We recommend filing your initial application yourself, then hiring a lawyer after your initial denial, and unfortunately, many initial applications are denied. But do not let that discourage you. Just look at it as part of the process. In order to apply, you must provide SSA with information that only you know, including your name, date of birth, Social Security number, address, education, employment history, physicians, medications, and more. The initial application process is straightforward and requires fewer documents.
The SSA is not required to conduct a hearing at this level. Instead, they will simply gather your medical records, send them to one of their medical providers for an opinion, and send you for an independent medical evaluation. After that, they will notify you of their decision.
Although we do not complete the initial application for our clients, we are always available to answer your questions. Depending on your situation, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in three different ways:
- Filing online at www.ssa.gov, which is the recommended method
- Filing over the phone by calling (800) 772-1213
- Visiting your local SSA office and submitting your application in-person
When you’re denied, however, that is when you should consider hiring a lawyer to help you with the Request for Reconsideration, the first appeal level, and the Request for Hearing, the second appeal level. Over the past three decades, we have handled thousands of cases for people denied SSDI. We know the local judges and Georgia law and work hard to get you the benefits you need. So call us today for a free consultation at (706) 984-8963!
Helping You Navigate Georgia’s Complex Disability Benefits System
Columbus, Georgia, residents seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits may have difficulty getting them. Initial applications are confusing, and a simple error can result in a denial. Even though most original claims are denied, applicants can appeal at several levels to obtain financial assistance.
The Law Office of Ellene Welsh specializes in appealing denied claims on behalf of clients. With more than a decade of experience working with the Social Security Administration, we understand the complex appeals process. Additionally, we can give you general instructions for submitting your initial disability claim. Call our law office in Columbus, GA, at (706) 984-8963 for a free initial consultation with an experienced Georgia SSDI Attorney.
What to do When Your SSDI Claim is Denied
If your claim is denied, as most are, you will need the assistance of a Columbus SSDI/SSI attorney.
The legal representative you hire may:
- Evaluate your situation
- Verify that you suffer from a qualifying physical or mental disability
- Review your medical records and treatment for evidence
- Compile all the necessary documentation, such as medical records, work history, and education records
- Present a strong case in court
Having built strong relationships with a network of doctors, clinics, and other healthcare providers, we can provide you with information regarding reduced-cost treatments, if your disability requires medical treatment.
Can I Receive Disability Benefits Without an Attorney?
It is common for applicants to complete and submit their initial applications on their own. Applicants typically hire an attorney at the appeals stage, but it isn’t a requirement. If you are required to appear before an Administrative Law Judge, you can choose to represent yourself. However, there are several reasons why having a professional advocate represent you during this long and critical process is the recommended choice.
According to the Social Security Administration, nearly two-thirds of initial Social Security Disability Insurance claims are denied.
In addition, three-quarters of people applying for disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income are turned down. The majority of claims are denied due to incompleteness, errors, or a lack of sufficient evidence. Unfortunately, many applicants fail to provide adequate information or leave sections incomplete. Claims are usually denied because of insufficient work history or a lack of coherent medical records. In a critical moment in your life, you need a disability lawyer who can present your strongest claim possible.
How Could a Columbus Disability Lawyer Help My Claim?
- An experienced disability attorney knows how to file and appeal Social Security claims on time.
- A disability attorney knows what medical evidence is necessary to prove an applicant is disabled and win the approval of their claim. In some instances, they may help determine if your medical condition meets the criteria for an impairment listing in the Social Security Bluebook or help to prove that you are disabled regardless of whether you meet the requirements.
- In addition to reviewing a claimant’s file, a lawyer could determine whether any additional tests are necessary and ensure that no irrelevant information is submitted (many pages of irrelevant information may frustrate an administrative law judge).
- A disability attorney is skilled at communicating with doctors and other medical professionals. A doctor unfamiliar with the SSDI filing process, too busy to complete forms, or whose opinions about SSDI are biased may be unwilling to assist you with your claim. It is possible to address their concerns in a professional manner by hiring a disability attorney.
- Attorneys who specialize in disability law understand how administrative law judges conduct hearings. In some cases, your disability attorney can draft legal documents summarizing your case and may even be able to get an approval “on the record” (without having to go to court).
- An attorney specializing in disability law understands how to handle “bad facts,” such as a doctor’s opinion that an applicant isn’t disabled or did not follow a treatment plan consistently. It may be possible to minimize the negative impact of any such information by hiring a disability attorney.
- In the event that a vocational expert makes a negative statement, disability attorneys could cross-examine them and counter their testimony. This requires a thorough understanding of different jobs and job skills and how they are classified.
- Lawyers who represent disabled clients prepare them for cross-examination by administrative law judges. Administrative law judges may ask questions about:
- An applicant’s honesty about their condition
- The extent to which the impairment affects the applicant
- The reason for any inconsistencies in the applicant’s medical records
- Specific treatments’ success or failure
- Work history of the applicant
- By asking the applicant questions, a disability lawyer can clarify how their condition affects them and how their testimony relates to their condition.
- Attorneys who specialize in disability cases know which arguments are most likely to succeed, including:
- The applicant’s medical conditions meet the Social Security Blue Book standards.
- As a result of the applicant’s combined impairments, they cannot work.
- A vocational expert improperly used the applicant’s past work history to determine if the applicant was still capable of doing the job.
At the Law Office of Ellene Welsh, initial consultations are free, and no fees will be charged until we win your case. Do you have questions about your claim? If you would like to speak with a lawyer about how we may help you with your claim for Social Security Disability benefits in Columbus, please call us at (706) 984-8963 or fill out our quick online form. You can also browse our website for more information about Georgia disability claims.
What to Look for in Columbus Social Security Disability Lawyers
To win your disability benefits, you need a lawyer with both local expertise and seasoned knowledge. You will have a better chance of success if you consult an attorney as soon as possible to understand what to expect at each stage.
In most cases, attorneys offer a free case evaluation, which allows you to ask questions and determine whether the attorney will be able to help you. If you are filing a disability claim, it’s important that your attorney is experienced in that type of case. The following are some questions you can ask them during a case evaluation:
- What is your primary area of expertise?
- What is your experience with winning benefits for clients?
- Can you tell me what percentage of your cases you have won for your clients?
- In the case of a hearing, how many approvals have you obtained?
- What is your experience working with clients with my particular medical condition?
- How will I be able to communicate with someone about my case?
- How often will you contact me about my case?
- Do you have any initial thoughts about potential outcomes and next steps?
Your attorney should never mislead you, and you should be given a realistic assessment of your case in its current state. It is essential to keep in mind that you could be working with your attorney for months or even years as your case progresses. You may have a better chance of winning your Social Security Disability case if your lawyer is knowledgeable, experienced, responsive, honest, and responds to your needs.
Have You Been Denied? Call an SSDI Lawyer in Columbus, GA
As a licensed attorney in Columbus since 1988, Ellene Welsh has secured disability payments for many people. You can rest assured that she will remain by your side throughout the entire process. She knows what documentation to present in an appeal, will represent you at hearings, and can answer all your questions about your case.
Contact us today at (706) 984-8963 for a free initial consultation with a Columbus SSDI lawyer. If you qualify for SSDI or SSI but have been denied, we’d like to work with you to pursue those benefits.