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Reclaim Your Independence - Call Our Social Security Disability Attorneys Today For Dedicated Legal Representation

Unlock Your SSD and SSI Benefits with the Best Lawyers for Social Security Disability in the Country.

Life’s uncertainty can be a double-edged sword. Amidst our pursuit of growth and success, we sometimes overlook the fragile vulnerability that defines the human condition. Disabilities, inherently uncertain, can catch you off-guard. Few anticipate a day when they’ll struggle to drive to work, carry a laundry basket, or even roll out of bed without debilitating pain. No one expects that one car accident, a single misstep on a flight of stairs, or a few years of turning over hospital patients will suddenly leave them unable to earn a stable income. For many, social security disability benefits are the only recourse in this situation. Your independence, security, and hopes now rest on a single decision from the system you’ve paid into all your life. Your future is now subject to strict criteria, heavy fraud prevention measures, and administrative errors. Sleepless nights and long periods of anxious waiting only amplify the sting of a denial letter.

When your initial application is denied, the thought of filing an appeal can be both disheartening and intimidating. The bureaucratic hurdles, stacks of forms, and potential for further disappointment are designed to make the appeals process feel like an uphill battle. Fortunately, our social security disability lawyers don’t back down from a struggle. We want you to know that you don’t have to face these challenges alone. Our attorneys will use their expert knowledge and advocacy skills to take on the notoriously complex SSDI appeals process, ease your frustrations, and provide you with compassionate and effective legal representation. You deserve to have access to the disability benefits you deserve - and your lawyer will stand by your side until your future is secured.

Understanding Social Security Disability: Eligibility and Benefits

The Social Security Disability (SSD) program is a federal initiative designed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to a long-term disability or impairment. This program encompasses two primary categories of disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), each with distinct qualifications and requirements.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program provides monthly financial aid to individuals with long-term disabilities to alleviate the lost wages and other financial burdens caused by their condition. The SSDI program, also known as Title II, is funded by the FICA tax, collected from the payroll of American employees and employers. The monthly SSDI benefit amount a disability benefits recipient is entitled to is calculated based on the recipient’s previous earnings and the total Social Security taxes paid throughout their career. In some situations, family members of disabled SSDI beneficiaries may also be eligible for benefits.

The SSA employs a heavy-handed, stringent approach to evaluating SSDI applications and determining disability. For the SSA to consider an applicant disabled, the applicant must be unable to take part in "substantial gainful activity" (SGA) – this refers to employment that generates income exceeding a set monthly limit. Furthermore, to qualify for these benefits applicants must meet specific work credit requirements, based on factors such as age and work experience, and they must have paid into the Social Security system. Finally, the disabling condition must be medically verified to persist for at least one year or result in death.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program offers financial support to individuals with limited financial means and assets who are blind, disabled, or aged 65 and older. This program, also called Title XVI, is funded by general taxes. While SSI benefit amounts vary by state, their primary purpose is to help recipients meet basic needs - including food, shelter, and clothing.

Unlike SSDI, qualification for SSI benefits relies primarily on financial need. To be eligible for SSI, applicants must fulfill the strict medical and financial requirements specified on the SSA website. As with SSDI, an applicant's disabling condition should be severe enough to last at least a year or result in death, and it must hinder their ability to engage in SGA. Furthermore, for an applicant to be considered for SSI disability benefits, their income and financial resources must not exceed a specified limit.

Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability?

The eligibility criteria for Social Security disability benefits are extremely strict, particularly for individuals under the age of 50. In such cases, the evidence in an applicant's file must indisputably demonstrate their inability to perform any kind of work.

However, for individuals aged 50 or beyond, the SSA somewhat relaxes their eligibility requirements for disability benefits based on the understanding that older applicants have spent a significant portion of their careers performing the same type of work and may be less adaptable to new work situations. Typically, if an older individual's previous work was unskilled or semi-skilled, and there are no available sedentary jobs requiring their specific skills, they may qualify for benefits. For applicants aged 55 and older who are unable to perform more than light work and have no transferable skills, the eligibility criteria are further relaxed - making it increasingly easier for our disability lawyers to advocate for benefits. No matter your age, we urge you to contact a social security attorney immediately if your disability benefits claim has been rejected.

Below are the standards set by the SSA for benefits eligibility. To be considered for federal aid, applicants must fulfill these requirements.

  • The applicant must have a diagnosed physical or mental impairment or condition that is considered a full, rather than partial, disability.
  • The applicant’s disability must be severe enough to impede substantial gainful activity.
  • The applicant must adhere to the recommended course of treatment for their disability.
  • The applicant’s disability must be expected to last for at least one year or prove fatal.
  • A specific duration must have passed since the applicant last worked and paid Social Security taxes.
  • The applicant must have accumulated a minimum number of work credits based on their age and employment history. Typically, the SSA requires 40 credits, with 20 earned in the 10 years preceding the onset of the disability. Younger applicants need fewer credits due to their age.
  • The applicant must fulfill certain SSA-defined criteria for resources and income limitations.
  • The applicant must be totally or partially blind, or have a medical condition that prevents them from working and is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
  • The applicant must not be engaging in SGA.
  • The applicant must follow the recommended course of treatment for their disability.

