When you are ill or injured, and you are unable to work to support yourself and your family, the Social Security Disability benefits program is a safety net that can provide you with the income you need if you meet the requirements for being found disabled. One of the challenges of applying for SSD benefits is that the application process is complicated. There are many different kinds of documentation required, and it can be challenging to handle all of the details and meet the deadlines when you are ill or in pain. An experienced Maryland Social Security Disability attorney may be able to help shoulder the legal burden while you focus on taking care of your health.
The Disability Determination Services (DDS) is the agency that makes the decisions about initial Social Security Disability applications for the state of Maryland. The DDS approved 28.7 percent of initial applications for SSDI, and 15.3 percent at the first level of appeal, which is the reconsideration review. After the disability hearing, which is the second level of appeal, 57.4 percent of applicants were awarded benefits. The average waiting time for a hearing was 392 days.
Some of the challenges of applying for SSD benefits include:
- The alarmingly high rate of denials for initial applications. The Social Security Administration reports that more than 50 percent of disability claims were denied, and only 28 percent were awarded on their first application. Nationwide, three percent of applicants were eventually awarded benefits at the reconsideration level after the denial of their initial application, and another 13 percent were approved for benefits after their appeals hearing on a national level.
- There are a lot of claims waiting for approval. The Social Security Administration received almost 2.9 million applications in 2013. If your application is incomplete or does not contain everything the SSA needs to make a decision, you will be denied – they simply do not have the time to read incomplete applications. Your SSD lawyer’s years of experience helping other clients process their disability claims will help improve your chances of receiving a thorough review of your case and improved chances of success.
- It is a waiting game if your initial application is denied. Some applicants must wait for a year or longer to get a hearing date to appeal a denied claim. Having a lawyer on your side will be helpful to you as your lawyer will present your case to the Judge and develop the required evidence to convince the judge that you are disabled.
- Gathering the required medical documentation is tedious, time consuming and difficult for someone who is ill. Your medical documentation is vital to establish the extent and severity of your symptoms and how they prevent you from working. A SSD attorney has years of experience helping other applicants with their applications, so they know exactly what kind of documentation you need.
- Keeping up with deadlines can be tricky. A Social Security Disability attorney knows the schedule and the timeline for each aspect of the process. For example, if you do not request an appeal hearing within two months of your application denial, you may have to go back and apply again. While a qualified SSD lawyer will not be able to shorten the amount of time it takes to process your application, their experience, skill and resources can help put you in the best possible position to have your claim approved.
A Social Security Disability lawyer’s fees are only allowed if you win your case and are found disabled, and the fee is limited to 25 percent of the past-due benefits you receive, with a cap of $6,000. Payment agreements between a SSD lawyer and their client must be submitted to the SSA and approved. So, you enjoy the benefit of having a knowledgeable attorney on your side without the strain of paying a retainer or any up-front fees. At Plaxen Adler Muncy we offer a free consultation so that you can explain your case and ask questions.
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be full of delays and disappointment. If you want to improve your chances of getting your application or appeal approved, you may want to enlist the services of a Maryland Social Security Disability lawyer who is a professional with experience in this area. Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. has spent more than 35 years helping injured people obtain the disability benefits they need to survive. To schedule a consultation time with a dedicated Baltimore Social Security Disability lawyer, please call 410.988.4489 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with us.