Our mission at the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour is to help disabled individuals and their families receive the financial assistance they need through our government’s Social Security programs. We serve the community of Lancaster, located in the Antelope Valley of Northern LA County, as well as cities across Southern California. If you or a loved one is located in Lancaster and have suffered a debilitating injury that prevents you from working or performing everyday activities, you may be entitled to receive Social Security disability benefits.
Our office solely focuses on Social Security disability matters and is familiar with the complicated system. Dr. Bill LaTour is a leading Lancaster disability lawyer and can guide you through every step of the application or appeals process to obtain the benefits you deserve.
What are the Types of Disability Insurance Benefits?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two types of disability insurance programs that support millions of people who have experienced a physical or mental disability.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSDI is available for individuals who have worked and paid into the Social Security system but have become disabled and are no longer able to hold a job. In order to receive benefits, you must meet the SSA’s qualifications to be considered disabled.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI applicants must meet the same qualifications as SSDI applicants. However, the difference in this program is that SSI benefits are available specifically for disabled individuals who have limited work experience. You must have very little income, access to few resources, and your total assets must not exceed a certain amount set by the SSA.
Are You Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?
In order to be approved for either program, you must meet certain criteria used by the SSA to determine if you are considered disabled or not. Otherwise, they will be quick to deny your claim. Use the questions below to see if you might be eligible for disability benefits:
Are you working?
The SSA will not approve an application if the individual makes more than a designated amount each month. This amount is known as ‘substantial gainful activity.’
Is your condition severe?
For the SSA to consider you ‘disabled,’ your medical condition must severely limit you from carrying out basic activities and have lasted or is expected to last for at least a year or result in death.
Can you perform the work you were doing before?
Additionally, your disability must prevent you from continuing the kind of work you were doing before you became disabled. The SSA will review your claim and decide whether or not you are capable of performing your most recent job.
Are you capable of performing any other type of work?
Your age, medical records, education, work experience, and skills will also be evaluated in order to determine if you are able to hold substantial gainful employment in a different field that you are qualified to work in. If not, the SSA will likely decide that you meet their definition of ‘disabled.’
How Can a Disability Attorney Help You with Your Claim?
While these requirements might seem easy to understand, it can be difficult to prove the nature of your disability to the SSA. Furthermore, the government agency is quick to deny claims that don’t include enough evidence in order to protect against fraud attempts. This makes the application process difficult even for individuals who are truly entitled to benefits.
For this reason, it’s in your best interest to consult a Lancaster disability lawyer who understands the strict system. While every case is different, an attorney can improve your chances of being approved by ensuring you are prepared to move through the tedious steps of the application.
Many claims are denied simply because there was a simple error on the paperwork or they didn’t include enough medical evidence. A social security attorney can help you gather everything you need to receive benefits. At the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour, we help our clients by:
Preparing your claim
We can assist you in gathering all the personal information, medical records, referrals, employment history, and everything you will need to include in your application.
It can be difficult to compile all the information you need because the SSA requires an extensive amount of documentation to prove your condition and your inability to work. Our Lancaster disability lawyers can ensure that your application isn’t missing any necessary paperwork, which can help you avoid a denied claim and expedite the application process.
Coordinating with the SSA
The SSA may have questions or require further information in order to move your application forward. However, we understand that you may not have the time or physical capacity to handle the SSA alone. That’s why our attorneys can coordinate with the SSA representatives while keeping you updated on the status of your claim.
Appealing a Denied Claim: What Can You Expect?
According to the Social Security Disability Resource Center, “Nearly 64% of all initial disability claims are denied.” Your claim can be denied for a number of reasons, however, it doesn’t mean that you will never be able to receive benefits. Do not be discouraged if your initial claim is denied. Our Lancaster disability lawyers can review what options you have and guide you through the appeals process. Here’s what to expect if you’re denied benefits:
Request for Reconsideration
After receiving a denial, an attorney can file a request for reconsideration with the SSA. A new claims examiner will review your claim, taking into consideration any new documents or evidence you or your attorney submit, and reconsider your application.
In the event that your request for reconsideration is also denied, you may be able to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). During this stage of the appeals process, it is especially beneficial to have an experienced disability attorney present. They can prepare you for questions you will likely be asked during the hearing, question expert witnesses to support your claim, and argue a strong case in front of the judge.
If the ALJ denies your claim, you can appeal before the Appeals Council, however, keep in mind that they generally uphold the decision of the ALJ.
Why Hire Dr. Bill LaTour?
If you’re suffering from a mental or physical disability that has left you unable to earn a living, you may be entitled to receive SSDI or SSI benefits. Dr. Bill LaTour has helped countless disabled individuals and their families in Lancaster and across Southern California to obtain the financial assistance they need.
To schedule a free consultation to have your case reviewed by one of our Lancaster disability lawyers at the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour, call 800-803-5090 or complete our online contact form. If you’re unable to travel to our offices, we’re happy to come to you.