Why Was My Disability Claim Denied?

There are a variety of reasons why the SSA might deny an SSDI or SSI claim. Understanding how to avoid a denial can help you navigate both the initial application and appeals process more effectively and increase your chances of a successful claim.

Insufficient medical evidence - one of the top reasons for an SSDI or SSI benefits denial is a lack of adequate medical evidence to support the applicant's disability claim. Without comprehensive medical documentation that clearly demonstrates the severity of your condition - and how it impacts your ability to work - you have little chance of success. To avoid denial on these grounds, make sure you have detailed medical records, including diagnostic test results, treatment history, and doctors’ notes.

Non-compliance with treatment - Another common reason for claim denial is applicants’ failure to follow prescribed treatments for their condition. The SSA needs to see that you’ve made reasonable efforts to manage your disability through appropriate medical care, and non-compliance may lead them to falsely assume that your condition is not as severe as you claim. You can avoid denial for this reason by strictly following your doctor's recommendations for treatment - and maintaining records of your compliance.

Insufficient work history - For social security disability claims, applicants must have a sufficient work history and have earned enough work credits to qualify for benefits. If an applicant does not meet these requirements, their claim will be denied. In such cases, individuals may still be eligible for SSI benefits if they meet the financial and medical criteria.

Exceeding income and resource limits - For SSI claims, applicants must have limited income and financial resources. If your income or resources exceed the established thresholds, your claim will be denied. It is vital that you report your income and assets with complete accuracy.

Failure to cooperate with SSA requests - During the application process, the SSA may request additional information or documentation from the applicant. If the applicant fails to provide the requested information or does not attend scheduled medical examinations, their claim may be denied. To avoid this outcome, applicants should respond promptly to all SSA requests and maintain open communication with the agency throughout the process.

Disability Not Severe Enough - The SSA only provides SSDI or SSI benefits to applicants whose disability is expected to last at least one year or result in death. If the SSA determines based on circumstances or medical evidence that your condition is likely to improve within a year, your claim may be denied.

If you have been denied for any reason, including any not listed above, don’t hesitate to contact a disability attorney at Wettermark Keith. If you’re struggling with the painful physical and financial effects of a disability and need help contesting your rejected claim, our dedicated attorneys will make it their priority to address your concerns and protect your rights - all the way to the courtroom, if necessary.

Why Do I Need a Disability Attorney?

Navigating the endless paperwork and complexities of the SSA can be daunting, especially when you’re already struggling with the physical and emotional challenges of a disability. Whether you're applying for social security disability benefits for the first time, or you’ve applied unsuccessfully and are now appealing the decision, our attorneys are prepared to provide you with expert guidance and representation throughout the process. While there are countless advantages to having access to professional legal help, the most significant is your increased likelihood of a favorable outcome. Your lawyer will assist you with the approval and appeals process to ensure you receive the maximum monetary amount possible. If your funds are running low and time is of the essence, your lawyer can also bring your onset date closer to expedite the arrival of your disability benefits. 

We realize that this process can be both exhausting and isolating. Our attorneys seek to offer you emotional support as well as legal guidance. They’re here to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and let you know you’re not alone in this struggle. We know that it takes courage and determination to fight against both the challenges of a disability and the might of the SSA, and our attorneys are prepared to work tirelessly on your behalf. From your initial application to the ALJ hearing or appeals council review, your social security disability lawyer will advocate for your needs until you receive the benefits you deserve. Contact a Wettermark Keith lawyer today at (877) 715-9300 for a free consultation.

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How Do I Apply for Disability Benefits?

Most agree that the application procedure for SSDI is intimidatingly complex. Thankfully, our attorneys understand this process - and its piles of forms and layers of evaluation - backward and forward. We’ve laid out a brief summary of the SSDI application procedure below. If you need further guidance through this process, call us at (877) 715-9300. We are available 24/7, even on weekends, to answer any questions or concerns you might have.

Check Your Eligibility – Carefully read the instructions on the SSA website before starting the application process. You can only be eligible for SSDI compensation if you have a qualifying disability (one that prevents you from participating in SGA) and a sufficient number of work credits from prior employment.

Gather All Required Paperwork - Compile all paperwork related to your employment history, health, and identification. This data will be used to determine your eligibility for benefits and to assess the degree of your disability. You can find a list of all of the documents required to support your SSDI claim on the SSA website at

File an SSDI Benefits Form - you can fill out the SSDI benefits form online, over the phone, or in person at your local Social Security office to file for social security disability benefits. You must be specific and detailed when providing information about your disability. Accuracy in your initial application can prevent major obstacles down the road. Incomplete or false information will lead to the denial of your claim.

