If you’re claiming social security benefits, you should consider working with us at Osterhout Berger Disability law. We’re a law firm comprised of social security disability attorneys who genuinely care about your needs and take pride in helping our clients from Meadville, Pennsylvania, gets the social security disability benefits they’re entitled to. We can handle both SSDI and SSI claims.
Applying for SSD Benefits
When you decide to claim Social Security disability benefits, there are a few ways to start the application process. You could choose to apply online, visit your local social security office in person to fill out the required forms, or come and visit us at an Osterhout Berger Disability law office so that we can help you complete the disability application.
There are several steps in completing a claim. The reality is that most claims are denied, so you should optimize your chances of a successful claim by coming to see one of our experienced attorneys. We know how to ensure the information that you submit will give your claim the highest chance of success.
One of the first steps that you’ll need to complete when you claim disability benefits is providing a comprehensive summary of your medical history and the specific condition(s) for which you’re seeking disability benefits. In addition to this information, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will also want to know about the doctors you’ve seen and the names of hospitals and clinics you’ve been seen at, whether it was for a routine visit or an emergency. The SSA will also ask about all of the treatments that you’ve previously tried to alleviate your condition’s symptoms. During this part of the process, you’ll be asked to sign release forms so that the hospitals and clinics can legally share your medical information.
You might also be required to complete forms about how your symptoms and the condition affect your everyday life. For example, if you have a condition like rheumatoid arthritis, the SSA will want to know how it affects your ability to do specific tasks and where you experience pain.
Irrespective of any tests your doctor may have done, you may still be asked to complete an additional medical exam, called a consultative exam. This is an exam performed by a doctor that the SSA has nominated, and it’s used to gather more information about your condition and how it affects your daily life and ability to work.
Appealing a Denial
Unfortunately, even if you make your best attempt and have professional assistance, your claim can still be denied. You wouldn’t be alone – over 60% of SSA claims are denied initially.
There are key differences between making a claim and appealing. First, you go to the appeals council. The council is the only one associated with the SSA. If the appeals council denies your claim, you’ll be allowed to take your claim to the federal court.
While you make a claim based on your condition and how it affects your ability to do your job, the appeal process isn’t directly about your condition. Instead, the appeal process is about showing that there was a mistake made by the administrative law judge (ALJ) when they were reviewing your claim.
While this seems like a simple difference, it affects the way that the appeals process proceeds. You most likely won’t talk about your condition during the Appeals Council process. One of the only times they might allow you to talk about your condition is if there’s new information about it that wasn’t available when the ALJ last looked at your case.
When you’re in the appeals process, it’s important to remember that there are specific timelines that you must adhere to so you can continue with the process. Mainly, you have 65 days from the point of when your claim was denied to appeal. You should also be aware that appeals from the Appeals Council can take several months to a few years, and many still result in an unfavorable outcome.
Additionally, if you’re unsuccessful at the Appeals Council, you can take your appeal to the Federal Court. For this, you’ll also have 65 days to appeal the denial. While undergoing a Federal Court appeal can be daunting, these appeals are treated seriously.
At Osterhout Berger Disability Law, we’re passionately committed to helping our clients secure the social security benefits they’re entitled to, no matter the stage you come to us at.
What We Do to Win Your Case
When you’re looking for a way to optimize the likelihood that you’ll get a positive result on the claim for disability insurance that you’re making, working with Osterhout Berger Disability Law is one of the best ways to go because we can help you with a whole list of services. For instance, we can help you by thoroughly explaining the process so that you’re never confused. When you’ve never filed a disability claim with the SSA, It can be challenging to know how to organize all of your paperwork and get it submitted to the right places on time. But failing to do so can damage your chance of success. We can help you ensure that all of your documentation is submitted correctly and on time.
We can also help you better understand where you are in the process by keeping you up to date with the case. We can do this by letter, phone call, email, and text. We can also work with you throughout the process to build the medical evidence that we’ll base your case on – another way that we can help you get a favorable result.
If you’re nervous about the hearing, know that we deal with these cases all of the time and can guide you through the process. We can guide you through the process and any questions you’re likely to be asked so you have time to prepare your answers and gain confidence before the hearing. This reduces the risk of harming your case because you were flustered by a question you hadn’t thought of in advance.
Most crucially, we’ll represent you on the day of the hearing so you can be confident that you won’t lose your claim because you didn’t understand legal jargon. We’ll also support filing an appeal for you right away if your original claim is unsuccessful.
What You’ll Need to Do
Because we’ll be working together to create the best possible outcome for your case, there are a few things that we’ll need from you, too. There are vital things you can do to help the process run smoothly. First, you should remain accessible and keep your contact information current to ensure we can get in touch with any queries, updates, or other important contacts.
You’ll need to sign off on some things, including the release of your medical records to the SSA. We might also require further information to keep your appeal moving along quickly and efficiently.
We also need you to comply with your medical treatment. We can help you by reminding you to do it, but we need you to comply because non-compliance can damage your case. When you fail to follow your doctor’s medical advice, it gives off the impression that your medical condition isn’t that serious. It can cause the judge to wonder if all avenues for treating your condition have been exhausted. For instance, you’ll need to do all of your therapy exercises, take your medications, go to all of your doctor appointments, and do anything else that your doctor has told you to do.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.