Q & A: Social Security

Who is entitled to Social Security Disability benefits?

If you have worked for at least 5 of the last 10 years and have a physical or mental impairment that prevents you from working, you may be entitled to benefits. Social Security Disability is designed to help people who cannot work due to an accident or disease. It is NOT designed to help those who are injured severely but not permanently injured, NOR is it designed to help those who cannot work at their former job, but are capable at working another job. The rule of 12 months disability states that if because of your disability, you have been unemployed for 12 months, or a doctor says that you will be unable to work for 12 months, then under the law you are disabled. There are different rules if you are over 50 or under 25 years old. An attorney from the Johnson Law Firm will be able to explain to you how different rules affect you.

What do I do if I have been denied Social Security Benefits?

If you are denied benefits, don't panic. Don't give up. About 75% of all applicants are denied benefits the first two times they apply for Social Security Income or Disability benefits. The biggest mistake people fail to make is failing to appeal within the appropriate time period. Within 60 days of denial of benefits you should file a request for reconsideration. More than two-third of claimants who are denied in the first step fail to ask for reconsideration. We can help you through the Reconsideration stage.

What happens if I am denied at Reconsideration stage? Where do I go from there?

The procedure if you are denied at the Reconsideration stage is to appeal the decision by requesting a Hearing. You have 60 days to file a request for hearing at your local Social Security office. The hearing is a chance for you to explain your problems directly to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who has the power to reverse any prior decisions. The judge usually questions you in a small conference room, with you, your attorney, and your witnesses present. Currently, it is taking anywhere between 9 months to a year to schedule a hear once the request is made. We are continually sharpening our social security knowledge by participating in NOSSCR training. See link below for more information.

Do I need an attorney and if so, How will an attorney help me?

It is not necessary to have an attorney file for Social Security benefits. However, once your initial application is denied, and the sooner a lawyer from the Johnson Law Firm can work on your claim, the better off you are. The Social Security Administration's own statistics show that if you are represented by an attorney you are more likely to be found disabled. The best way to be sure that you receive full and fair treatment by the Social Security Administration, and that you receive the benefits that you are entitled to is to have the help of an attorney who understands Social Security Regulations and Law, and is interested in your rights. The Johnson Law firm has the experience and resources to see that your rights are respected.

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