Initial Evaluation - The SSA will conduct an initial evaluation after you submit your application to see if you meet the prerequisites for SSDI compensation. At this point, your application can be turned down if they determine that you don't meet these conditions.

Disability Determination - If your application passes the initial review, it will be sent to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office in your state. They will further evaluate your case, examining your medical records, employment history, and other data in detail. If necessary, the DDS may ask for additional medical tests or examinations.

Approval or Denial Of Your Claim - The DDS will decide on your social security disability claim based on the evidence presented. You will get a letter outlining your benefits - including the monthly payment amount and start date - if your claim is approved. If your claim is rejected, a letter outlining the reasons why will be sent to you along with instructions on how to appeal the decision.

How Can I Boost My Chances of a Successful Disability Application?

While much of the application process is ultimately out of your hands, these steps and precautions will increase your chances of success:

Gather Comprehensive Medical Documentation

The quality of your medical documentation is essential to your application's success. Make sure you submit extensive and up-to-date medical records - including diagnostic test results, treatment information, and doctor's notes - that demonstrate the seriousness of your illness and how it affects your daily life and ability to work.

Understand the Eligibility Requirements

Learn the particular requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), depending on which program you're applying for, before submitting your application. These requirements can be found online or through an SSA representative.

Complete Your Application With Care

To avoid raising red flags during the evaluation process, ensure the information in your application is thorough, precise, and consistent in demonstrating how your disability prevents you from engaging in SGA.

Obtain Supporting Statements

Obtain documented confirmation of the severity of your disability and its effect on your ability to work from your treating doctors, therapists, and other medical experts. These assertions can strengthen the medical proof you've supplied and lend credibility to your application.

Follow Prescribed Treatments

By adhering to your doctor's prescribed course of treatment, you can demonstrate to the SSA that you are making an effort to treat the effects of your disability. Maintain careful records of your compliance with all prescribed treatments.

Communicate With the SSA

Whenever the SSA asks you to provide further information or proof, do so without delay. Keep the agency consistently updated on any changes to your contact information, medical condition, or course of treatment.

Seek Legal Representation

You can significantly increase your chances of success by seeking out an experienced social security disability attorney. Your lawyer will advise you on how best to proceed, assist you in gathering evidence and paperwork, and offer excellent advocacy and emotional support.

How Do I Appeal a Denied Disability Claim?

If your disability claim has recently been denied, you may feel discouraged, overwhelmed, and unsure about how to proceed. The appeal process is an integral part of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) procedure, allowing you to contest a decision you believe is unfair or incorrect. Each stage has its intricacies, deadlines, and requirements for evidence and documentation. 

Given the challenging nature and the importance of a successful appeal, seeking assistance from an experienced attorney can be invaluable. A disability lawyer can navigate the procedural nuances, help gather the necessary documentation, and represent your interests effectively, significantly increasing the likelihood of overturning the denial of your claim.

It's imperative to act swiftly if your Social Security disability claim has been denied. You have only 60 days from the date of denial to file an appeal. Failing to meet this deadline means you must start the application process anew, delaying potential benefits further. Our lawyers are here to ensure your appeal is filed promptly and correctly, maximizing your chances for a successful outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions

If your Social Security disability claim has been denied, it's crucial to act quickly as you have only 60 days from the date of the denial notice to file an appeal. This strict deadline is part of the Social Security Administration's procedure, and failing to appeal within this window means you must start the entire application process over from scratch. The clock starts ticking from the date you receive the denial letter, which is presumed to be five days after the date on the letter, unless you can prove you received it later. It's important to note that timely action is essential to preserve your rights and to avoid unnecessary delays in the processing of your claim.

To ensure a successful appeal, call a disability lawyer at Wettermark Keith today for a free consultation.

In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, applicants must fulfill specific non-medical and medical requirements. Medically, individuals must have a physical or mental disability that prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) and is projected to persist for at least a year or prove fatal. Candidates are also required to take their medication and follow treatments as directed by their medical providers to qualify for benefits. Finally, applicants must have a long enough work history and must have accrued a certain number of work credits based on their age and employment history. 

To qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), applicants must meet certain financial requirements (as this program is need-based), be at least 65 years old, blind, or have a medical condition that prevents them from working or engaging in SGA.

An individual receiving both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits at the same time must be eligible for both. This situation is known as “concurrent benefits." In some cases, an individual may qualify for SSDI but receive a low monthly benefit due to their limited work history. If this amount falls below the SSI income threshold, they may be eligible for SSI benefits to supplement their SSDI payments.

