Social Security Disability Attorney in Lima, Ohio
Applying For Social Security Disability
Applying for Social Security Disability is not a simple task. The SSA requires specific details and information regarding your medical and work history. In addition to the information the SSA requires you to provide, you may have additional essential information that could decrease your wait time for a decision, or you may unintentionally provide unnecessary details that could result in a longer wait time. Don’t guess. Call us today!
You are eligible to apply for benefits through the SSA if:
- Your condition has lasted or is expected to last at least one year or will result in death,
- You worked for an employer under the SSA,
- Due to your condition, you can no longer do the work you previously did or any other type of work.
Note: The SSA generally has a 5-month waiting period following the date of disability before benefits begin, which means you will start to receive your benefits six months after the date of disability.
To apply for disability under the SSA, you must complete an application online, over the telephone, or at your local SSA office (an appointment may be required).
To complete your disability application, you will need the following information:
- Social Security number
- Proof of age
Medical (beginning 1 year prior to date of disability):
- Name, address telephone number, and date(s) of each appointment, visit, and/or admission for every:
- Medical Provider
- Urgent Care
- For each prescription you are currently taking:
- Reason for prescription
- Side affects you personally experience
- Any medical records you have in your possession
- Laboratory and test results you have in your possession
- Employers for the last 10 years
- Dates of work for each employer
- Summary of your duties at each employer
- List of any type of special training you have
- Educational background
- Most recent W-2 (if self-employer, copy of your most recent federal tax return)
- Workers’ Compensation information, if applicable
Family (if applying for benefits for dependents):
- Social Security number for each family member who may be eligible for benefits
- Proof of age for each family member who may be eligible for benefits
- If spouse is applying for benefits
- Proof of marriage
- Dates of prior marriages, if any
- Name, address, and phone number of a person who can attest to your disability (not a medical provider)
- Name, address, and phone number of a contact if the SSA and/or DDS is unable to reach you
- Dates of marriages and divorces
- Checking or savings account number
After you submit your application, it is forwarded to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office, where someone is assigned your claim and will begin collecting medical records on your behalf. Please be advised that only a single request is usually sent to your medical providers asking for your medical records. If the healthcare provider does not respond promptly, the DDS will decide without those records. Additionally, the DDS may want you to see another doctor(s) for additional evaluation and/or testing. If you refuse to comply, it can result in a denial of your claim.
Once DDS has all the information they believe is necessary to evaluate your claim, DDS will decide on your disability status. It is important to note that DDS will use only the items within your claim file at the time of the assessment to make a decision. Therefore, a decision may be rendered without all of your medical records.
Upon determination, the Social Security Administration will issue you a decision letter. This decision letter will either be captioned “Fully Favorable,” “Partially Favorable,” or “Unfavorable.” Upon receiving your determination letter, it is essential to carefully review the decision to determine what next steps you should take, if any.
The Social Security Disability Attorneys at Siferd & Associates, LPA, of Lima, Ohio, recommend you start a log after you first submit your disability Application to keep track of details like:
- medical appointments,
- medical tests,
- urgent care or ER visits,
- side effects of medications,
- changes to your day-to-day life due to your impairment
This log should include the date, the provider, and what it was for. That way, if you are denied, you have all the information you need in one place to complete your Request for Reconsideration.
If you received an “Unfavorable” or “Partially Favorable” decision, do not fret. It is common to be denied at the application phase and later receive a favorable decision. Though you may be disappointed, it is critical to take action. To appeal your decision, you must submit a Request for Reconsideration application within 60 days of the date you received your denial letter.
Requesting a Reconsideration
Like the Application, the Request for Reconsideration can be made online, by phone, or at your local SSA office. This step is usually less burdensome than the Application stage since the SSA merely needs to update your records from the date of your initial Application and your Request for Reconsideration date. You must provide a current medication list, even if it has not changed, and all the details regarding said medications.
Additionally, you can provide information regarding any new or changed diagnoses, including how these impairments affect your day-to-day life. You can also explain how your health has changed for better or worse since your Application. Finally, you must disclose any changes to your work or education since your initial Application in your Request for Reconsideration.
