Whether you’re applying for the first time or appealing a denied claim, the Social Security system can be incredibly complex to handle alone.
Having an experienced disability lawyer on your side will not only make the process less stressful but also increase your chances of being approved for benefits – even if your claim was initially denied. In fact, you’re nearly 3x more likely to get approved if you hire a lawyer.
The Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour has helped countless disabled individuals navigate the application and/or appeals process. If you or a loved one has suffered a disabling physical or mental condition, contact us to speak with a knowledgeable Pasadena disability lawyer. We’ll do everything we can to help you collect the benefits you deserve.
Do I Need a Pasadena Disability Lawyer?
Disabling injuries or medical conditions can put your life on hold. When you’re unable to work or perform everyday tasks, filing a claim to receive financial benefits can be difficult and time-consuming.
There’s a substantial amount of paperwork, medical evidence, and other requirements needed to file for disability. Many times, applicants are denied simply because they didn’t fill out a form properly or include enough medical documentation.
Our lawyers can help speed up the tedious process by helping you avoid these minor technicalities that often cause claims to get denied. If your claim was denied already, we can prepare you for the appeals process and gather any needed evidence to prove your disability.
From all of the documents to attending medical appointments, and coordinating with the Social Security Administration (SSA), we understand how frustrating applying for disability benefits can be. Our compassionate attorneys will act as a trusted resource throughout the claims process.
Types of Disability Benefits
The SSA offers several different benefits programs for disabled individuals:
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are available for workers who have become disabled. To collect SSDI, you must have earned a certain number of ‘work credits’ by working jobs that pay into Social Security.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program intended for U.S. citizens who are blind, disabled, or over the age of 65. In order to obtain SSI benefits, you must have a limited amount of income and resources.
Do I Qualify for Benefits?
The SSA has a strict definition of ‘disability.’ If you do not meet their criteria, you will likely not be approved for benefits.
Your eligibility for SSDI will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Whether you are currently working
- The severity of your condition
- Whether you can do the work you were doing prior to developing a disability
- Whether you are capable of performing any other type of work for which you are qualified
These criteria are used by the SSA to determine eligibility for both SSDI and SSI claims. SSI applicants must also meet the resources limit. In other words, your countable resources must not be worth more than $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 as a couple.
According to the SSA, countable resources are money or things you own that can be turned into cash, such as property, stocks, bonds, and bank accounts. However, there are some things, such as the house you live in, that do not count towards the resource limit.
Our Pasadena disability lawyers will review your claim, work history, and medical records to determine whether or not you qualify for benefits.
What If My Claim Was Denied?
Your disability benefit claim may be denied for many reasons, including:
- Your income is too high.
- Your disability isn’t severe enough or you didn’t submit enough medical evidence.
- You’re capable of performing substantial gainful activity, or a job.
If your claim has been denied for one reason or another, it doesn’t always mean that you aren’t entitled to benefits.
After receiving a denial, you have the option to appeal. During this process, it is especially helpful to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side who is familiar with the system. This will significantly increase your chances of a successful appeal.
Here’s what you can expect:
Request for Reconsideration
You can submit a request for reconsideration within 60 days of receiving a denial letter from the SSA. This initial stage essentially asks the SSA to reconsider your claim. Our attorneys will help collect any additional or missing evidence needed to further prove your disability and submit it to the SSA.
Request a Hearing
If your claim is denied again, you can appeal at the next level by requesting a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. During this hearing, our attorneys can speak on your behalf and present your claim. This may involve calling witnesses to testify to the nature of your condition and its effect on your everyday life.
If the administrative law judge denies your claim, we can then request to have the SSA’s appeals council review your application. From there, the council will either resolve your case or send it to a different administrative law judge for further review.
Call Dr. Bill LaTour for Help
If you’re looking for a Pasadena disability lawyer to help you file a claim or an appeal, call Dr. Bill LaTour for help.
After suffering a disabling physical or mental condition, you need a strong and experienced legal team that understands what you’re going through. Our office will do everything we can to make the difficult process easier for you.
Contact us today at 800-803-5090, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation to see if you’re entitled to benefits. If your disability prevents you from leaving home, we’ll come to you! We’re passionate about helping our clients in Pasadena and anywhere in the Greater Los Angeles area, Inland Empire, or Orange County get what they deserve.