In 2023, the average waiting period for a decision on an initial Social Security disability claim extended to between 6 to 8 months. This duration reflects an increase from previous years and can be influenced by several factors, such as the intricacy of your case, the overall demand on the Social Security Administration, and the need for detailed medical evidence to substantiate your claim.

If your condition is included in the Compassionate Allowance List, your disability claim can be fast-tracked, significantly reducing the waiting time for a decision. Whereas the average disability claim may take 6 to 8 months for an initial decision, claims eligible under CAL can receive a decision in just a few weeks. This expedited process ensures that individuals with the most serious disabilities receive the benefits they need more quickly. It's important to note that while the processing time is shortened, the eligibility criteria for disability benefits remain the same. Applicants must still provide sufficient medical evidence to support their claim and meet the SSA's definition of disability.

The extent of your disability and how it affects your capacity to work must be clearly demonstrated in the evidence you submit when you apply for disability benefits. A disability benefits application must be supported by the following documentation:

Medical records - these should contain thorough explanations of your diagnosis, treatment strategies, and prognosis from every healthcare professional who has treated your disability. This may include prescription information, examination findings, imaging findings, surgical reports, and therapy evaluations.

Work history - the SSA requires a thorough work history before considering an applicant eligible for SSDI benefits. You must disclose all prior employers, job titles, employment dates, and job responsibilities in your application. 

Education and training - include documentation of your educational background and any vocational training you have completed - this information is used to evaluate your ability to adapt to alternative work.

Personal statements - your own words and those of people you know well, including your family, friends, or coworkers, can shed light on how your disability affects your day-to-day activities and capacity for job-related duties.

Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) forms - this paperwork, filled out by your treating doctor, outline your physical and mental limitations and assist the SSA in determining your ability to work.

Our disability attorneys can assist you in gathering and presenting these documents and records in a manner that best improves your chances of a favorable outcome.

Choosing the right attorney to handle your disability claim is a vital step in securing the benefits you deserve. It's essential to seek out not just a good attorney but the best attorney who specializes in Social Security disability law and has an outstanding track record. Read their client reviews and testimonials to gauge their credibility and set up a consultation to discuss their experience, approach, and communication style. Ultimately, trust your intuition - choose the lawyer who makes you feel comfortable and secure in their ability to obtain the disability benefits you need.

Our lawyers for social security also handle cases involving premises liability law, personal injury cases, auto and trucking accidents, insurance dispute claims, dog bites, nursing home abuse cases, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, and veterans’ disability claims.

Choose Wettermark Keith: A Top 100 Social Security Disability Law Firm

When facing the daunting challenge of a denied Social Security disability claim, it's crucial to choose a law firm that not only understands the complexities of the system but also has a proven track record of advocating for clients' rights. At Wettermark Keith, a distinguished Top 100 Social Security Disability Law Firm, our lawyers specialize in navigating the intricate pathways of Social Security benefits and in turning denied claims into approved ones. 

Wettermark Keith, with offices located throughout Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida, has an excellent reputation as one of the most accomplished personal injury firms in the country. Our reach is not only regional but includes a diverse range of practice areas, including premises liability law, personal injury cases, auto wrecks, trucking wrecks, insurance dispute claims, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, on-the-job injuries, social security disability, and veterans’ disability claims, to name just a few. At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking cases personally. Our purpose is to advocate with care and compassion- to tell our clients’ stories and make their voices heard. Our lawyers do this by building strong relationships based on constant communication and an unwavering dedication to truth and trust. You should never wonder what’s going on with your case. Your social security lawyer will keep you in the loop and treat you like family- because to us, you are. 

Call Now For a Free Consultation - No Fee, Guaranteed.

If you’re grappling with the physical and financial repercussions of a disability and require help contesting a rejected claim, we urge you to call us immediately. During your free consultation, your lawyer will carefully review the details of your case to identify any issues or mistakes in your initial application. If you choose to proceed with legal assistance, your attorney will gather evidence to strengthen your claim - including work history, income information, and medical records - and collaborate with healthcare providers to obtain detailed professional opinions about your disability and its severity. Your lawyer will guide you through the appeals process, represent you at hearings, and serve as a stable source of compassion and wise counsel. 

We understand that without stable wages, you may be struggling financially due to your disability. To ease this burden, our attorneys provide quality legal representation on a contingency fee basis, guaranteeing that you will owe no out-of-pocket costs - and only pay if we win your case. Don’t hesitate - contact Wettermark Keith at (877) 715-9300 or via our website chat or online form to schedule a complimentary consultation with our legal team.

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Law firm Wettermark Keith has exceeded my expectations! I recommend these lawyers to anyone and everyone I come across. Their commitment to their clients is outstanding. Communication is easy. And I got my settlement very fast. I definitely recommend working with Lee Hawker. He is very gracious and kind. He looked out for me and my family and went above and beyond for us. I’m very grateful!

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