Maryland Social Security Disability Attorneys Helping Clients File Their Initial Applications
Social Security Disability claims attorneys serving Baltimore and beyond
When you are unable to work to earn an income due to a disease or catastrophic injury, if you have sufficient work history, and your illness will persist for a year or more you may qualify for Social Security Disability. Applying for benefits can be a challenging process, made more difficult by the staggeringly low rate of approval for initial applications.
At the law firm of Plaxen & Adler, P.A., our experienced Maryland Social Security Disability attorneys know what it takes to file a claim for benefits that can increase your chances of getting approved. If you need representation during Reconsideration, or an appeal, we know how to gather the right evidence in order to build a compelling case on your behalf.
Initial steps to filing a Social Security Disability claim
There are several ways in which you can apply for benefits: Online, by telephone and in person. Filing your application online has several advantages as outlined on the SSA website. Filing online allows you to start your claim right away without the need to wait for an appointment at your local Social Security Administration office. You can apply from the comfort of your own home or from any computer with access to the Internet, and you can stop and save your application and return to finish it later. Another advantage is that you can file your application even if you are living outside of the United States at the time.
The main disadvantage of filing your initial application for Social Security Disability benefits online is that you lose the benefit of protective filing status, which is the date of initial contact with the SSA expressing the intention of filing for disability benefits. You can only establish a protective filing date by filing your application in person. Protective filing status establishes the start date for your eligibility for benefits and back pay, and it will be preserved for six months. While this protective filing date is not a requirement for applying for benefits, if you do not have it, you will lose out on benefits that you would have been entitled to if you had a back-dated filing date. Once you have your protective filing status confirmed in a document, hold on to it for your records.
What Can I Expect When I File for Disability?
People often ask me, “What’s going to happen now that we’ve filed for the application?” And it goes through several processes. The first is the initial application, which is reviewed by a state agency called DDS: Disability Determination Services. They review it, we send the medical evidence, and they make an initial decision. If they find you disabled, that’s the end. If they deny you, you go to the second level, which is called a Request for Reconsideration. All that really is, is the initial people that made the first denial assign it to someone else within the office, to decide if that denial was appropriate.
Generally, if you’re at the Request for Reconsideration level, you’re going to be denied again. When that second denial happens, then you get out of that office, and go to the hearing office in front of the judge. And that’s where we have the hearing, and that’s your best opportunity to show why you’re disabled. You get to answer questions in front of the judge, you get to explain to the judge what it is that’s going on in your life that’s rendered you unable to work. And we can provide medical evidence to the judge, and also there will be a vocational expert there to testify about your past ability to work.
The role of your doctor in the application process
Your doctor plays a vital role in your application for disability benefits. Make sure that you talk about your plans to apply for Social Security Disability benefits with your doctor because the Social Security Administration will be contacting them about your medical records, and about how your disability impacts your ability to perform your work duties. Getting opinion evidence about your disability from your doctor can also help your claim.
Do I Need to Be Seeing Specialists?
If someone comes to me with COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease], I tell them they need to see a pulmonologist, because a pulmonologist is going to do the lung testing that will show that you’re operating with a significantly reduced lung capacity. Similarly, if you come and you have fibromyalgia; you need to be seeing a rheumatologist, because they can diagnosis in a way and do the testing that shows that it is actually is a significant disorder that you’re suffering with, whereas other doctors will diagnose it, but not do the testing required to show that you actually have it.
These records are the backbone of getting a Social Security Disability claim approved, and we help our clients find the right doctors to get their claim approved.
Gathering the required medical evidence
Your goal is to gather the medical evidence that will support your claim for Social Security Disability benefits. Your treating physician will need to gather all of the medical records that document your treatment including pertinent test results, lab records, and a statement from your doctor about your medical condition and what restrictions it might impose on your ability to perform work activities. Your SSD lawyer will help make sure that you gather the proper records that will present the most compelling case.
When you are filling out the SSD application, make sure that your answers are thorough, detailed and accurate. Use as much detail as you need in order to give the SSA enough information to make an informed decision about your case.
Bring your patience
Once you and your attorney have done all of the work and submitted your application to the Social Security Administration, you should expect to wait anywhere from three to six months before you find out whether your application for benefits was approved. If your initial application is denied, you will have 60 days in which to appeal the decision.
Working with a Maryland Social Security Disability lawyer
Rather than trying to deal with the Social Security Administration on you own, why not avail yourself of the services of an experienced team of Social Security Disability lawyers who understand the complicated system, and they know what it takes to help their clients succeed? Given that we work on a contingency fee basis, we receive our legal fees from a portion of the back benefits that you receive. We do not get paid unless your claim is successful. The initial, no obligation consultation is free.
Helping you handle the complexity of filing a Social Security Disability with skill and experience
Plaxen & Adler, P.A. has represented the injured and the ill in Maryland for more than 30 years. If you have a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, we can help. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Baltimore SSD lawyer, please call 410.988.4449 or fill out our contact form.