The Jeffersonville disability lawyers at the Brizendine Law Office will help you present your best case for an award of benefits
In our experience as Jeffersonville disability lawyers, we have learned that there is one question every client wants to have answered: “Am I disabled enough to be awarded benefits?” In all but the most extreme cases, we cannot answer that question with certainty. We can, though, explain how the Social Security Administration makes a disability determination, and work with you to gather persuasive evidence of your disability and present your best case for an award of benefits.
How does Social Security determine if I am disabled enough to receive benefits?
The Social Security Administration uses a 5-step process to evaluate every application for disability benefits it receives. Each step must be taken in order; a “wrong” answer at any point in the analysis will result in the denial of you claim. [This flowchart will help you to visualize how the analysis works.]
Step 1: Are you working?
If you are gainfully employed, then you are not disabled.
Step 2: Do you have a severe physical or mental condition?
In order to get past Step 2, your condition must be severe enough to prevent you from working; an impairment that has only a slight effect on your ability to work will not pass this Step. Moreover, your condition cannot be temporary. It must have lasted at least 12 months, or be expect to last that long or to result in your death.
Step 3: Do you have a Listings impairment?
The Social Security Listing of Impairments establishes criteria for over 100 physical and mental impairments. If your condition “meets or medically equals” the criteria for a Listings impairment, then you are deemed disabled by law, and you will be awarded benefits. Generally, only the most severe manifestations of a particular condition will qualify as a Listings impairment.
Step 4: Are you able to do the work you have done previously?
Step 5: Are you able to do any other type of work?
If you do not have a Listings impairment, all is not lost. There is another path to an award of disability benefits. At Steps 4 and 5 of the disability determination process, the Social Security Administration evaluates your ability to work. First, the decision-maker will determine whether you are able to do any job you have done in the past. If so, your claim will be denied. If not, the decision-maker will evaluate whether you are able to adapt to a different kind of work, taking into consideration your age, education, past work experience and your current ability to work despite the limitations caused by your impairment. If you are not able to adapt to any type of work that is generally available in the economy, you will be awarded benefits.
How can the Jeffersonville disability lawyers at the Brizendine Law Office help me?
As you can see from this brief overview, the Social Security disability determination process is complicated. You may, in fact, be disabled enough to be awarded benefits, but if you fail to present compelling legal evidence of that fact, your claim will be denied. Our experienced Jeffersonville disability lawyers will make sure you present a complete picture of your disability, within the framework required by the law. We can help by:
- Analyzing the facts of your case to confirm that you meet the medical and non-medical eligibility requirements for Social Security disability benefits.
- Developing a case strategy that focuses on the facts and legal issues that are important to the Social Security decision-maker.
- Handling the time-consuming (and often tedious) work of gathering evidence to support your claim, including medical records, employment records and education records.
- Ensuring that your paperwork – application, request for reconsideration, request for hearing, supporting documents – is complete and timely filed.
- Obtaining written medical opinions from your doctors.
- Arranging for an evaluation by a medical or vocational specialist, if needed.
- Preparing you to testify at your hearing.
- Preparing witnesses to testify at your hearing.
- Representing you at the hearing.
In short, we will deal with the Social Security bureaucracy, so that you can focus on taking care of your health and your family.
Whether you are only just considering filing for benefits, or already have filed and been denied, we can provide steady guidance at every step of the application and appeals process.
If you would like to speak with our experienced Jeffersonville disability lawyers about your claim, please call our office or send us an email, or use the Free Claim Evaluation form on this page to tell us about your situation. We will respond promptly.
We wish you well.