month for individuals and $1,157 per month for couples.
There is no limit on the number of hours worked. Claims examiners are concerned with how much you are earning.
It is important to note that the SSA may look more closely at hours worked for people who are self-employed because they can put in a lot of hours without getting paid.
If you can still work but have a severe disability, you should discuss the situation with one of our attorneys.
We can discuss the Ticket to Work program, which is designed to help people with disabilities try to become more self-sufficient. One of the advantages to taking part in this program is you can avoid continuing disability reviews if you are meeting timely progress requirements.
Continuing disability reviews are for those who have already been approved for benefits. The SSA does these to confirm people are still eligible for benefits.
When Does the First Benefit Check Come?
Generally, the first check arrives within one or two months of the approval of an application. Applicants who provided bank account information to the SSA can monitor their account for a deposit from the government.
However, if more than 90 days pass after your application is approved and you do not receive benefits, you may want to ask your attorney to contact the SSA.
Call a Flagstaff Social Security Disability Lawyer Today
Our experienced attorneys have assisted more than 150,000 clients and have been able to obtain more than $750 million in compensation. We offer a free, confidential, no-obligation legal consultation so we can review your potential claim and determine if we can assist you.
If we can help and you choose to hire our firm, we will represent you on contingency. This is a system where the attorney does not get paid unless the client receives benefits.
Learn more by calling us today. 1-800-706-3000 No obligation or upfront costs.