Usually, the decision on a Request for Reconsideration is quicker since the DDS has most of your medical on file. At this stage, a different DDS official will review your updated file, assess your updated records, and issue a determination.
As with the Application process, the SSA will send you a letter that will be captioned one of three ways, “Fully Favorable,” “Partially Favorable,” or “Unfavorable.” As before, upon receiving your determination letter, it is critical to carefully review the decision to determine the next steps, if any.
Do not be discouraged if you receive an “Unfavorable” or “Partially Favorable” decision at the reconsideration phase. Very few people who have a disability receive a favorable decision upon reconsideration. Nevertheless, it is a required step before requesting a hearing. Again, despite any frustration or disappointment, it is critical to act swiftly. You only have 60 days from the date you received your letter to submit a Request for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
[If the decision you received from Reconsideration was “partially favorable,” you may or may not wish to request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. For guidance on whether a hearing is appropriate in your circumstance, contact the social security attorney at Siferd & Associates in Lima, Ohio.]
Requesting a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge
Most people dislike going before a judge, and we get it. Having a social security disability attorney by your side during this process can help you feel prepared rather than scared. The hearing is finally your chance to express, in your own words, how your disability affects your day-to-day life. And the judge, who is making the decision, will be able to see a human being behind the medical records. It is your time to “shine” and express how your life has changed because of your disability.
Much like the Request for Reconsideration, the Request for a Hearing can be completed online, by phone, or at your local Social Security Administration office. We at Siferd & Associates, LPA, in Lima, Ohio, recommend that you contact our office to schedule a free phone consultation with our social security disability attorney.
During this initial consultation, we will gather your information as you share how your disability impacts your life. We will then assess your claim to ensure we are the right advocates for you. If we accept your claim, we will schedule a second appointment to complete your Request for Hearing.
Like the Request for Reconsideration, the Request for Hearing is usually less burdensome than the initial stage since the SSA is again only updating your records from the date of your Request for Reconsideration. Again, you can provide any new diagnoses, and you must provide a current medication list and all the details regarding said medications, even if it has stayed the same.
After submitting the request, you will wait to receive a Notice for Hearing in the mail. Typically, notices are given three months or more before the hearing. After you receive notice, if you do not have an attorney, you will also receive a copy of your claim file on CD. It is imperative that you review your claim file and ensure all your medical is in your file (starting one year before your date of disability through the present). If any medical is missing, you must collect it and submit it to your claim file. But, if you have a representative, such as the social security disability attorney at Siferd & Associates, we will do that for you.
Before your hearing, as your representative, we will submit a brief to the ALJ that will tell your story through your work history, relevant medical information, and why you cannot work. This brief can be a meaningful road map since claim files are hundreds of pages. It also ensures that the ALJ keys in on crucial medical documents. In addition, it highlights if your disability meets or medically equals a “listing” impairment or if you “GRID out,” either of which will qualify you for disability under the SSA.
On the day of your hearing, it is best to relax. Though it is a formal procedure and you will testify under oath, the ALJ wants you to be comfortable and will keep the room’s tone informal. The ALJ will ask you questions about your disability to better understand you and your capabilities. There may also be a medical or vocational expert present to answer questions. If you have a representative, they will likely also ask questions of you and any witnesses so that the ALJ has all the relevant information to make a determination. And you finally get to tell your disability story and how it has impacted your life.
Not only are the rules and regulations surrounding SSDI and SSI ever-changing, they are also complex. The SSA has multiple nuances and caveats that the average person is unaware of. To get help claiming your disability benefits under the Social Security Administration, contact Siferd & Associates, LPA, of Lima, Ohio, to schedule an appointment with our experienced attorney today!
Social Security Disability Attorneys
Serving Lima, Ohio
If you are battling the Social Security Administration for disability benefits, you need an attorney who understands the nuances of the Social Security Administration. Our team at Siferd & Associates, LPA, will work with you to fight for your disability benefits. You’ve already lost enough, let Siferd & Associates, LPA, of Lima, Ohio, help you get the benefits you deserve! Request a free consultation to evaluate your claim today. We proudly serve clients in the counties of Allen, Hardin, Auglaize, Putnam, Hancock, and Mercer, Ohio.