Social Security disability benefits provide financial help to individuals who have been unable to work for at least a year due to a serious medical condition. Our Kentucky Social Security disability attorney fights in order to secure your benefits.
There are two federal programs for obtaining disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. Social Security disability insurance benefits (SSDI) are available to individuals who have a previous work history and have earned sufficient work credits. Individuals who meet stated income guidelines receive Supplemental security income (SSI). In addition, disability benefits can be available to spouses and children.
If the Social Security Administration has denied your disability claim, you should seek the advice of an attorney immediately. A Social Security disability lawyer in KY at Farmer and Wright can help you appeal to your disability case. We will gather the medical evidence as well as other necessary documentation to support your disability claim. However, you must act quickly. Chiefly, your request for an appeal must be submitted within 60 days of your denial.
When you first file a Social Security disability claim, a state agency disability examiner will make the initial determination on your case. If denied, your claim will be reviewed at the reconsideration stage. Many Social Security disability claims are routinely denied at the initial and reconsideration stages, and individuals must wait for an administrative hearing so that an administrative law judge can evaluate their claim. It can take more than a year to wait for a hearing.
At the administrative hearing, you will be allowed to present further medical evidence, have witnesses testify on your behalf, and offer your own testimony relating to your work limitations and why you are unable to work. A Kentucky Social Security disability attorney can advocate your interests at the administrative hearing and present a well-reasoned argument based on medical evidence and the relevant law. Our Social Security disability lawyer can also help to determine if the Social Security Administration overlooked medical evidence that supports a finding a disability, whether the agency fully considered all of your physical and mental limitations in deciding your claim. Additionally, our Social Security disability attorney can assist with gathering recent medical reports and medical opinion evidence that can strengthen your case record.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) applies a five-step evaluation process in determining whether you will receive disability benefits. You will need to provide medical evidence showing a physical or mental condition (an impairment) that imposes significant limitations in your ability to perform basic work tasks. These work tasks include the ability to stand; walk; sit; lift; carry; handle; hear; see; understand and remember instructions; use proper judgment; react appropriately with supervisors, coworkers, and the general public; and respond to changes in a routine work environment.
The SSA will use these physical and mental limitations to create a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment of your ability to perform work on a regular and routine basis. In order to be found disabled, your impairment must meet or equal the medical requirements of a disability listing found in the Listing of Impairments, or your RFC assessment must contain sufficient work-related limitations that you are unable to perform your past work and any other jobs in the national economy. However, if you are currently working at a job that is considered substantial gainful activity, you will be found not disabled.
Social Security disability benefits can be granted for a variety of medical conditions. Common medical impairments in the Listing of Impairments include disorders of the spine (osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, vertebral fracture), fractures of the legs or arms, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, chronic heart failure, recurrent arrhythmias, chronic liver disease, chronic kidney disease, schizophrenic and paranoid disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, intellectual disability, and cancers.
Federal regulations provide guidelines of how the Social Security Administration must evaluate the evidence present in your Social Security case record. Evidence generally consists of medical reports, medical opinions, statements from lay witnesses, and your own statements about your inability to perform work. The SSA has stated that your own symptoms are not enough to establish the existence of serious impairment. Instead, a licensed doctor or psychologist must observe medical signs or rely on laboratory findings to diagnose an impairment.
Generally, the Social Security Administration will give the most weight to the medical opinion of your treating doctor if you have a long relationship with that doctor, the doctor has provided relevant medical evidence to support his opinion, and the opinion is consistent with other evidence in the record. The SSA will also give more weight to a doctor who is a specialist in his field. However, the agency still has the right to reject the opinion of a treating doctor if it greatly differs from other medical opinions and medical evidence.
Other medical opinions may be from examining doctors who examined you for a one-time exam, and agency consulting doctors who never examine you but review the evidence in your case file. You may also have medical opinions from registered nurses, medical assistants, chiropractors, and mental health professionals. These opinions are treated as “other sources” and are given the same weight as a third-party witness when considering your impairments and your ability to work.
Sometimes, the Social Security Administration might decide that your disability claim has insufficient evidence to make a finding. If so, the agency could send you for a physical or mental consultative examination with a doctor at the agency’s expense. The SSA reserves the right to make a final decision on whether you are disabled, even if a medical source states that he or she believes you are disabled and unable to work.
Contact Our Hopkinsville and Paducah Social Security Disability Attorney
At Farmer and Wright, our disability attorneys are here to help when you need us most. We will walk with you through every step of the legal process. Call our office in order to discuss your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.